EA Sports: gamer ‘interest’ in single-plat declining

Friday, 15 June 2012 15:18 GMT By Stace Harman

VG247 catches EA Sports boss Andrew Wilson on camera to discuss UFC, yearly updates, Kinect and the varied palette of today’s gamer.

“More and more, what gamers are telling us is that games that exist on just one platform really aren’t that interesting. They really want something that they can engage with all day long where they’re not wasting time, and everything that they do creates value.”

Talking to VG247 at E3 2012, EA Sports head and ju-jitsu enthusiast Andrew Wilson has indicated that gamers in general are shifting away from single-platform products.

“More and more, what gamers are telling us is that games that exist on just one platform really aren’t that interesting. They really want something that they can engage with all day long where they’re not wasting time, and everything that they do creates value,” he said.

“Right now, I think that’s what we’re doing with football, American football, hockey, basketball, college football, golf, UFC; I think we’ve got a lot of bases covered.”

EA’s slate at E3 was multi-format to the bone, with one announcement obviously crowning EA Sports’ offering: the recently-signed deal to produce UFC titles.

“We had a [mixed martial arts] game that has an engine that’s very strong, and Fight Night Champion which is probably the best striking in any video game on the market,” he said.

“You take that and blend that with all of the UFC brands and we’ll be able to do some cool things; but we haven’t started full-scale planning yet because we just got the deal done.”

Another example of EA Sports branching out across all platforms is the implementation of Kinect into key brands like Madden and FIFA, both of which will see use of the Microsoft peripheral in this year’s updates. Wilson believes this is just a natural extension of behaviour already exhibited when playing these titles.

“We spend a lot of time screaming at the television,” he revealed. “I scream at the referee calls, I scream at the offside traps, I scream when my players don’t make runs.

“The very nature of making that screaming mean something in the game felt very natural, and when you play the game it feels very natural.”

Asked whether the inclusion of Kinect is simply to differentiate this year’s releases from last years and whether the publisher would – or indeed could afford to – take a year off from its key brands, Wilson replied, “It’s less about affordability and more about what’s best for gamers.”

He added: “Right now, so long as we can innovate every year to change the way you play… and as long as we can continue to do a tremendous job of connecting you with other gamers and the team and the sports you love, I think that [a release] every year makes complete sense.

“I soon as we think that’s not possible then we’d look to do something different.”

However, Wilson also suggested that it’s not just about sports.

“Gamers have so much more choice now than they’ve ever had. When I came up as a gamer, you only played sports games: if you were a sports guy, you played sports games. Well, guess what? There’s no such thing as a sports gamer any more.

“The next big game that a lot of our FIFA gamers play is Battlefield 3 or Need for Speed, so the competition for us to deliver great experiences is bigger than it’s ever been and we take it more seriously than we ever have.”

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