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Wilson: How EA Sports is evolving at “internet speed” to deliver on-demand experiences

Saturday, 20th August 2011 19:25 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

EA Sports president Andrew Wilson has said consumers absorb content so expeditiously in this day and age, that if publishers are unwilling or able to keep up, the games industry will end up in the same boat as the music industry back in the Napster heyday.

Speaking in an interview with MCV, Wilson said EA Sports is doing its best to keep up with consumer demand, by going at “internet speed” with its title offerings, which it hopes at one point will be 100 percent network oriented with cross-platform services accessed through Facebook and mobile.

“It’s an incredible challenge for us,” he said regarding the ability to keep up with the consumer. “At EA Sports we have typically been the fastest movers in all of EA and now there are consumers that are moving exponentially faster than us. So we are doing our best to indoctrinate our people, helping them increase their clock speed, and bring in new talent that has lived at this speed who can help spread that message.

“Based on what we’ve seen with FIFA on Facebook, FIFA Ultimate Team and our other online projects, plus where we see it going with iPhone, I know we are now living day-to-day at that speed. Had you asked me whether that was possible a couple of years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to give you an answer. Is it possible today for EA Sports to exist at internet speed? Yes, because we’re doing it today. We respond to consumers and speak to them at a real speed.

“Our organisation, led by John Riccitiello, is moving quickly and he has been driving the ‘increase your clock speed’ message for years now. But do I see some folks in other parts of the industry resting on their laurels and hoping that their gamers are going to line up indefinitely to buy $60 games on discs? Yeah, I see that.

“We’ve seen the answer before. We saw a music industry try and force people to continue to go to HMV and Virgin Megastore and buy 17 songs on a disc when they only wanted three, and we saw what the consumer did in response.

“In music, consumers took technology into their own hands and almost destroyed the music industry entirely. So that’s what happens. If the consumer wants to go in a direction and you try to force them not to, they will find technology that facilitates that direction.”

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