EA Goes All In – Project Ten Dollar

It will be interesting to see how EA’s new “Project Ten Dollar” will turn out for consumers. According to BusinessWeek (via EuroGamer), EA will include a $10 coupon in upcoming games that unlocks additional content.

At the meeting, Riccitiello green-lighted “Project Ten Dollar,” a coupon program to reward people who purchase a new game with downloadable content and upgrades. People who buy used games pay an extra $10 or more for the same goodies. To create online products quickly, EA cut a deal in November to buy Playfish, which makes free games for social networks.

While I do not typically purchase used games, I wonder what is at play? Take Madden 10 which has some DLC for classic AFL teams. If Madden 11 includes that as part of the coupon, that is a nice to have; I never purchased it for Madden 11. If the coupon is for Ultimate Team, EA will have problems growing this potential revenue stream in Madden 11. I would have never tried Ultimate Team in Madden 10 if it was not included for free.

Sticking with Madden, what if roster updates are pay-to-play; included for free with the coupon? Because Madden contains the NFL license, I do not think EA can screw consumers by only including some teams, players, stadiums, but they could go the route of making roster updates, playbooks, extra jerseys, etc, which would tick off a lot of gamers.

I can understand EA attempting to cash in on the second-hand market, but I disagree with this approach. If they make a compelling experience, and make DLC that gamers actually want to purchase, EA will make their revenue in micro-transactions. I would love to see some numbers on Madden Ultimate Team because I suspect EA turned this very late addition to Madden into some additional revenue where none was expected.

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