Sports Gamers Online

Are Sports Games Heading Towards Free-to-Play?

Last week, Konami made the unexpected announcement that it would be making two major changes to its Pro Evolution Soccer series. First, it would be going by a new name now: eFootball. Second, eFootball would be free-to-play. The announcement came as a surprise, especially since it seemed like PES could hang with rival football series FIFA. A concerned member of the Sports Gamers Online community asked, “Are sports games going free-to-play?”

Managing Editor Mike Straw and Senior Writer Jake Jacobson tackled this question and more in a special Ask Me Anything episode of the SGO Press Pass. Neither of them believes sports games are planning to go free-to-play anytime soon. As Mike points out, sports game giant EA makes too much money to even consider it.

SGO Press Pass: Are Sports Games Going Free-to-Play?

Jake: We got a series of questions from (Youtube User) Sports Gaming Daily. The first… is, “Is the sports gaming industry transitioning to a free-to-play model,” and I would say probably not, they make too much money not doing that.

Mike: Not fully. Not fully, ‘cause people will give them the microtransactions and the 60, 70, 80 dollars anyway. Not spending the $70 on the game’s not going to make them more money from microtransactions, plain and simple. You’re getting that full price from players who have nothing to do with microtransactions, so…

Jake: Right… if the question is, “Is the sports gaming industry transitioning?” then no, because the only way I think EA does it is if, for some reason, one of their big 3 Ultimate Team games flops, and they abandon it. But as it stands, not only is Ultimate Team… not only are those bringing in billions of dollars on their own, but then also those games are selling better and better every year. So like, there’s no reason for EA to ever, I would imagine, shift to a free-to-play model, even though I would rather them do that. Does the rest of the industry… start tying to shift to free-to-play just as an attempt to circumvent how popular EA games are? I dunno. It depends on how well eFootball does, I guess.

Mike: Yep.

Jake: But I don’t see the sports gaming industry going free-to-play.

The SGO Press Pass is the flagship podcast on Sports Gamers Online. Managing Editor Mike Straw and Senior Writer Jake Jacobson recap and discuss the top sports game news stories live every Wednesday at 8:30 PM EDT on our Youtube channel. If you like the podcast, consider supporting the site by becoming an SGO Insider.

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