EA's chief operating officer Peter Moore has said that he believes that microtransactions - and free to play - are an inevitable part of gaming's future. In an interview with Kotaku , he explained that the publisher is still figuring out its place in a changing gaming landscape.
"I think, ultimately, those microtransactions will be in every game, but the game itself or the access to the game will be free" Moore said.
"It's free [for] me to walk into The Gap in my local shopping mall. They don't charge me to walk in there. I can walk into The Gap, enjoy the music, look at the jeans and what have you, but if I want to buy something I have to pay for it."
The popularity of League of Legends and World of Tanks - whose player bases dwarf those of most commercial releases - suggests that business models are more responsible for turning people away from gaming than mechanical complexity. Success in the future won't be measured by boxed sales, Moore argues, but by bringing games to the largest possible audience - even if a large number of them don't pay a thing.
Moore expects a certain amount of resistance from the gaming community. "I believe that the real growth is bringing billions of people into the industry and calling them gamers. Hardcore gamers won't like to hear this. They like to circle the wagons around what they believe is something they feel they have helped build — and rightly so."
EA has been criticised for many of its attempts at monetisation, from Mass Effect 3's day-one paid DLC to Battlefield Premium. Moore asks that gamers understand that the publisher's approach is a work in progress.
"We're just picking our way through and nobody is any way trying to gouge anybody. We're picking through this at the same time that gamers are trying to figure out what he or she likes about games in the future, and how much they want to spend ... we're doing our best, alongside everybody else."
When you're a company as big as EA, the sympathy card is tough to play - but it is true that the entire industry is undergoing a change. It's more important than ever to make sure that you're getting good value for the money you spend on games, whether it's a full-priced game or a booster pack for Mass Effect 3's multiplayer. That said, giving more people access to more games means - hopefully - more variety and greater resources for developers. Do you think that universal free-to-play is the future, readers?