John Riccitiello’s “dirty little secret”

, | Games

How’s that for a headline, and I hope I misspelled his name and took game journalism down even lower. What could his secret be? That he paid $2000 on eBay for shoes worn by Rex Ryan’s wife? Probably did, but that’s not really a secret. Is it that the EA top banana looks at World of Warcraft revenue and has a secret man-crush on Acktard’s Bobby Kotick? There could be something to that, but no, that’s not this secret. In an article at he says that digital sales for PC will overtake brick and mortar sales this year, which is sort of interesting but not really. This, however, gave me pause:

The free-to-play model has been a huge boon for EA. Riccitiello noted, “Our highest ARPU (average revenue per user) are free-to-play games among paying users. You think about that and say, ‘how can a free game be the game they pay the most for?’ We have people who are giving us $5,000 in a month to play FIFA Ultimate Team. And it’s free. Dirty little secret.”

Riccitiello then rubbed his hands together and giggled.

People are paying five grand a month to play FIFA? That sure made me stop daydreaming about Ashton Kutcher’s abs. What are they paying for? More kicking tees for the field goal kicker? New helmets? I don’t get it.