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EA: 3D May Come with Premium Pricetag

Thursday morning during an E3 executives breakfast event, Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello said that the company's 3D games hitting the major home consoles--and most likely the PC as well--may eventually receive a premium pricetag. Why? Although he didn't really specify reasons, it's assumed that 3D is expensive for both the developer/publisher and the consumer.

Microsoft's Neil Thompson reinforced this assumption after viewing Sony's 3D presentation earlier this week, saying that the genre is just too expensive for gamers at this point. "If you look at the costs of entry into the living room and when that's going to become mass-market, we think the offering with Kinect and the natural user-interface we're bringing, that's a more compelling proposition for consumers over the coming years than maybe looking at 3D at this point," he said.

But Riccitiello's "premium" theory is probably dead on. As consumers begin to migrate 3D into their homes on a hardware level, the demand for 3D content will rise. "3D may well be one of the next and most important drivers for growth," he said. "[That's] yet to be seen and I don't think it's a 2010 story in any way, shape or form... in a meaningful way. But as we move through 2011, 2012, it's likely to be an opportunity both for additional growth and perhaps premium pricing for titles that better support 3D."

Riccitiello previously vented his worries that rivals may produce "poorly authored" 3D content that could bring on a new kind of industry headache. He believes that over the course of 2011 and 2012, the strongest publishers will produce solid content that will inject a good, positive growth spurt. That could mean higher development costs and, in turn, the predicted premium price tags on the consumer end.