Some sensible stuff from Electronic Arts

I must admit that I am somewhat confused by the world’s second biggest games publisher. They say such sensible things and they lose so much money. I wish I knew them more from an inside perspective to try and understand how they manage this.

CEO John Riccitiello thinks that half of all games will move over to gesture interfaces and half will remain with traditional controllers. “I really don’t know if you’re going to want to play FIFA with a motion control device. First off, a 75-minute session would be frigging tiring, jumping all over the place. And frankly the traditional controller is pretty fun.” Personally I think that this is a good near term perspective for home consoles from where we sit now. However the advantages of a gesture interface are so massive that I am sure that human ingenuity and creativity will ultimately see a far higher percentage of games controlled this way.

In this Gamasutra article he explains EAs increasing successes on the Nintendo Wii. “No ports and pushes — do things that optimize against the controller system inherent in the wand and nunchuk.” Something other publishers would do well to take note of. There are nearly as many Wiis out there with customers as there are Xbox 360s and Sony PS3s combined. So it is a market well worth developing for, as long as you look very, very carefully at what Wii owners really want.

In the same article he says that the industry will move from 80% console to 50% console as a wider range of business models and platforms gain market share. He is right, but I see the move as being even bigger as netbooks and smartphones become ubiquitous.

The president of the EA Games label Frank Gibeau, in this LA Times article, explains EA’s (excellent and sensible) move away from licensed games. “The bloom is really off the rose for licensed games”.  Godfather, James Bond, Lord of the Rings and many more are now gone. Partly this is the movie studios taking back the rights as they move into gaming themselves, partly it is EA adding value to their company by owning their own IP. Whatever, it is a 180 degree turn around in the business philosophy of EA.

Patrick Soderland, Senior VP, EA Games Europe has an interesting take on the console wars in this article. “We’ve maxed out the 360, but we haven’t maxed out the PS3. We’ll see developers inside [Electronic Arts] getting to understand the PS3 better and we’re getting more power out of PS3 right now.”  No surprise for readers here.

Meanwhile The Sims 3, despite piracy, has become the most successful EA PC game at launch ever, with 1.4 million units for PC/Mac sold in the first week. The game iPod Touch/iPhone version also went to number one on the Apple App Store. Well done.

1 Comment

  1. Is EA that confusing? If you watch that video, a lot of those games are in categories that have much better games in them. It’s not that the EA ones look bad, they just don’t stand out — why buy Bad Company 2 when I can spend my gaming dollar on Modern Warfare 2?

    Brutal Legend is probably the exception but like most Tim Schafer games, it looks like they are having a hard time explaining it in 30 seconds. I don’t know why they don’t call it “Tim Schafer’s Brutal Legend” and explain to people why a game from him is something they should buy.

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