In its continued effort to offset the struggling traditional or "physical" video game market with a growing inventory of free-to-play games, game industry publisher Electronic Arts (Nasdaq: EA) has collapsed its Play4Free portfolio within its larger digital distribution and networking platform Origin.
EA announced the rebranded “Origin Free To Play” in a company blog post this week, saying not much would change besides uniting the publisher’s various pre-existing services under a single umbrella. Games like “Battlefield Heroes,” “Need for Speed World,” “Battlefield Play4Free” and “Command & Conquer: Tibererium Alliances” will now be hosted on Origin under the label “Origin Free to Play."
“Why change to Origin Free To Play?” EA’s vice president of the Play4Free portfolio asked in the blog post. “The main reason is convenience for players -- Origin now becomes your single destination for paid downloadable PC games and free-to-play games alike.”
“That’s the beauty of integrating on Origin -- all your gaming content in one place, and the choice is yours what and where you want to play today,” he added.
Together, EA’s free-to-play titles attract almost 45 million users, Decker said. Bringing this audience into the Origin platform helps EA strengthen its brand recognition beyond just the games it offers -- potentially turning Origin into something more akin to Valve’s popular Steam network.
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“You already know Origin as your destination for the latest and greatest in gaming content from some of the world’s best video game publishers, including EA,” Decker said.
When the International Business Times spoke with Decker in September for a story about the freemium video game marketplace, he said free-to-play games offer a unique opportunity for publishers because, like good television shows, good games can convince their players to “stay with it for years.”
Shares in EA rose to $15.47 per share in Thursday morning trading before dipping below $15.30 in late morning trading.