Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson, during a recent investor call, revealed a secret about the company's future plans. According to the CEO, the publisher will focus on developing "games as platforms" in the coming years.
A strategy for troubled times
According to information provided by gamesindustry.biz, Wilson, when asked about the impact of the ongoing economic recession on the future shape of the industry, was said to have suggested the need to redefine certain established concepts:
"What we are seeing is the evolution of the definition of a game."
CEO mentions further plans to develop well-known brands in the context of long-term profit.
"As we think about building [EA Sports] FC for the future, The Sims, Battlefield, Apex, Skate and other properties in our portfolio, we really think about that in the context of building games as a platform or content as a platform to drive these long-term businesses across [our pillars of] play, watch, create, connect."
The new strategy is to be characterized, among other things, by the extended time that development teams will have during the development process. This change is expected to allow for not only improved quality of finished products, but also creation of experiences that the players will enjoy for a long time.
"It's really not just about the complexity of games. It's really about the changing nature of what it is that we're building, but more importantly, the changing nature of how we derive value from that development over the long term."
"So where we once built games in one year or two years and then monetize them over five weeks or five months, now games as a platform are taking longer, but the benefits are exponentially greater."
What about single-player titles
Andrew Wilson's proposed direction for Electronic Arts may raise concerns among those who prefer linear, closed experiences.
Addressing the speculation, CEO assures that projects of this type will not be abandoned altogether, and that some funds and resources will be directed toward the development of such games as the recent Star Wars Jedi: Survivor.
"[EA will - ed.] continue with a more focused investment based on telling powerful, interactive stories [...]."
What does the future hold?
Electronic Arts' development plans outlined by Wilson are a reflection of a certain broader trend seen in the game industry. Publishers and corporations are increasingly investing in the development of titles that represent a service or platform designed to hold the attention of a multitude of players for a long period of time.
In all likelihood, the next months and years will verify the position of EA and other companies, and will prove to herald some broader changes in the digital entertainment medium.