Develop Conference: Andrew Wilson on why recognising consumer interest in avatar status grants success in the digital era

EA Sports SVP: Devs must harness the power of player identity

Speaking at the opening keynote of the Develop Conference in Brighton, EA sports SVP Andrew Wilson has encouraged studios large and small looking to make a successful transition to the digital era to focus on the consumer’s interest in in-game identity and status.

Discussing EA sports move to make ‘everything social’ in response to its belief that digital and social platforms are becoming impossible to ignore and a cross-platform approach is now essential, Wilson pointed to the fact that player identity is more important than ever.

He then went on to advise developers to give the player’s in-game identity as much meaning and flexibility as possible in cross platform experiences.

"What I’d say to those building interactive experiences today is this: Never underestimate the idea of identity, and never underestimate the power of consumers’ interest in building status around that identity," said Wilson.

"The grater granuality you can give to a gamer for their virtual avatar, the more you can be successful today."

Wilson, who insisted EA Sports has changed greatly in the past two years to better embrace social and cross-platform experiences, recommended that studios put player status at the centre of their approach to game design.

"Move away from having yourself or your company or the platform holder at the centre of your creative model. That is where the player must be," recommended Wilson, stating his belief that consumers in the social era will position themselves and their indentity at the centre of a cross-platform game anyway, regardless of a given studio’s intentions or approach.

"They are going to use technology against you, unless you empower them to use it with you," he concluded.

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