Forums - Gaming Discussion - EA considering charging for 'very long game demos'?

EA has poured significant investment into growing its digital distribution business, a strategy that has for the past couple of years contributed to steep losses. One positive result for gamers, however, has been a glut of postrelease downloadable content packs for the publisher's top titles, some of which have carried a premium. Soon, it appears as if EA will be expanding its "PDLC," or premium downloadable content, approach into the prerelease realm.

In a note to investors today, Wedbush's Michael Pachter detailed a recent investor event at the publisher's Redwood City, California, headquarters in which group general manager Nick Earl laid out EA's prerelease PDLC initiative. According to the analyst, EA would release what he called "a very long game demo, along the lines of 2009's Battlefield 1943" through Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network for $10 to $15.

"A full-blown packaged game would follow shortly after the release of the PDLC, bearing a full retail price," Pachter said. "Mr. Earl believes that the release of the PDLC first limits the risk of completing and marketing the full packaged version, and serves as a low-cost marketing tool."

Notably, Battlefield 1943 represented a significant boon for EA upon its critically laudedrelease for $15 on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in July. During Battlefield 1943's debut month, EA proclaimed it the fastest-selling day-one and week-one downloadable exclusive title on Xbox Live worldwide, or on PSN in North America. In November, the publisher said that DICE's online-only multiplayer shooter had sold 1.2 million unitsacross the two platforms.

Pachter's note also made mention of Visceral Games' heretofore speculated downloadable game Ripper. According to Pachter, Ripper will be released through Xbox Live and PSN. Rumors indicate that the game will offer a Van Helsing-like heroic take on notorious serial killer Jack the Ripper. EA had not responded to requests for further comment as of press time.

One other point of note from the investor event, Pachter said that EA CEO John Riccitiello "acknowledged that the company had performed poorly over the first years of his tenure, and admitted that the turnaround of the company was taking longer than he originally expected." According to Pachter, Riccitiello went on to say that EA was about two-thirds of the way through its turnaround and one-third of the way toward reaching its goal of transformation into a business that distributes games through "multiple channels."


i find this ridiculous 


Official Member of the Xbox 360 Squad 

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lol good luck with that

Where do they figure that will work? Is patcher leading them on or something? ...If so they don't need to listen to him.....the guy that said ''Gamers don't want internet in thier games''.

here's what EA said about it:

Electronic Arts tells Kotaku that while they're exploring different downloadable game strategies, they do not plan to charge gamers for "traditionally free game demos."

The clarification comes after word hit via analyst Michael Pachter's visit to Electronic Arts, that the company planned to grow their digital game business in part by release what EA called "premium downloadable content" on the Playstation Network and Xbox Live for $10 to $15. Pachter described that content as "essentially be a very long game demo, along the lines of 2009's Battlefield 1943." The "full-blown packaged game" would later be released at a full retail price.

EA Group General Manager Nick Earl told Pachter during the recent meeting that the strategy would allow the company to limit the risk of marketing the full game and would "serve as a low-cost marketing tool."

Responding to request for comment, EA's Jeff Brown said that the publisher and developer is working on a "number of projects for delivering premium content to consumers before, during, and after the launch of a packaged-goods version of the game."

"EA SPORTS, EA Games and EA Play are each experimenting with download strategies that deliver fresh game content in formats players want to experience," he writes. "To date, there is no set pricing strategy for the entire EA portfolio. And many of the proposals include free-to-play content on models similar to Madden Ultimate Team, Battlefield Heroes and Battlefield 1943."

"None of the proposals" Brown wrote, "call for charging consumers for traditionally free game demos."

Speaking at the Game Developer's Conference earlier this month Ben Cousins, general manager of free to play Battlefield Heroes, told a gathering of designers that EA is becoming increasingly interested in free-to-play or "freemium" games.


the uproar about it was amusing, as if Pachter suddenly became a highly credible source.

the words above were backed by NUCLEAR WEAPONS!

I'm sorry to say that this may just work. Just look at the success gran turismo prologue was on the ps3. as long as they don't release the extended demo right before the entire game comes out people will buy it.

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I would pay for a demo ONLY if I knew I would get a discount if I decide to buy the full game.

Bob_Loblaw said:
I would pay for a demo ONLY if I knew I would get a discount if I decide to buy the full game.

This.  $15 for the demo.  -$15 when I buy the game and I would do it.  My loss if I dont buy the game.

I think this would work. Theres always enough stupids that will buy whatever is hyped would it cost just about whatever.

Demos are supposed to be a playable part of your game, so that gamers can see if they like the game. They are NOT episodic parts of a game.

Deneidez said:

I think this would work. Theres always enough stupids that will buy whatever is hyped would it cost just about whatever.

Too true.