Free-to-play can be “as profitable as a console game” — EA

Developers and publishers alike are starting to realize the freemium market is getting bigger by the year. Free-to-play has grown considerably lately and is worth making a long-term investment in. At least, if your name is Frank Gibeau and work as head of the EA Games label. He even went so far as to say that a free-to-play game can be “as profitable as a console game” during an interview.

“We’re aggressively investing in things that are very low cost like free-to-play,” said Gibeau. “The free-to-play group inside of EA Games is growing extremely fast – we’ve got 17 million users. Frankly when they get to scale, have huge audiences, are very profitable, they’re not cannibalising the main games and they actually reach markets that we’re not currently serving.”

“With Need for Speed World, Russia and Brazil are number one and two – the Ukraine is in there too,” he informed. “But I’m reaching an audience with Need for Speed content. It’s an engine that’s not as advanced as Frostbite 2 but it’s certainly got great production values and great game designs, and it’s free-to-play with micro transactions. It’s a very exciting time from our perspective because it’s not all about consoles. It’s about smartphones, tablets, free-to-play, browser, social.”

EA’s latest freemium project launched earlier this year under the name of Battlefield Play4Free, but others are joining in on the action as well; Valve made Team Fortress 2 a free-to-play title just last week.