Prior to Electronic Arts’ merger of Iron Monkey and Firemint into Firemonkeys, e27 had the opportunity to interview Mark Fordham of EA. Mark is the General Manager for the mobile division and is in charge of Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, India and South Africa.
The interview focused mainly on EA’s use of the freemium model for a number of its game titles. EA has been testing out the freemium model for about a year. According to Mark, the freemium model for games does not apply to all products. EA uses a mix of freemium, paid and also ad-supported business models for all the game titles in its portfolio.
Whether the freemium business model is right for the game depends on the mechanics of the game. One of the successful EA titles to employ the freemium model is The Sims. The continual gameplay fits with the freemium model employed by EA and allows the company to consistently update the game. These updates, in turn, helps to extend the life cycle of the product. Using the freemium business model also lowers the barrier to entry for players, making it easier to reach out to a larger group of players. Players can still complete a freemium game without paying, although it would take them longer to do so.
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Ad-supported games in EA’s portfolio are Tetris on Android and Boggle on iOS.
Mark also shared more about EA’s increasing engagement in the Asian, and also Southeast Asian, regions as they continue to grow their influence here. According to Mark, the challenges faced in catering for the large Asian population is in finding the right balance of products. Mobile is part of EA’s overall strategy as it continues to expand its reach in Asia, where there is a high penetration of mobile devices.
For Singapore, EA will be looking to work more closely with the local gaming communities. To help support their presence locally, EA has already begun to engage Edelman for its outreach. With an existing partnership with mig33, and game studios based in Melbourne, could there be opportunities for the game developer communities in Southeast Asia to work closer with EA too?