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EA's UK VP Discusses Micro Transactions and WAR

Posted Tue, Oct 28, 2008 by Medeor

Making a dollar per player doesn't seem to ring the bell of success.

At the London Games Festival, Games 3.0 conference, Keith Ramsdale, EA's UK Vice President, discussed the increased requirement for games to harness the opportunity of online gaming (duh?). Obviously we all agree, I mean that is where we play our games, right? But he goes on to say that all companies should center the online space in their future plans for gaming. He likens it to the big three television networks not taking cable seriously (and look where they are today with dismal numbers). This seems pretty straight forward and would not have warranted further discussion in my mind except that he then went on to quantify what he is apparently calling a success in the online space according to Gamespot's London coverage:

”FIFA Online, which is available exclusively in Korea and Japan, now has 5.6 million unique users. EA's five million microtransactions in the game have racked up $8 million (£5 million) in revenue, according to Ramsdale.”

According to my math, that is $1.40 (USD) per user over some span of time (I'm assuming he would have said “per month” if that was in fact that case). This seems to be a case study in why micro-transactions are not currently living up to the hype. Keith did go on the discuss how Warhammer Online is using monthly subscriptions as a revenue model and that EA will incorporate the model into the sporting games as well. Read the rest of the notes from the opening remarks at Gamespot.

I'm fairly confident that business plans fail showing $1.40 of revenue potential per player. I'm assuming that the cost to support over five million users is close to or exceeds that revenue, but I'm just guessing. What do you think, is that a success? Let's discuss.


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