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EA: PC Could Become the Leading Platform

By - Source: Gamasatura | B 55 comments
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EA has renewed its focus on the PC gaming platform.

In a recent interview with Gamasutra, EA Games president Frank Gibeau indicated that the company's overall strategy to regain marketshare includes a renewed focus in the PC platform. Even more, he admitted that it was "totally conceivable" that the PC will become EA's biggest platform in the near future.

"The user base is gigantic," he said. "PC retail may be a big problem, but PC downloads are awesome. The margins are much better and we don’t have any rules in terms of first party approvals. From our perspective, it's an extremely healthy platform."

Currently all eyes are focused on BioWare's upcoming Star Wars-themed MMOG, Star Wars: The Old Republic. However, EA also has an obvious interest in free-to-play gaming, pointing to the model's success over in China. "If you look at the way people play in Asia, PC is the model," he said. "I think that free to play model is coming to the west in a big way."

EA uses the free-to-play scheme with its online shooter Battlefield Heroes and plans to use the same microtransaction structure in the upcoming PC game Battlefield Play4Free. The latter game is presently in closed beta, but still generating enough revenue to help pay for the game's overall development cost.

EA's revived focus on PC gaming is just a fraction of the company's overall plan to retake the throne as the #1 game publisher in the industry. Its assault arrives on various fronts, from the mobile market to the social network audience to the hardcore console gamer. The company is also seeing a boost in revenue thanks to customers who are purchasing EA IPs across multiple devices (like The Sims 3, Need for Speed Shift etc).

"What we’ve been orienting our company towards is creating IP universes that can exist across those platforms," he said.

EA also plans to move aggressively in the console space for both this generation and the next generation hardware. This isn't surprising given that EA-based console games accounted for 72-percent of its net revenues during the last reported quarter. According to this filing, PC games only generated 14-percent of its net revenue in the same quarter.

At one time, EA was the biggest publisher on the planet. The position was eventually snatched away by Activision Blizzard. However Gibeau believes EA's overall plan will bring the stocks back to their previous heights. "Our earnings are up. We’re on our way back," he said. "If we hadn’t made the changes we did, if we had just kept iterating game after game, we would be irrelevant and in far worse shape than we are now."

See, PC gaming isn't dead, and may save EA from irrelevancy in the long run.

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  • 1 Hide
    utengineer , March 9, 2011 9:36 PM
    Obviously EA doesn't plan to pass the savings of game downloads to the customer. Steam charges the same retail prices on new blockbuster titles at $59.99.
  • 5 Hide
    dco , March 9, 2011 9:41 PM
    I bet if schools taught kids how to build and troubleshoot computers instead of how to use MS Office you would see a shift in the market. Specially considering the price of a console versus what kind of computer you could build yourself with that same amount there is no comparison.
  • 2 Hide
    dgriffs , March 9, 2011 9:42 PM
    It will be nice to see companies putting some more focus on pc gaming. Unfortunately, it seems that the majority of today's youth don't know anything about pc gaming. I was talking with my friend's brother and told him that I played games on the computer. He asked why and said that computer graphics suck. I'm sure I would get a similar response from many other teenagers. The average person doesn't know what's in their computer nor do they care. Most people aren't willing to upgrade computer components. They want to be able to buy a game and play it instantly.
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  • -1 Hide
    slothy89 , March 9, 2011 9:45 PM
    THANK YOU!!

    Someone is finally realizing that consoles are a dead end platform. Especially the current generation, being so old.
    It probably comes down to their programmers are bored writing the same stuff over and over again, and want to explore the new technologies available on the PC, eg DX11.

    This bodes well for Battlefield 3 :D  If only Activision weren't so narrow minded.. *cough*cod*cough*
  • 6 Hide
    slothy89 , March 9, 2011 9:47 PM
    dgriffsIt will be nice to see companies putting some more focus on pc gaming. Unfortunately, it seems that the majority of today's youth don't know anything about pc gaming. I was talking with my friend's brother and told him that I played games on the computer. He asked why and said that computer graphics suck. I'm sure I would get a similar response from many other teenagers. The average person doesn't know what's in their computer nor do they care. Most people aren't willing to upgrade computer components. They want to be able to buy a game and play it instantly.

    Agreed, I did a subject in 10th grade where we actually learnt all about researching components for a custom built PC, then ordered them and built the PCs ourselves. We need more of this.

    If you can build a PC, you sure as hell can work out Office lol..
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , March 9, 2011 9:55 PM
    i'm tired of games being made for consoles first, then PC. it should be the other way around. make it for the better technology, THEN shape it for the consoles... also, dragon age 2 doesn't support controllers. booo!!!
  • 2 Hide
    eddieroolz , March 9, 2011 10:01 PM
    While this is certainly welcome, I hope that EA will cooperate with Steam for distribution. It makes it a lot simpler and better for us.
  • 1 Hide
    aznguy0028 , March 9, 2011 10:06 PM
    Very glad to hear this news! I wonder how much console piracy played a part in their decision. Few years ago, all the console fanbois were bashing PC's game decline because of piracy. Looks like things are heading back to an even field.

    I'm sure as hell glad BF3 is using the PC as a lead platform xD
  • 3 Hide
    damasvara , March 9, 2011 10:20 PM
    Anyone saying PC graphics quality is inferior to that of gaming consoles must be living inside a nutshell... :lol: 
  • 1 Hide
    Benihana , March 9, 2011 10:45 PM
    aznguy0028Very glad to hear this news! I wonder how much console piracy played a part in their decision. Few years ago, all the console fanbois were bashing PC's game decline because of piracy. Looks like things are heading back to an even field. I'm sure as hell glad BF3 is using the PC as a lead platform xD

    Yes, the part I like best about Valve is that they don't use any additional 3rd Party DRM beyond their Steam client. I hope EA learns to stop incorporating SecuROM and whats-its into it's products. I still have yet to play an EA title...
  • -3 Hide
    alidan , March 9, 2011 10:54 PM
    slothy89Agreed, I did a subject in 10th grade where we actually learnt all about researching components for a custom built PC, then ordered them and built the PCs ourselves. We need more of this.If you can build a PC, you sure as hell can work out Office lol..


    i got yelled at one day. the teacher was out, a common thing in out class. i wanted to get that crap out of the way, because programming was far more interesting to me, so i spent 30+ minutes building the pc, this was a highschool class, the pc's were free, but replacements for what was already in the class. the teacher pops in for 5 minutes at the end of class, sees the computer reformatting, and got mad... you know what its like being suspended for actually knowing how to do things... it wasn't my first time being in trouble for knowing more than my teachers, in middle school i was doing html, the teacher was teaching the rest of the class how to use a wysiwyg editter, i was in notepad doing html. 5 minutes latter, she comes by me... mad, and tried to delete what i did, but i saved before hand, and imported the code to the wysiwyg program, and was done. hello middle school office, im here for the day on an in school suspension for not being stupid.

    i was really the only kid in school, who was smart, that teachers dreaded teaching, because i would eventually know more than them, or do better than them (art or shop classes) if i took an interest in what they were teaching.
  • 2 Hide
    megamanx00 , March 9, 2011 10:56 PM
    -_- I don't trust EA. Nope. Even so the free to play model has it's merits and considering how many PCs there are, as well as the superior hardware and fact that people are going to buy that insane 6990, EA finally sees that ignoring the PC market hurts their bottom line. In the end, all they care about is squeezing out more money for them, so we'll see.
  • -2 Hide
    theshonen8899 , March 9, 2011 11:11 PM
    I'm having trouble understanding how the "PC is dead" rumor began. PC was never popular, ever. Just because Call of Duty has recently started getting popular on consoles doesn't mean PC gaming has become less popular.
  • 0 Hide
    theroguex , March 9, 2011 11:11 PM
    Yeah, EA, nice. Of *course* your margins are better on the download market. You charge the EXACT SAME PRICE for your games. Whatever happened to the 'packaging and licensing are what make prices so high' argument?

    Oh, you mean, that argument was total BS? Nice to know.
  • 1 Hide
    theroguex , March 9, 2011 11:24 PM
    theshonen8899PC was never popular, ever.


    LOL. What planet are you from?
  • -1 Hide
    joelmartinez , March 10, 2011 12:31 AM
    Iz a lovez pc
  • 0 Hide
    kronos_cornelius , March 10, 2011 1:04 AM
    I think WebGL is the future of PC and mobile gaming. I don't think we will see a next gen console as was the tradition during the past decade. I also don't think Valve can rest on its laurels with Stream, since the competition will fight back by supporting open standards, and if you have kept up with the Android/iOS saga, you already know who wins in market share.

  • 0 Hide
    atikkur , March 10, 2011 1:40 AM
    now is the download era.. your customer is the world. so if you can lower the price by 50-60% of that high pricey $60.. you could attract more people to buy your legit products. piracy will go lower, your revenue will go up. think about it.
  • 2 Hide
    rohitbaran , March 10, 2011 1:52 AM
    PC FTW!
  • 0 Hide
    kewlx , March 10, 2011 2:33 AM
    theshonen8899I'm having trouble understanding how the PC was never popular, ever.



    WTF? have you heard of D2 LOD? or warcraft? or starcraft? probably the worlds biggest games of their time right along with Counter strike. I love Blizzard and EA my fave two companies right along with Steam for making it possible to load all my games steam or not into their interface and launch them all from there and for greatest games ever for cheap prices even when stores don't sell them anymore :D 
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