Electronic Arts CFO says today’s mobile gamers expect games to be free.
Blake Jorgensen, chief financial offer at Electronic Arts (EA), has said that paid mobile games, those that require the player to pay a fee to download the app, are gradually disappearing and eventually all games are likely to be free to download because that is what the consumer wants.
A free mobile gaming experience is the future of EA.
According to Jorgensen, who spoke during the recent Wedbush 2014 Transformational Technology Managements Access Conference in New York, the renowned gaming company is likely not to add many more paid titles to its mobile gaming portfolio. The future will be all about free-to-play mobile games for EA.
Jorgensen said, “I think paid downloads will probably go away. That business is very small for us now.” He went on to say that consumers are aware that they can expand their gaming experience when and if they choose by paying to access more features in the game or they can still enjoy playing for free.
However, he said that he believes the upfront downloading cost is likely to disappear slowly. “And it’s fine, because I think the experience for the user is more immersive; they are able to get in and experiment with titles,” he added.
Discoverability is the hardest part for developers of mobile games.
One of the greatest challenges of mobile app development, specifically for mobile game developers, is having their app discovered. There are thousands of games available for download on Google Play and iTunes. With so much competition, it is hard for developers to make their game stand out from the crowd. As a result, discoverability can often be what costs the most.
That being said, EA does have the upper hand over other mobile gaming companies. This is mostly due to the fact that they are already well established in the gaming industry and have a collection of popular franchises such as The Sims, The Simpsons, and several EA Sports titles.
Electronic Arts is finding success in the mobile space. Currently, they have more than 130 million active users every month. Jorgenson said that, only including the fiscal year 2014, players have downloaded 600 million EA mobile games. Most of the games installed were free and he suspects this trend will only increase in the years to come.