‘Free-to-start’ could be free-to-play’s way into the console market, EA boss says

Free-to-play may still be finding its feet in the console market, but EA has identified what it thinks may be a potential avenue for the business model.

Speaking to investors yesterday EA CEO Andrew Wilson said, as transcribed by Seeking Alpha, that games must inevitably follow the lead set out by other entertainment mediums in lowering the barrier to entry.

As we look to the future, we believe a very big part of that player base will expect a free-to-start experience,” he said. When we look at film, television, music, books very often there is this free trial notion that actually on boards new players, new listeners, new readers or new viewers into a service.

We’re actively looking at how we could offer that type of experience to our players, console and across other platforms. From there, it really comes down to, do they make their next step in terms of a premium download, a micro-transaction in a free-to-play type environment or a broader relationship through a subscription.

Our expectation is that we will be offering all three of those options to players, both console and across other platforms.”

EA has in the past been a big advocate of the potential of free-to-play, with Nick Earl saying in 2013 that the noises decrying the model pale in comparison to its swift consumer uptake.

Later that year Peter Moore said that F2P was an option being considered for all of EA’s IP, although Patrick Soderland later that year questioned whether F2P could ever really establish itself on consoles.

There has already been some free-to-play success on consoles, however, with SOE saying earlier this month that DC Universe Online currently makes more money on PS4 and PS3 than it does on PC.

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