One of the great things about the internet is that it gives everyone a voice. But one of the bad things about the internet is that it gives everyone a voice.
Remember the furore that erupted over EA and Firemonkey’s decision to make Real Racing 3 a F2P title? Remember the outrage as the supposedly once glorious series was warped and twisted for the gain of the publisher at the expense of the consumer?
All of these claims may or may not be true. Certainly it’s hard to argue that ‘aggressive’ F2P strategies don’t damage a player’s long-term experience of a game, even if the barriers to entry are indeed lowered.
But here’s why EA and others continue to pursue these strategies – Real Racing 3 has smashed the series’ download records.
Pocket Gamer reports that Real Racing 3 was downloaded more in its first week of release than both Real Racing and Real Racing 2 have achieved together throughout their entire lifetimes.
Of course, revenue will be the ultimate decider when the time comes for EA to decide upon the strategy for its next release, but understand this – these payment models persist only because consumers are actively validating them not by what they say but by what they do.
"There's no question that going freemium was the right way to go," EA's vice president of mobile and social Nick Earl said. "The vocal minority lashed out at freemium. We respect them and understand, but the market has spoken. That's just where things are going."
This should also provide stark evidence that while the internet can appear very loud and very angry, the voices behind it do indeed represent a tiny minority of the wider gaming public – a public whose opinions, in reality, are significantly more important to the industry.