EA love to talk business more than most other publishers, as Industry Gamers proved when recently talking to the company’s LA exec Neil Young (no, not that Neil Young).
After explaining that other publishers are doing a “much, much worse job” of handling the market, Young said: “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.”
As for rival Activision? “I think it will be challenging for them,” Young said. “I don’t think this [digital trend] is going to disappear overnight… I think there’s something much more fundamental going on at the heart of the industry. 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. There’s a good example of how ‘free’ can disrupt businesses.”
This discussion is one that could (and does) go on for an age. Personally, I think by 2015 Kinect will have taken over and we’ll all be playing Call of Duty vs. Halo vs. Capcom.
That’s what I think, anyway.