‘EA in better digital shape than Acti’

The founder of mobile games firm Ngmoco has said that EA is best positioned to face the transition from boxed sales to digital downloads.

Neil Young – also a former EA Los Angeles executive – claimed that publishers such as Activision are doing a worse job of preparing a strong digital arm.

The companies that are not doing a good job of managing the transition will find themselves in a really difficult place,” he told Industry Gamers.

Electronic Arts is doing the best job of managing the transition and I think other incumbents like Take-Two and Rockstar Games, Activision or THQ are doing a much, much worse job.

I really only see EA understanding that digital distribution and free-to-play and virtual goods-driven models are the direction things are headed. For all the shit that EA gets, I think they’re by far in the best position to come out of this transition in good shape.”

Young also said that a successful free-to-play rival to Activision’s huge Call of Duty FPS franchise could force the publisher to drastically alter its business model. This currently involves releasing a new boxed instalment annually and regularly updating it with paid-for DLC such as map packs.

It’s conceivable to me that somebody could build a competitive product to a Call of Duty and give it away for free,” he added.

That would just so completely undermine Activision’s business model that the industry would change. There’s a good example of how ‘free’ can disrupt businesses.

[Maybe] we’re going to see someone else come in and push EA and Activision aside and take that leadership position. Maybe that’s Zynga, maybe that’s [Ngmoco parent company] DeNA.”

EA’s Battlefield Play4Free is currently in its beta stage. Users will be able to play the PC title for free and have the option of buying extra content in-game.

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