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EA predicts a free-to-play-only future

Peter Moore: "Hardcore gamers won't like to hear this."

Almost all mainstream video games will soon be free-to-play and funded entirely by microtransactions, according to EA bigwig Peter Moore.

Speaking in an interview with Kotaku, Moore insisted that an F2P future is not only inevitable but it's a good thing for the industry.

"I think, ultimately, those microtransactions will be in every game, but the game itself or the access to the game will be free," he said.

"I think there's an inevitability that happens five years from now, 10 years from now, that, let's call it the client, to use the term, [is free].

"It is no different than… it's free to 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."

Moore added that the single-purchase $60 game might survive in some capacity, but "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," he continued.

"But we have seen, whether it was with the Wii getting mom off the couch to do Wii Sports or whether it was, more recently EA Sports Active, where we get females who love to work out, all the things that social gaming did - Rock Band did it, Guitar Hero did it - all of the things that elevated it from being a dark art of teenage boys usually sequestered in the bedroom - that it was testosterone-filled content that everybody railed against - to where everybody is a gamer… if you can move your index finger and swipe it this way, you're a gamer.

"And that has got to be the way it goes."

Moore is by no means the first industry figure to warn reluctant core gamers that they'll need to get used to the F2P model.

"The model is transitioning away from these big boxed games where you're pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into a title, to these sorts of games that don't count on the distributor," former World of Warcraft lead and Red 5 boss Mark Kern told Eurogamer last month.

"They don't need the distributor to succeed, so a lot more money goes into the game rather than to marketing and you get to grow organically with your players. And as there's no barrier to entry for players you can start to compete on fun instead of marketing, which is really the area that we as developers should be in."

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