EA’s Label President Frank Gibeau let everyone in on how he’s been handling games in a document from the Cloud Gaming USA Conference & Exhibition, and the news is interesting to say the least. In the document he said, “We are very proud of the way EA evolved with consumers. I have not green lit one game to be developed as a single player experience. Today, all of our games include online applications and digital services that make them live 24/7/365.”
Whether this means there will be no single player in games at all or just no single player focused games remains to be seen, but the upheaval from fans is already staggering. EA has several reasons to back this up, including their reported piracy rates and the obvious popularity of multiplayer driven games such as Halo and Call of Duty. They seem to have forgotten that some of the best sellers of recent years have still been single player despite this, with Skyrim being the most notable of them. It seems like they’ve shot themselves in the metaphorical foot with this announcement, as many consumers still crave a good experience to play on their own.
The statement also dealt with EA’s plans for growth. “One of our biggest growth opportunities is Play4Free titles that allow customers to play at no cost and make purchases via microtransactions. We see this as a huge opportunity, and one that’s powered by our hybrid cloud model.” This poses interesting possibilities for the company, especially if they’re putting all they’re focus into multiplayer games. One big concern, however, is that free to play doesn’t always mean free to win; meaning that some microtransactions give the buyer access to features that outclass anything another player could get for free. And with EA’s current money grubbing with online passes and such, this seems probable.
So what do you think? Will the shift of focus make the quality of EA’s multiplayer games better? Or are they depriving themselves of great single player franchises? With the recent ending of their most popular single player franchises, this may be the best time to make an announcement like this, even if that announcement isn’t exactly music to gamers’ ears. So how does this announcement affect you? Will you be looking forward to EA’s new multiplayer titles, or have they buried the final nail in their fandom’s coffin?