Former EA executive and ngmoco founder Neil Young has said that EA is best handling the growing importance of non-traditional publishing, while Activision are poised to topple.
"I think of all of the companies, Electronic Arts is doing the best job of managing the transition and I think other incumbents like Take Two/Rockstar, or Activision, or THQ, are doing a much, much worse job," Young told Industry Gamers.
"I really only see Electronic Arts really understanding and getting that digital distribution and free-to-play and virtual goods-driven models are the direction that things are headed.
"For all the shit that EA gets, I think they’re by far in the best position to come out of this transition in good shape," he said.
Activision? Not so much.
"I think it will be challenging for them. ... Customer expectation is changing. What you can get for free right now is just so radically different than what you could get for free a year ago, which was so radically different than the year before.
"It’s conceivable to me that somebody could build a competitive product to a Call of Duty and give it away for free. That would just so completely undermine Activision’s business model that the industry would change," he explained.
Young outlined a few instances of EA's activities towards embracing digital and new forms of publishing.
"If you think about Electronic Arts, EA's been doing FIFA with Neowiz in Korea for four years now. It had Battlefield West and Battlefield East for two years. It’s been building MMOs, it’s built online products, it acquired Jamdat in 2003/2004, so it’s been playing in the mobile space for a long time. It bought Playfish two years ago. It’s been amassing this institutional knowledge that I think is going to give it an advantage.
"For Activision to think, 'We’ll sit on the sidelines until it’s essential, and then we’ll use our cash and stock to go buy a really meaningful player that has all this institutional knowledge' - who will they buy that will suddenly change things for them?"
Young's iOS and Android publisher ngmoco - or next generation mobile company - has achieved more than seven million installs since being founded in 2008, with titles such as Eliminate, God Finger and Touch Pets.