Freemium and Premium On One Console?

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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Freemium and Premium On One Console?

Just before we all tuck in to a monster Thanksgiving feed of turkey, assorted vegetables, and both stuffing and potatoes in one shot—not to mention dessert, seriously, don't mention dessert. I actually picked up a cherry cordial chocolate cake for the family dinner tomorrow and it looks amazing—an interesting development came into view from Patrick Soderlund, who's currently serving as executive vice president at Electronic Arts. Soderlund described to MCV how freemium and premium games really weren't in competition, but rather were two halves of a greater whole.

Essentially, Soderlund likens the freemium and premium gaming markets to the YouTube video and feature film markets. There are similarities and differences between the two concepts, of course, but the parallel is actually quite sound. Indeed, it makes no small amount of sense. The freemium market, like the YouTube short film market, isn't necessarily short on quality—though both sides have their share of dogs; for every Fewdio short from Drew Daywalt there's some yutz on a skateboard trying to get a show on MTV by what I can only guess is the most painful means available—but the results are shorter, and often done on a greatly reduced budget. The premium market, meanwhile, comprises the big-budget, big-action, big-stars affairs, whether said star be Steven Spielberg or Hideo Kojima. Again, there are winners and losers here, often based on taste, but the idea is still valid.

Soderlund's projections about freemium and premium living together in the same market are likewise valid. There will always be some users who want a shot of something quick when it comes to games, and certainly the freemium or lower-scale market is also the perfect place for indie talent to get up and running properly. Some terrific games have come out of the indie market, “How to Survive” and “State of Decay” are just two great names among many. But by like token, there will also be room for the longer experiences, for the full-bore, for the hard-core, for the amazing big-name blockbusters. Huge numbers of gamers are looking forward to “Fallout 4” and “The Elder Scrolls 6,” as well as the other major names.

Gamers are often eager for the next big experience, and it seldom matters where that big experience comes from. Games that are fun to play and well-plotted out will always have a place in gamers' hard drives, and will always draw gamers and their money. Soderlund's projections of such a wide open market are not only likely, but they're also desirable for gamers of all stripes. Anything that ends up with more games, and more likelihood that the individual tastes of gamers will be respected, is an excellent development by any measure.
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