EA president claims renewed focus on PC games

In an interview with Gamasutra, EA president Frank Gibeau reveals that the company has a renewed focus on developing for the PC. A big part of that focus appears to be games for social media platforms like Facebook. FarmVille and games like it are all the rage these days, and piracy probably isn’t much of a concern with those kinds of titles. They don’t cost nearly as much to develop as blockbuster releases, either.

Fortunately, EA has plenty of real PC games in the pipeline. Gibeau points to the upcoming Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO—a PC exclusive—as a big leap of faith for the company. He also says that EA is interested in experimenting with “freemium” titles that charge players for premium content and in-game accessories but allow everyone to play for free. The free-to-play model has had some success in the MMO world, and it will be interesting to see how EA’s Battlefield Play4Free fares with the shooter crowd.

Gibeau acknowledges that PC games may sell poorly in retail, but he calls downloads “awesome” and claims that margins are higher in the PC space than they are with consoles. According to this story over at Joystiq, downloads are estimated to make up 40% of the gaming market. It’s unclear whether those numbers apply strictly to the PC or if they include casual games like FarmVille. However, with Steam sales estimated at a cool $1 billion for last year, it’s clear that PC gamers favor digital distribution schemes. Among our own readers, over 70% buy most of their games via online services like Steam.

Comments closed
    • burntham77
    • 9 years ago

    Just put it all on Steam.

    • l33t-g4m3r
    • 9 years ago

    [url=http://techspotlight.net/news/dead-space-2-pc-gets-dlc-no-thanks-to-ea-but-to-edited-save-files<]Dead Space 2 PC Gets DLC; No Thanks to EA, but to edited save files[/url<] Yup. Thanks a lot scumbags. Looks like your little ripoff scheme backfired on ya.

    • Skrying
    • 9 years ago

    Yep, EA’s already taken the first step towards renewing PC gamers faith by including SecuROM with Dragon Age II after saying it wouldn’t be included. Yep, really doing a great job there EA.

    [url<]http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2011/03/dragon-age-ii-features-hated-securom-despite-previous-ea-claims.ars[/url<]

      • jackaroon
      • 9 years ago

      I almost pre-ordered that game, I’m saddened that I won’t get to play (because of my stupid standards), and relieved that I didn’t pre-order it. They can shut off your game, remotely too. Some guy complained on a forum and got his game turned off. EA has earned a spot on my “never buy” list. At this rate, pretty soon I’ll be stuck playing dwarf fortress and minesweeper.

    • Delta9
    • 9 years ago

    I wonder why EA would redirect their capital toward writing and optimizing a DX11 based engine and games for the PC. Perhaps because the graphics API in the next generation consoles will most likely be DX11 or a derivative of it. MS and Sony won’t be jumping into the GPU business, so an off the shelf or customized chip from AMD or Nvidia will be under the hood. If the games don’t kill at the marketplace, they are still getting hands on work and experience programming the newest unified shader architecture in a true DX11 environment. The studios are already bitching about the cost of development for next gen consoles, so why not start now, it is inevitable. Just a thought.

    • way2strong
    • 9 years ago

    Yeah right EA. I’ll believe you when you release a FIFA port that isn’t gimped.

    • blitzy
    • 9 years ago

    pc might get some more interest while we have ageing consoles, but as soon as there’s a whiff of next gen consoles pc will shrivel up again like it is now

    • swaaye
    • 9 years ago

    Well the guy certainly isn’t going to burn bridges by saying the PC is a joke and a waste of his company’s money.

      • yogibbear
      • 9 years ago

      Sandybridges 🙂

    • RtFusion
    • 9 years ago

    Hmm, renewed focus, eh?

    Ok, lets start with DLCs. Just stop it with them already. I am increasingly annoyed at how the DLCs for the Need for Speed franchise as of late has only been for consoles. I want to bloody drive the older Lamborghinis in Hot Pursuit, I wanted to drive some Ferraris in Shift 1. But no, it had to be for the consoles only.

    And then when I saw some reviews for Dragon Age 2, I was very disappointed with the massive gameplay changes. One of the reviewers said that these changes were made so that they were more streamlines, aka “consolized”. The battle system changed, no overhead view, extremely limited customization of your team as well as upgrading, and very limited in the way you deal with your main character. I also read some user reviews and that made me no want to purchase the game anymore.

    I am a huge fan of the franchise because of the great RPG elements in the first game. Nothing was broken to begin with. Very sensible ways of customization and leveling. I loved the game so much that I payed for two damn copies for it. One for 49.99 when it came out and then again for like 59.99 I believe for the Ultimate Pack with all the DLCs included (well, most of them).

    Back to the DLCs, the game looked very lacking and it looked like it would be very reliant on DLCs. Are DLCs the latest excuse for “Oh, we didn’t have enough time to implement this into the game, so just pay extra for this bit.”? Take the damn time to develop the game with features needed for the full experience.

    Furthermore, more and more games are being consolized. I’ve experienced this first hand with FEAR 2 (another franchise of which I am a big fan of). I ran to the store to pick it up on launch and I was very disappointed that one tactical movement wasn’t there; leaning. Ok, I know it sounds really lame for not having lean, but to me, its a tactical advantage. Its something I want to use against enemies. Also, the resolution of the game was really at a 16:9 ratio, didn’t fill the entire screen on my 16:10 monitor (1680×1050, 22.3), even fiddling with the graphic options. Again, I know to some it maybe me just nitpicking, but I just hate 16:9 for desktop computing in general as well as for gaming. I feel “constrained” by it and 16:9 monitors don’t seem “pleasing” for me. Strangely, I have no problem with HDTVs (have a Samgung LN46C650, great HDTV). But the damned black borders in that game annoyed me every time I caught a glimpse of them.

    If they really want to refocus their efforts, develop and publish PC games that aren’t watered down console ports, don’t take any tactical gameplay out of the game just to streamline it for controllers, don’t take any aspects away from a PC title that would make it easier to press X, O, B, L etc on a controller.

    ////Sorry for my somewhat non-sensical, illogical rant

    • PrincipalSkinner
    • 9 years ago

    Less UE3 based games please.

      • seawolf1118
      • 9 years ago

      agreed. EA needs to develop their own engine or support variety of engines including CryTech’s CryEngine 3.

        • PrincipalSkinner
        • 9 years ago

        Using same engine over and over again contributes to tech stagnation a lot. I was kind of disappointed when I realized Bullestorm uses UE3.

    • ShadowTiger
    • 9 years ago

    I think its very misleading for EA to imply that PC games just don’t sell in retail… therefore its a sign that the gamers don’t want to buy.

    What happened was a deliberate attempt to cannibalize PC games with higher margin console game sales, and now they are back peddling and implying that the movement to console was because PC was weakening. Its partially EA’s fault that PC retail sales fell, also partially the fault of Gamestop and other vendors who were trying to cash in.

    Also, even if it succeeds, how long will this “renewed enthusiasm” last? I suspect Microsoft will again close its PC division in a few years, and i wouldn’t be surprised if EA’s promise fades off the radar. Another possibility is that the meaning of focusing on PC shifts from AAA games to casual games (a trend that started several years ago in EA and not just for PC games)

    • l33t-g4m3r
    • 9 years ago

    Maybe if EA claimed to be interested in following stardock’s gamer bill of rights, then I’d start taking them serious. Instead, the only thing they really seem serious about is giving us the shaft. I suppose time will tell.

    I will say that they have seemed to improve since the spore fiasco, and they didn’t do a bad job with dead space, so perhaps they are getting better. Hopefully they don’t ruin Alice.

      • bittermann
      • 9 years ago

      Stardock doesn’t even follow it’s own gamers’ bill of rights…just look at Elemental

    • potatochobit
    • 9 years ago

    I dont trust EA with their PC games

    aren’t these the guys that made that 4 reinstall limit crap with crysis?
    I also know they dont support their online games for very long

      • Peffse
      • 9 years ago

      I thought it was 3.

      …and yes, but they’ve gotten worse. Now they require persistent internet connection during gameplay with their games, even when playing single player.

        • sonofsanta
        • 9 years ago

        [quote<]Now they require persistent internet connection during gameplay with their games, even when playing single player.[/quote<] On what? That was UbiSoft that introduced that system, EA haven't gone near it. I believe there was a misunderstanding that arose from a poorly worded product page somewhere, but it turned out that the game in question (I forget which) needed a constant internet connection for online play. Which seems logical enough.

    • Spyder22446688
    • 9 years ago

    Microsoft said something similar a few years back with their “Games for Windows” initiative, but it never really caught on as big as promised. I just don’t believe anything can curb the tide of consolitis.

      • indeego
      • 9 years ago

      WoW revenue potential.

      • BobbinThreadbare
      • 9 years ago

      At this point I think Microsoft intentionally made gaming worse in windows to sell more Xboxes.

      There is no other reason for Games for Windows Live to suck so bad, or the fact that Microsoft can’t even release it’s own games for Windows.

        • khands
        • 9 years ago

        I’ve heard the culture there has departments literally hampering other MS products to remain superior. VPs going at it and what not, I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s what happened to MS’s PC Gaming.

    • 5150
    • 9 years ago

    Madden for PC.

    DO IT NOW!

      • tejas84
      • 9 years ago

      This.

      American Football is the best sport ever. FUCK sucky Soccer

        • Incubus
        • 9 years ago

        Rugby and Basketball are the best sports ever.

        • Meadows
        • 9 years ago

        I know you’re biased, but praising handegg is a new low.

          • Farting Bob
          • 9 years ago

          Handegg is American football, rugby is just rugby. Because it doesnt call itself ‘football’ when feet very rarely come into contact with ball.

        • sweatshopking
        • 9 years ago

        tejas. I don’t understand your love for the US. where is it you live, that’s SO horrible.

        • Martian
        • 9 years ago

        For some reason, basically only North-American people are crazy about Superbowl, the rest of the world watches FIFA World Cup and UEFA Champions League. (And yes, the name soccer sucks, but it’s only the discriminating label given by you.)

          • BobbinThreadbare
          • 9 years ago

          Well except for India who only really cares about cricket, or China where I know soccer is not very popular.

          So other than another 2+ billion people, everyone cares about soccer.

        • NeelyCam
        • 9 years ago

        Hockey is the only one that can be considered a real sport. That and triathlon.

      • BKA
      • 9 years ago

      I hear you, I’m tired of updating the roster to Madden 08.

      • TurtlePerson2
      • 9 years ago

      They used to have a Madden version for PC, but no one bought it. They used to make all of the EA sports games on computer platforms.

        • TheBob!
        • 9 years ago

        That’s because the Madden for PC sucked even worse than the madden for consoles.

          • BobbinThreadbare
          • 9 years ago

          It seemed about the same to me, expect I could raise the resolution and get mods and free roster updates for it.

          You did have to get a controller to play it though. Mouse and keyboard are not friendly to sports games.

      • BobbinThreadbare
      • 9 years ago

      I think they’re worried modders would actually fix some of the crap EA does with this game and embarrass them.

    • khands
    • 9 years ago

    Too bad they don’t mean real PC games 🙁

      • The Dark One
      • 9 years ago

      If Microsoft really does intend to wait until 2015 for the next Xbox, then at some point they’ll have to. Besides, EA has had a much better track record of late than MS when it comes to delivering for PC games.

      • tejas84
      • 9 years ago

      So what about Battlefield 3 then? A DX11 console port?

      EA support the PC platform pretty well so go have at Activision or Ubisoft and their DX9 console ports.

        • ClickClick5
        • 9 years ago

        Battlefield 3 is being focused on the PC, Crysis 2 is the DX9 console port.

        • khands
        • 9 years ago

        Battlefield is an enigma, but I’m rather skeptical that this doesn’t just mean that EA is going to be focusing on their social network gaming arm.

          • RtFusion
          • 9 years ago

          I’m rather skeptical about BF3. I stopped believing the hype for PC games after Dragon Age 2 (probably started being suspicious with FEAR 2 then gradually started with the DLC bullcrap with the NFS Franchise). I mean, the released alpha gameplay looks very impressive, but I’m just “meh” at the moment with the game. I think I’ve become jaded.

    • dpaus
    • 9 years ago

    I am [i<]so[/i<] looking forward to "The Old Republic"!!

      • etana
      • 9 years ago

      I’d love a new single player old republic game, but never saw the appeal of MMOs.

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