Consoles are ‘40% of the game industry,’ says EA CEO

Consoles aren’t as big as they used to be, at least in the grand scheme of things. EA CEO Jon Riccitiello dropped that bombshell last week, when he told IndustryGamers that consoles now account for less than half of the overall game industry:

And let’s be realistic. Consoles used to be 80% of the industry as recently as 2000. Consoles today are 40% of the game industry, so what do we really have?

Riccitiello went on to say that the iPad is currently EA’s “fastest growing platform”—no big surprise there, as our own Scott Wasson can attest. The EA head honcho didn’t quote numbers, though, nor did he elaborate on whether those percentages refer to unit shipments or revenue. I’m guessing the latter. Either way, the PC probably makes up a decent chunk of the remaining 60%.

Those comments were made during a discussion about Nintendo’s upcoming Wii U console and the importance of increased graphical fidelity in games. Judging by his statements, Riccitiello doesn’t care much for extra eye candy. Rather, he said, “I would argue that there’s more to be provided in terms of value for the consumer in micro-transactions and social experiences and driving those better in cross-platform gameplay between a console and a PC and a handheld device and a social network than there is supercharging graphics.”

Comments closed
    • HunterZ
    • 8 years ago

    “I would argue that there’s more to be provided in terms of value for the SHAREHOLDERS in micro-transactions and social experiences and driving those better in cross-platform gameplay between a console and a PC and a handheld device and a social network than there is supercharging graphics.”

    Fixed that for you.

    • swaaye
    • 8 years ago

    I suppose that it’s clear that the publishers are looking at the cell phone industry as a serious opportunity. Or at least, a new opportunity of sizable proportions that’s separate from the more traditional platforms and game types.

    • Bensam123
    • 8 years ago

    These statistics are misleading. If you read the RPS news release on this it states that these are non-GAAP statistics vs GAAP. GAAP being tangible assets and non-GAAP being predictive (basically what they think will happen). That’s just a summary, RPS breaks it down pretty good though.

    [url<]http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/07/27/eas-non-gaap-figures-pc-beating-consoles/[/url<] Putting that aside, they really need to take a step back at the big picture. I've never been a huge fan of leveling and unlocking systems ,definitely not a fan of micro-transactions, but almost all games now days have them and it's really starting to piss me off. It's not so bad if it compliments good gameplay, but most of the time it's there to act as a carrot-on-a-stick to encourage players to play it and just like Vulk, some days I just want to come home and play a good game. I really am getting sick of having to level, unlock, or otherwise have to go through a grinding experience just to enjoy something. Even FPS games are guilty of this, some quite a bit worse then others. This is mainly why I've been sticking to TF2. Even though they've taken on micro-transactions, it still maintains the feeling of being able to jump into a game without any real obligation. Most older games had neither unlocking or leveling, and you know what? They were damn fun.

      • HunterZ
      • 8 years ago

      I think it’s funny how you complain and then turn around and defend TF2. I stopped playing once just before they released the unlockables, and then I found myself returning to it less and less. This was largely because I saw more and more people running around with custom crap that I didn’t have, and I didn’t want to spend the time/money to acquire all that since I already wasted years of my life doing that in WoW before I quit.

        • Bensam123
        • 8 years ago

        Every rule has an exception and this is one of them. Spend a couple minutes on the Wiki looking up what you want and craft it. Everyone gets a item allowance each week and the drop rates are increased for new items.

        It seems you just got cold feet before even looking into the system and assumed it was going to be terrible.

        I also have played WoW, but stayed largely away from raiding hardcore. The carrot-on-a-stick approach can be very addicting.

    • Nutmeg
    • 8 years ago

    I’m confused. So according to EA, when the under-powered Wii was released, they could not or would not release like for like ports and releases on it like they did for the 360 and PS3 for that reason.

    And now when the Wii U comes out with very good graphics horsepower, oh now suddenly no-one cares about that shit any more.

    Frankly I think EA is just brazen in it’s desire to find any excuse not to have to deal with a company who won’t take their bullshit like Nintendo, and instead prefer to shack up with spineless losers like MS and Sony who will accept any cock EA and Activision etc choose to ram up their asses in the name of greater profits.

      • BobbinThreadbare
      • 8 years ago

      What kind of shit are Sony and Microsoft accepting when they let EA or Activision make games for their systems?

      I mean, the consumers are accepting a lot shit generally when they buy the games, but I don’t see how it affects Sony or MS negatively.

    • DrCR
    • 8 years ago

    Ah! A console controller. I couldn’t tell what the pic was until I looked closer. All I saw initially was a rifle with a nearly flush, low-capacity, magazine.

    On topic: I’ll be interested in how many micro-transaction “opportunities” are arm-twisted, er, provided in BF3.

    • brucethemoose
    • 8 years ago

    From a personal point of view, I’m kind of surprised. As sad as it may sound, most every gamer I know plays COD or a few other games of the PS3 or Xbox 360. No one I know has a real gaming computer like I do… most either have 13′ Macbook pros that cost more than my monster rig or freaking $300 windows desktops that lag like a fat man in a marathon. If I think about it really hard, I know quite a few people that do have computers who mostly use them for WOW or Diablo… but not much else.

    Let me tell you a story. I was talking to a few friends a few days ago, and said I was thinking about getting Crysis II or even COD for the PC, saying how I loved playing Oblivion on my computer. One friend acted confused, asking how you get 360 games on the PC… and the other was disgusted I used a mouse and keyboard to play oblivion on the PC, and seemed to act like the Xbox’s graphics were alot better… Oh did I have a little chat with him. Sad isn’t it?

    EA, I don’t know were you’re getting your statistics… BUT LOOK AGAIN! Aside from WOW fans, I know 1 guy who has a dedicated gaming computer he built a few years ago, and know no one besides me who plays more than a few games on the PC. EVERYONE plays on consoles and iPhones. ALL my friends have 360s or PS3s, and ALL of them bought new 360s when their old ones died. I have alot of friends, and my age group makes up alot of your industry.

    On a side note, EA’s focus on a “social network” and casual mobile gaming says it all. Social networking and iPhone apps are cash cows. Their stocks will go up, investors will be happy and the press will praise EA, even while they lose focus on what makes a real console or PC title. EA, if you read this, for the love of god, don’t lose sight of the essence of the industry. Look down from your perch at smaller companies like Bethesda, or even at indie developers like notch. Follow their model. Sell games by making them **** good and standing behind them, not by chasing fads in a short term effort to help the bottom line. But the bottom line is the most important thing, you say? Remember that Valve makes more money per employee than Google. And they’ve been working on Half-Life and Portal since the Dark ages.

    • ShadowTiger
    • 8 years ago

    That statistic is highly misleading since he doesn’t define what consoles are.

    Theres hardware, software, used sales, and digital downloads / dlc.

    He could be talking about just one or two of these numbers, or it could be all combined… but we don’t know do we…

    and as for the analysis… spending more money on crappy mobile and social games that are going to be obsolete in 5 years is not a great direction for the industry.

    • TechCtrl
    • 8 years ago

    With the rise of Free-2-Play games in recent years, i guess there is some truth to what he says.

    • BobbinThreadbare
    • 8 years ago

    From the numbers I’ve seen quoted in terms of sales for multi-platform games, and the number of steam subscribers, I was pretty sure that PCs were about as large as either xbox or PS3.. However, given the how well certain games sell for the Wii, I’m surprised by that overall number. Unless he is just talking about sales for EA. In which case it makes more sense most best sellers for the Wii are first party games.

      • kamikaziechameleon
      • 8 years ago

      I think he’s referencing the entire market and in all honesty wii sports doesn’t count its hardware bundled. Games like farmville and angry bird changed things forever.

    • someuid
    • 8 years ago

    “I would argue that there’s more to be provided in terms of value for the consumer in micro-transactions and social experiences and driving those better in cross-platform gameplay between a console and a PC and a handheld device and a social network than there is supercharging graphics”

    Micro-transactions and social interaction in my video games? Cross platform gameplay between a PC player and a social network player?

    I don’t think this guy has the same viewpoint of ‘gameplay’ as we do. It sounds like he’s talking about some sort of Barbie Goes Shopping game, where the PC player gets to walk Barbie around the store FPS style, everything on the shelf is a microtransaction, and the contents of your shopping cart is posted on Facebook for your friends to comment and send you f’ing on-line coupons for free toothpaste in the hopes you’ll pick up two and gift one tube to their avatar. 30 sparkling toothpaste collections later, you get a free exlusive one time only prom dress for Barbie.

    I think EA has gotten too big and no longer remembers (1) what made games good and (2) can only chase down the biggest, flashiest, buzzword laden revenue opportunities while all the good stuff falls through the cracks or gets shoved aside in the pursuit of cost savings and faster time-to-market development.

    • Vulk
    • 8 years ago

    Umm, I don’t like his emphasis of micro-transactions…. I’m increasingly pissed at games where they get me to pay $60 bucks for a game, and have obviously and intentionally gimped it, so that they can then release bits and pieces as ‘extras’ that I then have to pay for, just so they can milk me for more.

    DLCs conflict me like that. Sometimes when they add genuine game play to a game I enjoy, then I love them. When they ‘unlock’ a thing that’s been in the game world and the developer has made numerous references to it throughout the game, and obviously COULD HAVE released it as part of the main title, and instead wants me to spend $10 bucks more to unlock it, especially if the game cost upwards of $60 to begin with and had a very limited story to back the price, I hate it.

    As to the social experience across consoles, PCs, handheld devices, and social networks… Meh. If I want a social experience I’ll play a freaking MMO or farmville. There are days where I come home from work, and just need to kill something so I blow up pixels. Adding a chat service to the game that allows me to do that actually makes the game worse, not better from my point of view. Integrating my acomplishments to Facebook is something I NEVER want since I my coworkers and what not have access to that, and I do not WANT them to know I was up until 3 in the morning playing a video game because the baby was crying, and that’s why I’m dragging at work that day. I can see how some people might want it, but for me the mere possibility of it is a negative, because things happen.

    And that brings us to his last point. There is a lot of value in supercharging graphics in the titles where that makes sense. Adding more pixels to Pong doesn’t change the expeirence. Getting near real life fedelity in a FPS or FPRPG makes the whole thing that much more intense, and adds to the experience in ways that adding a accomplishment link to Facebook, or integrating Origin (or whatever) chat service into it NEVER will.

    Ignoring that fact to chase fads and to maximize near term profits is a dangerous game. As is actively antagonizing the player base. But EA and many other larger studios don’t really seem to get it.

    My two cents.

      • Airgumby
      • 8 years ago

      I agree 100% on the DLC garbage we are seeing as of late. Games that would have had this already in the game are now almost being held out and then charging you extra coin. It gets extremely annoying seeing that trend.

        • NeelyCam
        • 8 years ago

        Then don’t pay.

        I’m annoyed by people who think they are entitled to everything, free. Wake up and get a job, so you can pay for sh*t like normal people.

          • SHOES
          • 8 years ago

          Im sure they can afford it but its the equivalent of selling someone a brand new car with a couple spark plugs dummied off and charging them extra to make use of the cylinders that are already there…

            • Corrado
            • 8 years ago

            Only valid if the car doesn’t run at all when you buy it. If you buy a 4 cylinder and it runs fine and gets the job done, then if you buy the other 4 cylinders, thats a BONUS. People buy cars, and then go spend more money to mod them to make them faster.

            If I buy a Dodge SRT4 (i wouldn’t, but if i did), and then I buy the Mopar Performance Stage 2 kit and now it makes 50 more HP, does that mean that if the Mopar Performance kit didn’t exist, the car would have come with those 50HP from the factory? No! It means you purchased an EXTRA on TOP of the base buy.

            If you don’t like the base buy, then don’t buy the game unless you feel its worth it with the DLC price included. Period.

            • RobbyBob
            • 8 years ago

            Wrong. The thing is, the extra cylinders are [i<]already there[/i<]. When you squeeze more performance out of the vehicle, you have to buy extra parts. When you buy some of this day-one DLC for the games, all the content is already referenced in the game, and should have been there already. A lot of the performance upgrades for cars are made by third-party aftermarket dealers; they are not things that were already put in the vehicle and disabled.

            • Corrado
            • 8 years ago

            The bottom line is, you KNOW WHAT YOU’RE BUYING. If you don’t like it or agree with it, DON’T BUY IT.

          • Beomagi
          • 8 years ago

          microtransactions is a garbage model.

          Some of us choose to voice our disposition instead of staying quiet while taking it in the rear.

          • Airgumby
          • 8 years ago

          So… I should pay up to $100.00 a game? lol… Because the “developer” wants more money when they leave out stuff for people like yourself to purchase. Funny, games in the later day had no problem being properly filled, while semi buggy, it at least gave us everything before it shipped!

          • travbrad
          • 8 years ago

          Yes just bend over and take it, you know you like it.

          I really don’t think this is a case of people feeling “entitled”. People just get annoyed when they feel like they are being nickel-and-dimed on every little thing. It’s a bit like buying a car and then being told the tyres are extra. (that right I went there, car analogy)

          I can afford DLC and micro-transactions but I deliberately try to avoid games that utilize these kind of schemes. Even in games I play that do use MT, I don’t use them because I don’t want to encourage that kind of gouging…errr payment system.

      • kamikaziechameleon
      • 8 years ago

      AMEN! you hit the nail on the head and just detailed all my thoughts on the matters at hand.

      I think this little vid done by some game designers does a good job of laying out how micro-transactions and stuff can work well in a game and how they ruin it for players:

      [url<]http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/extra-credits/3689-Microtransactions[/url<] COD has everything in it I don't want in my online gaming experience.

      • Bensam123
      • 8 years ago

      Yup, I agree with this as well.

      Personally I think TF2 has a very good micro-transaction model going for them and somehow people still buy stuff. All of the items you can get through micro-transactions are available in game to anyone who plays simply by playing the game. Buying it just means you get it sooner. It’s really gimicky, but it goes to show you that some people have money to burn and others like to spend time doing it, either way both win.

    • grantmeaname
    • 8 years ago

    [quote<]there’s more to be provided in terms of value for the consumer in micro-transactions[/quote<] I think he meant to say "for EA".

    • ludi
    • 8 years ago

    [quote<]Either way, the PC probably makes up a decent chunk of the remaining 60%.[/quote<] Hmmm. Given the rise of casual gaming on smartphones and tablets (e.g. iPad), it seems more likely (to me) that consoles have ceded a lot of the casual gaming market to handheld devices, but unlikely that the PC gaming market has made any significant gains.

      • SPOOFE
      • 8 years ago

      I think a better way to look at it is that smartphones and tablets represent the rise of technology that opens up another arena of gaming, an area that PC’s used to fill twenty years ago: Using a device that “you already have anyway” for entertainment. Conversely, getting a console or a gaming rig – or just the video card to jam in your tower – are purchases specifically for gaming.

        • kamikaziechameleon
        • 8 years ago

        I think mobile games eats up casual gamers. console gamers are more casual and as such consoles have lost those gamers to cellphones. I think the hardcore pc gamer crowd is as strong as ever. Don’t forget that casual pc gaming is up to with farmville and flash games being one of the most profitable outlets in the industry.

          • SPOOFE
          • 8 years ago

          You suggest that console gamers are “more casual” but then point out “hardcore” PC gamers as playing Farmville?

          Farmville is the E-pit-O-me of casual gaming.

          Console gaming is just so widespread that it encompasses a huge swath of the population; but I’d bet that most of the console MONEY is made from hardcore gamers, the guys that have to get the latest games and care about their “gamer score” or whatever the heck that is.

          The hardcore PC gamer crowd – those that shell out for higher-end hardware than a $379 laptop – are probably right around as “big” as ever, they’ve simply become dwarfed by the gaming Middle Class that consoles managed to tap, and that were never very much into PC gaming.

    • 5150
    • 8 years ago

    Bring back Madden for the PC and all is forgiven.

      • MarioJP
      • 8 years ago

      ummm why????

        • BobbinThreadbare
        • 8 years ago

        Because mods.

      • willyolio
      • 8 years ago

      why don’t you just buy Madden 08 and change the date if you want it so badly?

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 8 years ago

    “Either way, the PC probably makes up a decent chunk of the remaining 60%.”

    And WoW and Farmville probably makes up a decent chunk of that. Don’t get too excited.

      • Jigar
      • 8 years ago

      I couldn’t agree more, the serious gamers playing FPS or other genre would be hardly some where around 10-15%.

        • 5150
        • 8 years ago

        WoW gamers aren’t serious? Go tell that in Trade Chat and let me know how many call you a f%@@$t.

          • Jigar
          • 8 years ago

          So, i should be offended by addicts ? Come on, every one knows those poor souls are stuck.

            • dashbarron
            • 8 years ago

            So you basically believe that a FPS, the genre of your choice, is much more “hardcore” than other types of games.

            Conceited much?

            • Voldenuit
            • 8 years ago

            let me quote Jigar:

            [quote<]the serious gamers playing FPS [i<]or other genre[/i<][/quote<] (emphasis mine) Where does he say that FPSes constitute all of 'serious gaming'? EDIT: BB codes.

            • kamikaziechameleon
            • 8 years ago

            I think he means the audience is, per hours put into the game and general player competency would indicate such, atleast on pc.

          • ClickClick5
          • 8 years ago

          Heh.

          Being called Gay at your Gay wedding: 10%
          Being called Gay on Xbox Live: 90%

          These are facts.

            • Pettytheft
            • 8 years ago

            Jump into any pubs on just about any PC game recently? Same shit as Xbox live, sometimes it’s worse.

        • codedivine
        • 8 years ago

        What’s a “serious” gamer? You play FPS games for intellectual satisfaction?

          • swaaye
          • 8 years ago

          When I think of “serious gamers” (ie obsessive)

          – MMOs
          – 4 day games of HOMM
          – CRPG players who spend thousands of hours on a single game indulging thoroughly in every possible aspect.
          – anyone who mastered Falcon 4 and its ring binder F-16 flight manual.
          – some FPSs that have players improving skill over a decade.
          – Korean StarCraft players.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 8 years ago

            What about people obsessively tending their Farmville farm? Or someone playing their 50th round of Bejeweled Blitz for the day just to leapfrog their friend on the leaderboards?

            • kamikaziechameleon
            • 8 years ago

            comparing begewlled to COD is like comparing chess to paintball. Just saying.

            • Corrado
            • 8 years ago

            But would you say a professional paintball player is any less serious at his craft than a chess grand master is?

            • derFunkenstein
            • 8 years ago

            Exactly. You get a +1 for understanding what “serious” gaming actually means.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 8 years ago

            Irrelevant. Both are wholly devoted to their “craft” (which still feels silly to say whether you’re talking about CoD or Bejewelled or Halo or Farmville)

            • swaaye
            • 8 years ago

            Each clearly serious.

          • kamikaziechameleon
          • 8 years ago

          sometimes yes.

        • Beomagi
        • 8 years ago

        Top 15% people is not 15% sales!

      • Ushio01
      • 8 years ago

      For the June 2011 quarter, EA’s largest platforms by revenue were: X360 ($345m, +32% year over year), PS3 ($308m, +47%), PC ($205m, +10%), Mobile ($57m, +10%), Wii ($42m, +5%), ‘Other’ ($20m, -20%), PSP ($11m, -42%), DS ($8m, – 27%), PS2 ($3m, -73%)

      [url<]http://www.vgchartz.com/article/87355/ea-profits-221m-in-the-june-2011-quarter-on-999m-in-revenue/[/url<]

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 8 years ago

    Immersion is a pillar of gameplay and graphics fidelity is part of that, not every game should look like a pixar film ya know.

    • sweatshopking
    • 8 years ago

    so…. you guys all hate EA, and think they don’t know jack. now that they are pandering to you dorks, are they suddenly right?

      • kamikaziechameleon
      • 8 years ago

      I don’t think there was any real pandering in that statement. Just a slighting of consoles but no real constructive things about PCs.

      I think Riccitiello is a smart man working for a company that is deeply entrenched in draconian corporate culture. I Like Riccitiello but I don’t like EA.

        • kamikaziechameleon
        • 8 years ago

        Origin isn’t bad because its EA, its bad because of how they are going about it.

          • swaaye
          • 8 years ago

          Origin isn’t bad because of EA. Origin is gone because of EA. 😉

            • kamikaziechameleon
            • 8 years ago

            Ha, lol yeah. 😛

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