Video games need more mass market appeal, says EA COO

Thursday, 11 April 2013 21:37 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Electronic Arts CCO Richard Hilleman believes video games aren’t mass market yet, with the closest medium to reach the sector being the social and mobile space.

Speaking with GI International, Hilleman said from his perspective “television is the mass market and we’re the fringe”

“We have to make sure that game companies know what a mass market really is. We’re not one yet,” Hilleman said. “The closest thing we’ve had to a mass market, frankly, has been the social and mobile spaces. From my perspective, television is the mass market and we’re the fringe.

“The challenge in front of us is, does the customer think about it that way? Do they see us as so distinct we can’t merge those two experiences?”

Hilleman said the games industry needs to learn how to appeal to larger audiences, as it has a tendency to segment the core, mobile, and social spaces into groups ” that are too small to be relevant.” This can cause the medium to lose mass market appeal.

He also believes that is one of the benefits of connected TVs, especially for EA, as the television set is what people turn on when they shit off their mobiles and tablets.

It’s a gateway to millions of potential new customers, he feels, and there’s no sense waiting around on Apple TV to “jolt” the market. Such a move by Apple has also produced rumblins in the console sector that such a device could spell the end of traditional consoles – something Hilleman doesn’t agree with.

“Console players buy what they buy, based on the expectations of having a crème de la crème experience,” he said. “The truth is that, for all that Apple has done, an iPad today is between one-tenth and one-twentieth of the performance potential of the current shipping generation of consoles. And that’s just always going to matter.

“When Apple got into the music business it caught that industry at its absolute lowest ebb, and did very well with their deal-making as a result. Television and movies are not in the same place: they are not as desperate, they don’t have the same short-term needs, so Apple will be less able to dictate the terms as they did before. The other thing is that Samsung, the leading provider of LCD panels in the world, has a billion reasons not to help.

“Apple is going to do what it wants to do, and if they make a great product we’ll be happy to support it… If they do anything at all. I actually believe that nobody knows if Apple TV will happen, including Tim Cook. There are deals that need to be made to make that possible that haven’t been made yet.”