EA: Social Games Aren’t Dying, But Consumers ‘Won’t Pay For Crap’

EA: Social Games Aren’t Dying, But Consumers ‘Won’t Pay For Crap’

With player numbers dropping and the recent revelation that 85 per cent stop playing after the first day, a shadow hangs over the once ridiculously profitable social gaming scene. Speaking today at App Conference in San Jose, Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello said that the decline of social gaming is overplayed; it’s not dying, it’s evolving.

All Things Digital reports that EA’s head honcho was optimistic on the outlook for social gaming, saying “the companies that are now suffering will have another day.”

It’s not social gaming as a whole that’s dying. It’s the form of social gaming that so many more traditional gamers found so abhorrent — begging friends for objects in order to build other virtual objects, making progression so difficult and time-consuming that spending real cash is almost the only option available. That aspect of social games is dying.

There are some lessons that all game makers can take away from the current challenges of social gaming. First and foremost, Riccitiello said, “consumers won’t pay for crap”.

Great gaming, he said, starts with truly good entertainment, not viral marketing involving spamming your friends to get a shovel.

Free-to-play browser-based and mobile games don’t have to be incredibly frustrating, insultingly basic experiences. Look at Robot Rising from Tencent Boston. It’s a rewarding traditional gaming experience, and it’s social.

Riccitiello singled out a pair of “truly excellent” free-to-play games, my beloved Dragonvale and EA’s own The Simpson’s Tapped Out. Both are games that deliver compelling (sometimes diabolical) reasons to keep playing and sporadically paying, with friend interaction limited to little more than visiting your neighbours to say hi. That’s where the new social gaming is starting from. It should be interesting to see where it goes from there.

Electronic Arts CEO: Consumers Won’t Pay for Crap [All Things Digital]


  • Really enjoying Simpsons tapped out, even though The Simpsons now is unwatchable or has been for many years now. John is right about gamers won’t pay for crap, paying $10-$20 in Simpson tapped out just to own premium buildings is ridiculous..seriously who is paying for this shit. Most of these games atleast give you the ability to grind away and purchase these buildings, but EA with Tapped out been able to collect donuts to purchase premium in game content is pretty much impossible without having to pay…… Not me I’m not falling for that crap..

  • EA thinks EA games are awesome? Good thing I was sitting down when I heard that bombshell.

    I’m playing Tapped Out, but it is barely a game, and not an experience I would pay money for.

    • I do and always will maintain that my best gaming experiences this generation were on the wii. And I don’t have a single minigame collection.

  • I loved playing the Indiana Jones game on FB, at least up until the point where I was told I had “run out of energy” and my three options were;

    1: Bombard friends and familiy with requests and invites
    2: Pay cash for more “energy”
    3: Wait 2-3 days until the “energy” refilled normally,

    Needless to say, I dropped it faster than the Tigers dropped Tim Sheens.

  • I think the biggest problem with this free to play crap is the price of said crap. You never feel like you’re getting any sort of value at all. When one item costs $10-$100, you’ve dug your own grave. If things ony cost say, 50 cents then it might make it seem more reasonable and drive more sales of your crap.

    • i agree. the biggest problem with free-to-play is they think they can charge anything for the “premium” content. SimCity Social is an example with their diamond system. who wants to spend 200 bucks on diamonds that might only get you 5 items? not me. it is a complete rip-off and people realise this. its so obvious and when people know they are getting duped they will leave.

      stop forcing us to pay to play

  • It’s because those trashy social games are more of a trend than a genre. Everyone did it because everyone else was doing it, it was a new thing. People like to ride the big waves, but beaches don’t always have them… What they’re experiencing is the leveling out of the playerbase to it’s true count and value.

    Out of touch experts, out of touch experts everywhere.

  • I like Simpsons Tapped out too but would have preferred to pay a couple of bucks upfront for the game rather then the big $$$ prices they charge for in game currency.

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