During Electronic Arts’ quarterly financial conference call, Chief Financial Officier Blake Jorgensen talked about the publisher’s views on free to play games following the successful launch of Apex Legends by Respawn Entertainment.
Jorgensen explained that a successful free to play game requires massive audiences, as seen in mobile games.
“The packaged goods decline is really just that digital shift and the shift towards more and more of our business having live services.
I think the issue around free to play is that to make a free to play game work well you have to have huge audiences. We believe Apex has the potential for that, but there are many games out there that sells anywhere between three to seven or eight million units and are very successful games, but those audiences aren’t big enough to support a free to play game like you see in mobile for example.
A typical mobile game, we’d see eighty, ninety million downloads. That’s how you make a mobile game work, and free to play economics work”
Jorgensen also looked at successful recent action games like God of War and Marvel’s Spider-Man, explaining that those probably wouldn’t work as free-to-play games, because their audience isn’t massive enough.
“We always believe there is going to be multiple models. There have been for many years. Asia has been primarily free to play, but big games and big marketplaces.
Yet if you look at some of the more successful action-oriented games of this past year like God of War, Spider-Man, those are games that most likely aren’t free to play-style games because they’re not big enough to sustain those types of economics.”
We also hear that Electronic Arts believes that gamers will keep enjoying a variety of business models, while Apex Legends is an opportunity for the publisher to participate in the free to play party kicked off by Fortnite.
“And we think people will want to consume games in different ways. Some through purchase, some through subscription, some through streaming purchase, or streaming subscription, and some through free to play models across many different platforms.
We have a great way to continue to grow the industry. We think Fortnite has grown the industry and free to play games, and this is an opportunity for us to participate into that. “
It’s certainly good to hear that Electronic Arts isn’t going to put all of its eggs in one basket with free to play games, and it’ll be interesting to see where Respawn will manage to lead Apex Legends within the free to play jungle.