Free-to-play haters 'are a vocal minority', says EA exec

"At the end of the day you kind of have to look at real numbers"

A key executive at Electronic Arts believes that the vehement backlash against free-to-play games only represents the views of a "vocal minority", and claims the statistics paint a different picture.


In an interview with GamesIndustry International, Nick Earl, the senior vice president of EA's All Play division, said that the majority of customers have expressed satisfaction with freemium games.

"The market has spoken very loudly that that's the model they like," he said.

"Even though there's some vocal minority that don't like it, ultimately the numbers would show that they and others all support the freemium model better."

His example was the divisive Real Racing 3 - a game which sparked anger among online game communities for its constant in-game prompts to buy virtual goods. But Earl noted that the game has earned a four-and-a-half star average user review on iTunes.

"I think initially they were a little bit annoyed because the all-you-can-eat model makes sense for them," Earl said. "That's the kind of people they are. But at the end of the day, they're going to pay to eat, if that's their choice. And they're happy doing it.

"At the end of the day you kind of have to look at real numbers. The old proverb, 'You can't please all the people all the time' is just so true."

Earl did not provide data which would suggest that free-to-play detractors are in the minority. The proportion, of those for and those against it, is not clear.

But EA will continue to invest in free-to-play games, Earl said, to the extent that they will make up the majority of the publisher's output.