EA stock to go “free to play”

This doesn’t actually make that much sense. The Euro is a currency though and this is an article about money!

Following its annual investor meeting last week, at which the company had to face up to some rather harsh truths about its business model (namely that treating customers like imbecilic children tends to not go down too well with the general public), EA has announced that its shares, currently trading at $12 down from a high of over $60 in 2005, will become free “this fall”. This move follows many other companies who have attempted to operate on a “free to play” stock market, such as 38 Studios, Midway and Acclaim. While the move is generally seen as something of a “last hurrah” for a company, EA hopes that it will be able to do things differently.

“When we launched our current line of stock back in late 2011, we initially saw a huge uptake and sense of enthusiasm for it” said CEO John Riccitiello when I dropped a coin in his begging bowl, “but ever since then we’ve found it hard to compete with the established players such as Activision/Blizzard, and ultimately we feel that going free-to-play makes the most sound business sense.” The free-to-play model will likely be supplemented by microtransactions, a popular business model whereby the company will attempt to divest itself of small items such as minor local development studios and office furniture for “small sums, payable in cash to whoever they can find”.

Analysts are cautiously optimistic of the free-to-play model, but have warned that launching such a scheme in the current economic climate may not be the best of ideas. “Gamers just don’t have the disposable income they used to, at least, not after paying all the fees for online games such as SWTOR” Michael Pachter told us after we impersonated GameSpot, “Really I think they’re hoping that this model is going to get a lot of the people who might have bought their stock in the past to come back and maybe have a go at it again but I can’t see it working.”

Regardless of the outcome of the move, EA have remained committed to maintaining Origin, to collective groans from the wider video gaming community.

About Cieran Douglass

Cieran built this website in a cave with a bunch of scraps. Actually no that's not right at all, it was with Wordpress and middling Photoshop and design skills. He often plays video games and his favourites are Paper Mario TTYD, GTA San Andreas, Portal 2 and Minecraft. His display picture is not an accurate portrayal. He currently works for a much bigger website at the University of York, but if you'd like him to write something for you he can be contacted at cieran@pixelgrater.com.