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Riccitiello: games need variable pricing because $60 is “a giant F-U to a very large number of people”

Tuesday, 22nd October 2013 22:32 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Former Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello feels that console and PC games need to have variable pricing like mobile games, because asking customer to pay $60 is “a giant F-U to a very large number of people.”

Speaking during the Gaming Insiders Summit, attended by [a]listdaily, Riccitiello said the proof is in the install base.

“There’s not been a console game with even half as many installs as Clash of Clans,” he said. “Puzzle & Dragons has got more installs than any console game in history. Getting a larger audience through variable pricing is a really useful thing.”

Riccitiello also feels the majority of the industry has yet to “get” the games as a service philosophy.

“More than anything, what the traditional game industry should learn from mobile is it’s really about service,” he said. “It’s an ongoing business. You’d think we would have learned this some time ago, but I find it interesting that WoW and Sim City and GTA and Starcraft and many other games all fell over at launch when they put their service components together.

“Some of the biggest brands – I’d argue almost all the biggest brands – fell over from lack of the testing and research that mobile people do in the regular course of their day.”

During the same talk, Riccitiello said that game brands also need to be consistent but innovative, and brought up Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, and FIFA as examples.

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19 Comments

  1. YoungZer0

    M-hm. Very interesting. Guess you never ‘got’ it when you worked for EA.

    Oh right, weren’t you the one who complained about Online Stores charging the same price as retail and yet when Origin went Online you fuckers did the same shit?

    #1 11 months ago
  2. Panthro

    Could not agree more, but only concerning consoles.

    Ha! but come on PC games need more varied pricing?

    Its basically only EA and Activision who think there games are worth £50 in the PC gaming world… And they usually arent.

    Even big multiplatform titles which come out on steam are usually £10-£20 cheaper than there console counterparts, Its the console market that needs shaken up and told not every console customer wants to spend £49.99 on a new game. it’s fucking robbery. Maybe if they lowered the prices a touch their would be less second hand purchases.

    This guy probably hasn’t even looked up the facts before they all fell out of his mouth.

    #2 11 months ago
  3. DSB

    Games as a service is a bit like tech.

    Unless you apply it carefully, it does absolutely nothing for anybody.

    And let’s face it, the industry only cares about games as a service because it can be a much bigger, much longer running revenue stream, compared to a game that makes most of its sales in less than a month, and then maybe hauls in some extra dough on DLC if it has sold enough.

    They’re looking at the money instead of looking at the quality, and that’s why games as a service sounds like a plague to me. It’s gonna be another one of those things where everybody’s so busy thinking about the loot that they forget to actually earn it.

    That being said, the 60 dollar pricetag is ridiculous. So is throwing 50 million dollars at every single game you make. Why not make a 25 million dollar game and sell it for 30? Why not make a 10 million dollar game and sell it for 15?

    The industry be dumb, yo.

    #3 11 months ago
  4. Panthro

    @3

    I hate it when I see an article about a company being upset about the profits a game has turned out for them only to see they threw a ridiculously large amount of money at the development of it.

    They need to take a step back and learn to manage there budgets, I’ve seen some independent games companies with little funds make games with such care and appreciation it makes the AAA games feel soul-less and empty.

    #4 11 months ago
  5. dontbescaredhomie92

    Can I be first here to say, screw this guy.

    #5 11 months ago
  6. TruthHurts

    And cutting out content for a “deluxe edition” which costs more than $60 is NOT a giant F-U to everyone?

    It’s hilarious how people like Riccitiello leave a company who advocates disgusting industry practices, then plays it off as if they have actually learned from their mistakes, then goes off to make the same mistakes under another company’s name.

    #6 11 months ago
  7. YoungZer0

    @6: He’s not making any mistakes. He knows exactly what he does.

    60 Euros for a game has and always will be an utterly ridiculous pricetag.

    #7 11 months ago
  8. TD_Monstrous69

    If only this John Riccitiello had ran EA, o well.

    #8 11 months ago
  9. fearmonkey

    Anyone remembers when new games were sometimes sold as cheap as $29.99 to $39.99 (On Console)? I found that if a game was priced around $25 to $35, people would be much more open to spending the money and taking a chance on a new title.

    These companies that release new IP that doesn’t have a huge marketing budget behind it usually suffer. If I have $59.99 to spend on a new title, I am going to be extremely picky about what I get, and if it’s a title I am unsure about, I’m going to wait and get it cheaper used, on a steam sale, etc, etc.

    He is right that we need variable pricing. With the new consoles/PC/phones we are getting even more options than before, with FTP games, MMO’s, cheap casual games, etc. It would be great to see new titles that have a lower budget have cheaper prices, especially for digital. I imagine that we will soon have digital only releases on the new consoles like we have with Steam.

    The PC has caught up to consoles and surpassed it in power, and now catching up to console’s services. If Valve has success in their steambox, the console manufactures should be ready to do whatever keeps business flowing their way. Console like features for console like prices on more powerful hardware and cheaper games will make life difficult on them.

    Like Steam, this won’t happen overnight but it could happen.

    #9 11 months ago
  10. antraxsuicide

    Pretty much what everyone else said. Riccitiello is just saying this stuff because he can now get cool points for bashing EA.

    $60 is a lot of money, no doubt. But until some quality control happens in the cheaper price ranges, people will be wary. Everyone loves indie developers now, but I’m still looking at headlines like this (http://www.cinemablend.com/games/GOG-com-Offers-Refunds-Gamers-Dissatisfied-With-Dark-Matter-Ending-60064.html) and seeing the issues.

    If a AAA developer were to release something for $40 new, I’d pay attention.

    #10 11 months ago
  11. MrWaffles

    “The industry” = three big publishers and the console makers dictating the price on the contracts.

    The first company to lower the game of prices system-wide will kill the rest, even if it’s $40 a game.

    But they know, the sweet spot is 19, at that price you’ll move so many units you’ll be hitting yourself as to why you didn’t do it years ago.

    Fucking dinosaurs.

    #11 11 months ago
  12. monkeygourmet

    Isn’t that RRP’s though?

    Games are cheaper than they’ve ever been in many respects. I regularly paid £49.99 – £59.99 for SNES / N64 titles, now games like Pikmin 3 are releasing for £34.99 and £29.99 if you shop around.

    I even picked up COD MW2 for £24.99 on launch because of heavy market competition. It’s like when people say £199 is too expensive for the Wii U and if it was cheaper they might bite… It’s £149 with a game if you shop around, same with Vita.

    Hotukdeals and Savvy Gamer are your friend.

    Then, if you don’t want things on launch, most AAA games plummet in price after launch. AC games being a good example. Black Flag will be £24.99 just after Christmas, I’m sure.

    Even Nintendo are getting in on the action. Buy 3 3DS games, get one free. I got Animal Crossing free after buying a few great games, nice little bonus.

    Then there is the amazing deal of PS Plus / and to a lesser extent XBLA deals (got Max Payne 3 for about £4 recently). Then all the free stuff available on PC (F2P / Flash games etc…). Gaming is chePer than ever IMO.

    #12 11 months ago
  13. Gheritt White

    Jesus wept, these comments…

    Anyway, the inevitable death of physical goods in comparison to digital sales by the end of this decade will change everything.

    #13 11 months ago
  14. monkeygourmet

    I know an article is Stephs now, just by seeing the header image! :)

    #14 11 months ago
  15. Cobra951

    The price of your average SUV is a giant F-U to a lot of people. So what? Not everyone can afford everything. There are old, real games for cheap, and new little casual games for cheap. Big new games need a budget, and without turning into microtransaction hell, they need a higher price point. Pretty simple, really.

    #15 11 months ago
  16. yeoung

    Like monkeygourmet said, there are several sites to order new sealed games from that end up being anywhere up to 15-20 euros cheaper than the standard 59.99 or 54,99 tag. Some recent games:

    Saints Row IV – 33,95 euros
    GTA V – 39,74 euros
    Beyond 2 souls – 39,00 euros

    On top of that you have stores trying to undercut eachother all the time.

    source: http://www.budgetgaming.nl

    (it’s a dutch site)

    (because I’m dutch)

    #16 11 months ago
  17. Llewelyn_MT

    I have over 200 games in my Steam account and I paid €10 or more for maybe a dozen. If people wouldn’t preorder in millions the price of games would plummet.

    #17 11 months ago
  18. wrklnt

    the f u moment comes not to mind when ea wants 60€ for the next game, but another 60€ to make it feature complete (especially in multiplayer titles)

    #18 11 months ago
  19. DrDamn

    After seeing the headline I came here ready with an “I agree with Riccitiello!” post. Having read the detail a bit more what he’s talking about is more lower price of entry to get the interest and monetise from there isn’t he? In which case I don’t agree with him, phew! ;)

    I want to see more of what Sony did with the Vita and digital releases. A nice variety in RRP for new releases reflecting the value and development costs of the game, not how you want to fleece your customers post purchase :).

    #19 11 months ago

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