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After we've heard rumors and rumors of rumors about EA Sports contemplating a subscription cloud based service for it's games, we get a senior exec saying the same things in an interview, basically making all we've heard to be true.

Quote:
"If we look at what consumers have pushed other industries for: if we look at what consumers forced the music industry to provide, if we look at what consumers have driven as a result of television and movie subscription, if you look at us - there's absolutely a time somewhere at some point in the future where the consumers say, 'Hey, this is how we want to interact with you: we want to give you a monthly or annual subscription and we want access to everything you make,'" Wilson told us.

"They get to drive the time and place for it, and a lot of it is technology dependent, but absolutely we can see a future where that might be the way we deliver games."

What does it mean? Well as I've pointed out each week on the OS Radio Show (we even talked about this specific article on there last night), this is the likely future of gaming. It makes too much sense from a cost/development cycle perspective not to do.

For the customer, I'd expect this might be something coming in the next generation of consoles (2014-2015). Depending on how stupid console manufacturers are, we could see physical media completely go away and the cloud take over gaming by then. Of course, with SD Card Memory Prices falling so rapidly maybe it's got a future in gaming as a media? 8 GB Cards currently go for just over 10 bucks, and the actual cost of manufacturing them can't be much higher than a Blu-Ray disk these days.

The way I envision it is that each publisher would offer monthly or annual subscriptions to games. Basically you'd pay $60 for access to a game for a year -- and then I can see a publisher basically bringing in annual packages for their entire lineup at a cost savings. So it'd be $40/month for every EA Sports Title through the whole year.

This could indicate that you could see development cycles which are never finished per-se, as games are continually updated and added to throughout the year. Regardless, it's an interesting conversation which is all heresay up until the point the future of gaming is revealed in the new Sony and Microsoft offerings, likely next June (or the one after that) at E3.

Member Comments
# 1 FBeaule04 @ 07/26/11 12:47 PM
40$ a month for every EA Sports title? That means an annual cost of 480$. It's not that bad if you already buy around 5-6 EA games a year for 60$ but I hope that you would have options like package (let's say 3 games for 15$ a month which would equal the 60$ retail price of 3 games).

My only fear with that is if you force people into buying games they didn't want at first, what's the point of improving your games overall since they already pay to get them anyway.

I might be living on another planet, but people in general are asking for packages to pay monthly for their game instead of buying a DVD for each game? If that's the case, I'm feeling freaking old right now!
 
# 2 MMChrisS @ 07/26/11 12:55 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by FBeaule04
40$ a month for every EA Sports title? That means an annual cost of 480$. It's not that bad if you already buy around 5-6 EA games a year for 60$ but I hope that you would have options like package (let's say 3 games for 15$ a month which would equal the 60$ retail price of 3 games).

My only fear with that is if you force people into buying games they didn't want at first, what's the point of improving your games overall since they already pay to get them anyway.

I might be living on another planet, but people in general are asking for packages to pay monthly for their game instead of buying a DVD for each game? If that's the case, I'm feeling freaking old right now!
From what was said in the full interview, he's saying that is a time coming very soon where the popular demand will be that. I can see it actually -- mainly because like you said, you can probably save some monies if companies package games up like that (and given traditional business pricing methods, you'd get *some* savings for sure). But in the end we'll just have to wait and see.
 
# 3 8 @ 07/26/11 01:02 PM
This does not sound good.
 
# 4 leafs nation @ 07/26/11 01:07 PM
Maybe this will make me finally grow up and stop playing video games. I've been going since the original Nintendo. Less and less these days. Always been a sports gamer and still get my picks almost every year. Used to be football, baseball and hockey automatic. I think the last football game I bought was NFL 2k3 and I'm still going with baseball and hockey but finding I don't play as much. I also am at a point now where I don't automatically run out on release day and grab them. I wait to see what you guys say. If it goes to monthly subscriptions I think that will be the end of me for gaming.
I can always buy a game and not play it and have it laying around paid for once. If I don't like the game, they still have my money and I still have their game. If it comes in the form of a monthly bill, I just can't see myself doing that.
 
# 5 DJ @ 07/26/11 01:23 PM
EA is really disconnected from its fanbase. I have zero interest in this, and I don't think people that are in my age bracket would also be big fans of this, either.
 
# 6 clipperfan811 @ 07/26/11 01:43 PM
I think what they're calling public demand is in reality their own pushed agenda. They're trying to create brand loyalty which is "smart business" but it's horrible for the gamer, how many people out there exclusively purchase all of their games from EA or any other single developer?

The subscription based music and movie services work because you pay one monthly fee for access to a huge selection of movies or music from various studios and record labels; if WB, 20 Century fox and Universal each charged individually the service probably wouldn't work.

Besides why would someone pay say $40 per month to play only EA games when you already have services like gamefly which puts the price point for rentals from a wide variety of developers much lower.

Needless to say I think this is a horrible direction for the gaming industry and I think people should make sure that the developers know it!
 
# 7 PVarck31 @ 07/26/11 02:30 PM
EA is never going to stop. They have no clue what we want.
 
# 8 PAPERNUT @ 07/26/11 02:42 PM
Fine with me. Have other things to do than gaming, so this would be the way out for me for sure.

Hope they fail like Atari in the 80's.
 
# 9 jjsmitty34 @ 07/26/11 03:24 PM
Why not just create a service like "Steam or Direct 2 Drive" .. Consumers are all ready comfortable with using them.. Seems like a no brainer...
 
# 10 scottyo60 @ 07/26/11 03:33 PM
I'm not interested in this at all. I don't know what the model would be, but I am not a big fan of downloading games. For instance on my XBOX downloaded Sonic full game. Got the new XBOX and now it won't download back properly. I could see this happening with several other games if it was download only. It'd just be another piece of my childhood gone.
 
# 11 Acedeck @ 07/26/11 03:34 PM
I want to buy/rent the games I want. I don't want to buy/rent all of them with subscription based gaming. It's NOTHING like Netflix and other digital subscriptions. Movies cost $20. There are also way more movies/shows in existence than there are video games, at least ones that I want to or have time to play. There is a need for that kind of service for movies and tv shows because a movie only lasts two hours. Games can last 40+ hours. There is no way an average person can play all of the video games they want to play, fully through to completion. So why would they want to pay for them all in a subscription based model? I see how it works with movies, as you can watch four movies in a day, or an entire season of a tv show. However, it's unlikely you will finish four games in a day.
 
# 12 DaSmerg @ 07/26/11 05:41 PM
I know for some of the console folks, this might seem kinda scarey at first. But fact is, this is a more than half decade old idea that's been going on on PC. There are several PC games that are download only.

That being said, EAS would pretty much need a top to bottom overhaul on how they conduct business with their customer base. The reason why it has and continues to work with smaller titles is because of the constant, direct contact with their customers. You just don't see anything remotely close to that with EAS and this move, if done incorrectly, could kill the S in Electronic Arts.

The other part of the focus area that EAS would have to beef up is development. People aren't going to be paying dollars a month and see little to no development of their game.

IMO, I don't know why the two can't be combined, something akin to WoW. Physical release every couple of years for the big updates, scaling subscription fees for the month-to-month and during the pre, in and post season week-to-week updates.

P.S. cloud gaming sounds like a fun idea but have you seen the bandwidth caps out there for many folks? We're going to need a bit of a revelation from many of our ISP's in order for this to work. Plus after this year's PSN hack fiasco, you really want to be having that much customer info readily available online?
 
# 13 sonn @ 07/26/11 06:59 PM
There is no way I'd ever play $40 dollars a month when the only EA Sports game I buy consistently is NCAA Football.
 
# 14 Kingfish @ 07/26/11 07:37 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by sonn
There is no way I'd ever play $40 dollars a month when the only EA Sports game I buy consistently is NCAA Football.
^^^^^
THIS!

I buy NCAA and thats it...and even THAT is up for debate after this year!
 
# 15 statum71 @ 07/26/11 08:16 PM
Man!!!

Are they trying to put the GameStops of the world out of business? Way to help the economy.
 
# 16 Senator Stone @ 07/26/11 09:49 PM
I'd be surprised if it really ended up being $40 per month. That would assume the people that pay buy 8 EA sports games per year, which is highly unrealistic (do they even make 8 games a year?).

If they would charge something like $10-12 per month, which assumes you buy somewhere around two EA sports games per year, it starts to make a lot more sense.

Or, would you pay five bucks a month to play NCAA or Madden? I might start to think about that since I play NCAA essentially from July to February, which would end up being a $40 value.

I don't think we should just straight-up dismiss pay-for-play.

What are your thoughts?
 
# 17 DickDalewood @ 07/27/11 09:41 AM
Lol, $40/month? Absolutely no way I'd pay that. I wouldn't pay $5/month for one game either. One of the excuses for games costing $60 is production costs, and the price of printing discs, etc. So, if we're eliminating the physical content, then the cost of production goes down, and then so should the price.

No way in hell I'm paying a monthly fee for my games, especially if I'm a Live customer and am already paying an extra $60 a year just to be online. If that's what it comes to, I'm out.
 
# 18 SGMRock @ 07/27/11 09:55 AM
I could go for a service like Steam where you buy the game with a 1 time fee and you still own the game but you can't resell it and don't have to pay a monthly fee. I think this is really what EA is trying to do, not charge a monthly fee. They want to sell games to everyone that wants to play it without them being able to buy used games which really brings down their sales. At the same time if they run this like Steam or D2D type of service they could run sales from time to time as well. All they are paying for then is the bandwidth for us to download the games from. I could go for that model, but paying a monthly fee to play a Football game or Hockey game would really piss me off. Its not a MMO!
 
# 19 Rufus @ 07/28/11 05:19 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by DickDalewood
Lol, $40/month? Absolutely no way I'd pay that. I wouldn't pay $5/month for one game either. One of the excuses for games costing $60 is production costs, and the price of printing discs, etc. So, if we're eliminating the physical content, then the cost of production goes down, and then so should the price.

No way in hell I'm paying a monthly fee for my games, especially if I'm a Live customer and am already paying an extra $60 a year just to be online. If that's what it comes to, I'm out.
I agree, I want physical media for my games, I will not pay a monthly fee to play any game. When that happens I'm done gaming.
 
# 20 DaveDQ @ 08/03/11 12:20 PM
I don't understand the clinging to hard copies of the game. Digital copies remove clutter, are easily accessible and last longer.

My concern is that they will charge extra based on the process's efficiency. I can see EA touting it as innovative, so we have to pay a little extra for it.
 

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