Ex-BioWare Dev Says EA Favors Open World Games Because “You Can Monetize Them Better”
“I’ve seen people literally spend $15,000 on Mass Effect multiplayer cards.”
Those who know the operations at BioWare have unique insight into the potential future of all games at EA, and one ex-BioWare dev has now shared what he thinks is behind EA’s strategy for game releases and what types of games are favored. With EA continuingto garner a negative reputation littered with microtransactions and a pay to play philosophy, it’s not too surprising to hear what this ex-BioWare dev had to say.
Ex-BioWare dev Manveer Heir recently appeared on the Waypoint Radio podcast to share his thoughts on EA’s future. He especially focused on why he believes that EA seems to be favoring more open-world games. Accoring to Heir’s comments during the podcast:
“It’s definitely a thing inside of EA, they are generally pushing for more open-world games, and the reason is you can monetise them better. The words in there that were used are ‘have them come back again and again’. Why do you care about that at EA? The reason you care about that is because microtransactions: buying card packs in the Mass Effect games, the multiplayer. It’s the same reason we added card packs to Mass Effect 3: how do you get people to keep coming back to a thing instead of ‘just’ playing for 60 to 100 hours?”
Heir also laments the amount of AAA games that exceed budgets of $100 million, which often leads to publishers like EA making choices that favor the highest profit over what the average player wants. As he says:
The problem is that we’ve scaled up our budgets to $100m+ and we haven’t actually made a space for good linear single-player games that are under that. But why can’t we have both? Why does it have to be one or the other? And the reason is that EA and those big publishers in general only care about the highest return on investment. They don’t actually care about what the players want; they care about what the players will pay for. You need to understand the amount of money that’s at play with microtransactions.”
When it comes to microtransactions, Heir’s biggest focal point of familiarity was with the multiplayer card system in Mass Effect 3. While he was unable to provide an exact dollar amount for total sales, he was familiar with how much the biggest customers spent in the game. Heir understood why EA focuses on microtransactions for revenue, saying:
“That’s the reason other EA products started getting multiplayer that hadn’t really had them before, because we nailed it and brought in a ton of money. It’s repeatable income versus one-time income. I’ve seen people literally spend $15,000 on Mass Effect multiplayer cards.”
It certainly seems that not just EA, but many AAA publishers and developers are looking to expand their revenue streams with games outside of the usual $60 entry fee for the game. Hopefully though, these companies remember to look out for the average player first and foremost, to have a base product that connects with the audience. What do you guys think about the comments from this ex-Bioware dev? Let us know in the comments below!
Cory Lara833 Posts
A royally radical and totally tubular 90s kid, Cory has a passion for all things nerdy, particularly gaming and nostalgia. While an accountant by day, he strives to be as creative and humorous as possible in his free time, be it here writing on Don't Feed the Gamers, or making dumb satirical posts on his Twitter, Youtube, Facebook and Instagram accounts.