Consoles Are EA’s Biggest Risk, Says Former Exec

Former Disney, Activision and EA exec Mitch Lasky believes EA’s focus on consoles is its greatest impediment for growth.

On his personal blog, Lasky called consoles, “the wild card for the future of EA, the platform with the most risk.” He believes that console popularity peaked in the mid-2000s, and that console manufacturers are fighting a losing battle to mobile and tablet games. He wrote:

“I think you could easily take the position that there will never be a return to the installed base level that Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft saw with their c. 2005 consoles. They’ve essentially lost the living room.”

Lasky warned of the dangers of sticking with the console model. He wrote:

“EA has a dilemma. By yoking their business to the new consoles, they hamstring the company with bloated teams, high production costs, and packaged goods marketing and merchandising that is not, in my opinion, additive to their other business opportunities. Console investment doesn’t position EA well for the future.

Do you agree with Lasky?


via GI International

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5 Comments on Consoles Are EA’s Biggest Risk, Says Former Exec

Foehunter82

On March 27, 2013 at 12:36 pm

Well, I’m no expert in console game development. However, I DO think that Lasky’s right about consoles already having their peak a few years ago. Technology will have to change rather drastically in order for consoles to be able to compete in the future. In fact, I believe that if a console were built that could compete with the capabilities of a modern gaming PC, gamers would likely have to pay a higher price for said console, and consoles would no longer be seen as the cheaper alternative to PCs they once were.

Additionally, console developers like Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo cannot afford to have day one issues with their consoles. Remember the RRoD issues and whatnot (Microsoft example, clearly). Having issues like this with the release of a new generation of consoles will probably kill the console industry.

Many gamers tend to be on the move, so yes, mobile and tablet gaming is going to be more popular over the long term. As long as we live in a connected global society, gamers are going to want games they can take with them when they go. On the other hand, however, I feel that the microtransaction thing needs to be toned down for PCs, tablets, and mobile devices. If game developers keep embracing the nickle-and-dime business model for every single one of their releases, these developers are not going to be able to succeed at some point, no matter how good their game is. Hardcore gamers tend to not want to have to pay more than they have for a game, and casual gamers may pay a bit more over a longer period, but it’s only a matter of time before the casual gaming crowd moves on.

Hamburglar

On March 27, 2013 at 12:43 pm

EA’s biggest risk is continuing to treat its developers and customers like excrement.

CJ Miozzi

On March 27, 2013 at 1:16 pm

@Hamburglar:

Comment of the week, right there.

Dach

On March 27, 2013 at 1:32 pm

What I find ridiculous is that everyone who points to tablets and mobile games being the future fails to understand that those gaming devices offer a very different experience.

Console and PC games are meant to be consumed at leisure over longer stretches of time and allow the player to relax and immerse themselves more deeply into the experience. Tablet and mobile games are meant to be played in short bursts and consumed in a few spare minutes. Mobile games do not tend to have long winded speeches, overarching plots and deep character growth [and the ones that do tend not to sell well], they rarely even have a cutscene in them.

The whole argument is akin to watching someone say gourmet dining and expensive restaurants will cease to exist because McDonald’s is so popular. Each offers to fill a different need for the consumer and both can exist without the other being wiped from the face of the earth.

Consoles are still viable and will be as long as the developers set their goals to something more achievable, ie something less than 15 million units sold.

Just as mobile games are still viable as long as they set their goals to something other than the 400+ hours of content more akin to Skyrim.

EA seems to want everyone of it’s games to sell tens of millions [which isn't realistic] and is cramming in everything that seems popular to homogenize their products to the point that everyone will hopefully consume them [which isn't working].

We as gamers seem to want clearly defined winners and losers at every turn [I'd actually extend that to the world at large] but the truth of the matter is many of the things people claimed would be dead and gone are still thriving, having adapted to the market as best they could.

Michael

On March 27, 2013 at 10:25 pm

I laugh at this article. I will say this right now. The mobile and tablet market is a fad that will soon die out. These companies believe they can make more money in these platforms then a console then go ahead I dare them. The mobile fanbase purchase cheap games that cost under 5 bucks. I don’t see a company like EA going to a mobile device selling there games for 50 bucks. No one is going to buy it.

The problem with all these video game companies is that none of them know how to make games cost effective and still get the same results with a game costing about 100 million dollars. No one is telling them to spend millions of dollars on a game. Then they blame the media and the consumers when we tell them flat out there game sucks. They call us names like “ENTITLED” which is one of my favorites.