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EA: PC Could Become the Leading 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.

  • utengineer
    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.
    Reply
  • dco
    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.
    Reply
  • dgriffs
    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.
    Reply
  • slothy89
    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*
    Reply
  • slothy89
    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..
    Reply
  • 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!!!
    Reply
  • eddieroolz
    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.
    Reply
  • aznguy0028
    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
    Reply
  • damasvara
    Anyone saying PC graphics quality is inferior to that of gaming consoles must be living inside a nutshell... :lol:
    Reply
  • Benihana
    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 xDYes, 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...
    Reply