news\ Oct 23, 2017 at 2:23 pm

Former BioWare dev says EA only cares "about what players will pay for"; Talks microtransaction push in games

Did someone really spend $15,000 on Mass Effect multiplayer cards?

Over the past few years, there has been mounting frustration over the addition of microtransactions in games. Some developers have come out to comment on microtransactions, claiming that their presence in games is due to the fact that games are too costly to make.

Now, a former BioWare developer, Manveer Heir, who worked at BioWare Montreal during the development of both Mass Effect 3 and Mass Effect Andromeda, has come out with a different viewpoint on microtransactions. 

Heir's opinion falls more in line with the consumer's view, where microtransactions are simply cash grabs. Speak with Waypoint Radio, Heir said that publisher's added microtransactions because they “only care about the highest return on investment. They don't actually care about what the players want, they care about what players will pay for. Those are subtly different things."

"You need to understand the amount of money that's at play with microtransactions," said Heir. "I'm not allowed to say the number but I can tell you that when Mass Effect 3 multiplayer came out, those card packs we were selling, the amount of money we made just off those card packs was so significant that's the reason Dragon Age has multiplayer, 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."

The former BioWare developer went on to comment that the push to create more opportunities for microtransactions in games is what is destroying single players games. Heir believes that EA is "pushing for more open world games, and the reason is you can monetize them better,” explained Heir. “The words EA use are ‘have them come back again and again.’ Why do you care about that, EA? The reason you care about that is because of microtransactions--people buying card packs for the Mass Effect games in multiplayer, etc. That's the same reason why we added multiplayer to Mass Effect 3, right? To get people to keep coming back to a thing to ‘just’ play for 60-100 hours."

On a similar note, EA recently closed down Visceral Games, a studio that was working on a linear Star Wars game. At the time, EA noted that the game had moved to another studio, to become a more 'broad' experience. Additionally, BioWare is working on a multiplayer heavy game called Anthem.

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