Electronic Arts to trial new digital price-points and free-to-play models, Gibeau reveals

EA: The non-connected games model is finished

One of the most senior execs at Electronic Arts believes non-online-enabled games are a “finished” commodity.

EA Games label president Frank Gibeau said that online components in all the division’s games are now borderline compulsory – a move that illustrates the startling evolutionary pace of the modern games industry.

“I volunteer you to speak to EA’s studio heads, they’ll tell you the same thing,” he said in an interview with Develop.

“They’re very comfortable moving the discussion towards how we make connected gameplay – be it co-operative or multiplayer or online services – as opposed to fire-and-forget, packaged goods only, single-player, 25-hours-and you’re out. I think that model is finished.”

Gibeau – who was appointed label president in 2007 – said that “online is where the innovation, and the action, is at.” The subject of how this will affect EA’s own developers is explored in the second half of Develop’s interview.

Recently, EA CFO Eric Brown claimed the games market is currently split 40/60 between digital and packaged goods, a number which he hopes EA will “closely match” in the future.

Gibeau provided an outline to how this digital strategy applies to the EA Games label in particular.

“Looking ahead into the next three years,” he said, “we’re going to change a lot of ideas in regards to content delivery mechanisms. We’re going to try out new price-points, and we’re going to try free-to-play models within my group – things like we did with Battlefield 1943, which was a $10 XBLA game that did extremely well. So we’re going to focus more on content delivery models.”

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