EA Games President Frank Gibeau says one of his top priorities is to move the company to an "online model" as fast as he possibly can, and explains how that new focus is part of the company's ongoing rehabilitation.
Speaking to Cnet, Gibeau said he was faced with two challenges as president of EA Games, and while the first priority he cited was a fairly standard statement about "keeping our talent very high quality and very engaged in what we do," the second was far more interesting. "Job two is I need to move to an online model as fast as I possibly can," he said.
"If you look at our customers' behavior patterns, you're seeing them engaging with fully connected experiences," he explained. "And I think we have IPs and ideas and expertise that can really allow us to do that. I think Spore is a connected experience. I think Battlefield is, and Warhammer. These can be very lucrative for us, and they can be very exciting from a developer standpoint, because you're moving from a fire-and-forget model to more of a service model, where you launch the game but you're thinking 24-7 about when's my first content pack, what's happening with telemetry, how are people playing the game and how do I make their experiences better?"
Asked about the possibility of an Xbox Live-style service from EA in the future, Gibeau said, "I don't know how it'll manifest itself in terms of an overall platform service. But I'm just not interested in single-player-only experiences anymore. When we're green-lighting new ideas, we look at the team, we look at the IP and an important part of this is also looking at what is the online experience like, and how do we measure and capture an idea that's bigger than just a fire-and-forget model?"
Gibeau added that the online model is partly responsible for the renewed focus on original titles from EA, rather than games based on licenses. "For a while there, we lost faith with our customers because we were churning out games that might have made sense from a financial standpoint, but frankly we had walked away from the art of making games and offering breakthrough creative experiences," he said. "There weren't as many games in our lineup that I wanted to play anymore. So part of what we embarked on here is to make more things that our people care about making and making more things that we own. That also puts you into a place where when you go online, you have a lot more flexibility and a lot more freedom to do things with that IP that in some cases licenses preclude you from doing."
CNet's full interview with EA Games President Frank Gibeau can be read here.