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EA’s Gibeau: free-to-play and sub-based titles can coexist

Saturday, 8th September 2012 21:06 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

EA labels president Frank Gibeau believes subscription-based games are here to stay in some capacity, but it depends on the the type of game being developed.

Speaking with Kotaku, Gibeau said free-to-play or subscription models aren’t grouped into an either-or category.

“I think subscription is just one way delivering content,” Gibeau said. “In the case of Battlefield Premium, we have a million-and-a-half subscribers and that’s moving along nicely. At the same time, other types of products like Star Wars are probably better positioned around having a free-to-play model.

“With Star Wars, you have a broad-based IP that pulls the widest possible audience, we can bring in a large number of people. I think we’ve been fairly upfront with the fact that we course-corrected on Star Wars because we felt like we were fighting too many headwinds in the marketplace and it needed to be repositioned to fall with what customers were telling us.

“Frankly, when we made the switch, one of the big things that we were concerned with was that the existing subscriber base would freak out. And there will be a subscription layer. If people prefer to pay through subscriptions, they can do that.”

Gibeau said both free-to-play and sub-based titles can and will coexist going forward, but with EA it’s ultimately “bout what kind of game we’re building and then we’ll figure out the business model.”

SWTOR goes free to play in November.

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12 Comments

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  1. keymouse

    Finally; someone in the video game market with a brain.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. GrimRita

    Subs based games can and do work, if they offer value. Unfortunately SWTOR was such a poor game and all because, yet again EA rushed it out the door incomplete.

    I am frankly stunned how they let the game just fade away after release with lack of actual content updates, making it a breeze to ding 50, lack of anything new in the genre(apart from story, which clearly didnt keep the masses expected).

    But let me say this – SWTOR will never make it as a F2P title unless they seriously ramp up content output. They couldnt do it @ £8.99 a month and I cant see how they will once the game goes F2P. Yes, they have said they will but I lost count how many times they said that.

    Especially when you compare the likes of Guild Wars 2 to SWTOR, its like a different world with a game so vast and large in scope thats FREE to play, against one which is just so linear, it makes WoW look outstanding at a top dollar price tag. No brainer

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Talkar

    @2
    IMO they should change the F2P model, i don’t think anyone can disagree that leveling in SWTOR is the best MMO to do so in, and it is exactly that they are giving away for free.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. DSB

    I think it’s really clever to have both, really. If Guild Wars 2 came with a sub, I’d definitely choose that over the nickle and dime.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. viralshag

    Technically GW2 is a better game, imo. But story and party interaction with regards to dungeons, TOR has done it the best in my books.

    @4, definitely.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. GwynbleiddiuM

    @3 And you’re unhappy about it? Frankly I never enjoyed leveling in an MMO this much. The story of Sith Inquisitor is just AWESOME.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. CyberMarco

    For me the F2P isn’t not so great, because the majority of games become Pay2Win. Like Age of Empires online, after the patch of June they messed the whole game. Before that you could buy a Civilization pack (like Greece, Egypt etc.) and have the full game at your disposal with an acceptable fee, now you can’t experience the game as a whole and rarely find power-ups to use in battle (like summoning instant soldiers etc.) and have to spend real money. I could never understand why someone should pay to have some extra virtual stuff!

    #7 2 years ago
  8. GhostFox8

    I seriously can’t imagine how anyone can agree with F2P. It’s the doom for the gaming industry…

    #8 2 years ago
  9. CyberMarco

    @8 Well, I just started playing Gotham City Impostors: Free To Play and I can say that the F2P works, in comparison with other games, Tribes: Ascend or Blacklight: Retribution. Even if you don’t spend real money you can unlock weapons and gadgets in a fair rate by leveling up. Not like unlocking a gun for 2-3 days like other games tend to imply!

    #9 2 years ago
  10. stealth

    Star wars is going PARTIAL F2P it still has subs

    but I hate both models which is why I dont play those games and stick with non rip off pay the 40-60 dollars up front way

    #10 2 years ago
  11. GrimRita

    @3 – Honestly? SWTOR should have been free to play from day #1. Having the out right cheek to charge £8.99 a month for such an outdated game has clearly cost it dear – hence the giant drop in subs.

    If they spent the same kind of effort like they did with those outstanding trailers, then maybe this could have been something brilliant as well.

    Unless Bioware/EA hire people who actually KNOW what they are doing, this game will remain on a doom course to failure even though it will be free. They couldnt plan anything when the game was P2P, and I cant see it as F2P,despite the typical ‘its coming soon’ quotes in almost everything they do.

    @6 Yes the SI story was good but went downhill around the final levels. Bounty Hunter, probably has the worst story out of all the classes, Jedi Knight and Consulars arent epic either.

    But does that justify £8.99 a month? Not in my book

    #11 2 years ago
  12. Kabby

    Not sure people should be supporting anything EA do these days.

    #12 2 years ago