Within a few short weeks, Rocket Arena, the new 3v3 shooter developed by Final Strike Games, has significantly dropped in cost and is now practically free to play. All of this has occurred prior to the start of its first season. So, how did this happen?
Honestly, it was EA doing EA things.
(Credit to Playstation)
One month ago at the EA digital event, Rocket Arena had its gameplay reveal trailer and what was shown looked promising. At first glance, it looked like another title throwing their hat in the free-to-play arena and one that should have stuck if marketed properly. EA however, did the complete the opposite and pulled the rug from under the consumer. It was announced that Rocket Arena would cost 40 dollars at retail and would also come with a separate season pass.
This clearly did not sit well with consumers as within a week the price of Rocket Arena fell to around 5 dollars. Sharp declines in price only occur if a product is failing and this tends to only occur months after release, it is practically unheard of when a title sees a price drop a few weeks after release. This is just ahead of its inaugural season, codes are being given out by both the developers and EA to breathe life into this now floundering title. Why EA thought this was a good idea is beyond anyone.
Clearly, the success of Apex Legends did not serve as an example to the decision-makers at EA, but it obviously should have. Establish the player-base by going free-to-play and then introduce a season pass with microtransactions and DLC, which would then act as the primary stream of revenue. While consumers aren’t fond of microtransactions, EA has royally screwed that up in the past, they are tolerable if the base game is free.
Instead of taking a consumer-friendly approach and a proven one at that, EA released Rocket Arena with little to no marketing and a price-tag that would do nothing to attract consumers. If any strategy would produce the worst possible outcome, this was it. I get that EA doesn’t have the best reputation, they lean heavily toward monetization and to them if it doesn’t make dollars, it doesn’t make sense, but this was managed poorly even by their standards
Unfortunately, all of this comes at the expense of the developers and its clear that they didn’t deserve any of this. They worked hard on a new IP and created a fresh take in an increasingly overcrowded genre. All EA had to do was adopt the strategy that made Apex Legends successful but instead Rocket Arena is being roasted because their publisher got greedy…again. Going free to play should have been the strategy from the jump as there are a number of successful examples to choose from. Seeing how one of these examples is even published by EA, there is no excuse for this type of mismanagement.
EA will continue to have one of the worst reputations in gaming as long as they continue to pull stunts like this. There is already a graveyard dedicated to developers that have had their work published under their umbrella and if Rocket Arena fails, Final Strike Games might be added to the list. Hopefully going free-to-play will help revitalize this game, but it will come with questions. What happens to those consumers who paid the full price, will EA craft a new strategy to help Rocket Arena increase its visibility, and why was their strategy so poor in the first place? Once again, EA has to conduct clean-up for a mess they created.
(Credit to Playstation)
They just can’t seem to get out of their own way.