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EA Exec: Games Aren't "Mass Market" Yet

| 11 Apr 2013 13:00
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Television is where the customers are, according to EA's Richard Hilleman.

"We have to make sure that game companies know what a mass market really is," says EA's CCO Richard Hilleman to Games Industry, after delivering a keynote address to a conference hall full of television manufacturing big shots at the UK's TV Connect 2013. "We're not one yet," he continues, while giving a nod to mobile and tablet gaming as the closest thing the gaming industry has to a genuine mass market. But, thinks Hilleman, for real reach, you have to go to the device that people turn to when they're bored of their phones and tablets. Enter television, the mass market to gaming's fringe, and the place where EA wants to sell its product in the coming years. Television, thinks Hilleman, is where the customers are.

EA has already done deals with the likes of Samsung and LG, putting its app based content out on smart televisions, and wants to expand its reach. After all, EA thinks, its customers have spent decades of their lives chained to the tube; that learned behaviour will surely translate to a sales bonanza. The chief problem right now, as EA sees it, isn't the technology or even broadband availability; it's monetization. EA doesn't want to be bundled in with a bunch of has-beens and never-was in some subscription package, where the duds drag down sales for everyone else. "They've cheapened my product by comparison," says Hilleman, "and they haven't allowed me to create unique value for that customer."

As for where these televisions are coming from, Hilleman's looking to Chinese manufacturers in particular, rather than Apple. China's putting out a lot of product - 170 million connected televisions to be sold in 2013 alone, according to Hilleman - and EA sees each one of those relatively low-priced televisions as a means of making a sale of its own. Meanwhile Apple's been toying with its smart television technology for a number of years, going nowhere, and Samsung, the largest manufacturer of LCD panels, has almost no reason to assist Apple's development. "I actually believe that nobody knows if Apple TV will happen," Hilleman claims, "including Tim Cook."

Source: Games Industry

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