In this episode of Subscription Stories, Robbie Kellman Baxter interviews Electronic Arts’ Mike Blank about bringing subscription to the world of gaming. They discuss the challenges of subscriptions in the gaming industry, how to encourage consumers to discover new content within the subscription, and how EA offers multiple consumer models to support their “player first” promise.
‘EA has historically built their model around these awesome specific franchises, each with their own fan base: Madden, Battlefield, The Sims. So why did you decide to implement subscriptions across all the franchises? Do you remember how that happened?’
‘I frankly, I think this is what inspired us to think about this idea of a gaming subscription because we were seeing what was happening in the world of movies and music and books and where Netflix was. And it was clear that if you could offer something of value in the entertainment space to a consumer with low friction, with tremendous convenience, at a price that was reasonable, that that package would be something that someone would want to pay for. In our case, in the world of console gaming games are roughly 60 dollars as an upfront cost. And that cost has been relatively similar for many, many years. And so our business has been built around blockbuster releases of amazing entertainment, immersive entertainment experiences that someone would pay for and then enjoy for some period of time. Not dissimilar, perhaps, to a blockbuster movie that you might go to a movie theater for. Although the price point is a lot higher for games, it cost hundreds of millions of dollars to build a triple-A game. The world of gaming has evolved, but that price point that sixty dollars price point has remained relatively stagnant. And so when I reflect back about like, well, why did we get into this business? It was because what we were seeing, the behavior that we were seeing in the rest of the entertainment world. And the question we asked ourselves was, why is this not happening in games? What is different about gaming that is preventing us or any other publisher or any other major developer of gaming consoles to experiment in the world of subscriptions? Gaming is more complicated, though.’
Key points from this interview include:
- The metrics EA used to measure success
- How EA shares subscription data across the company without distracting from other “player first” projects
- How to tackle pricing in the gaming world and how EA chose its pricing model
Catch the full episode, Mike Blanc on keeping a ‘players first’ mindset within a subscription business, on RobbieKellmanBaxter.com.
For more information on building a subscription business, Robbie will be speaking at a zoom conference, How to Build Super Compelling Subscription Products, on Tuesday, October 27, at 1:30 PM ET.