EA Wants to “Make Games a Broader Idea with Online Services”

Online is a big part of gaming these days.

A few years ago, Atari said Alone in the Dark would be their last offline-only game. Nobody cared, because it’s Atari. Now that EA’s Frank Gibeau is saying something similar, however, folks perk up. EA owns Mass Effect, Dragon Age and Dante’s Inferno, and they’re publishing Alice: Madness returns, all of which are solo games. Let’s examine Gibeau’s comments, from an interview with Develop, to see if we can figure out what he’s talking about here.

The most eye-catching portion of the interview is right in the middle. Here’s a taste:

They’re very comfortable moving the discussion towards how we make connected gameplay – be it co-operative or multiplayer or online services – as opposed to fire-and-forget, packaged goods only, single-player, 25-hours-and you’re out. I think that model is finished.

Online is where the innovation, and the action, is at.

On the surface, that’s a bit disturbing considering the very popular single-player properties EA is responsible for, but there’s an important term in there we must pay attention to: “online services.” Elsewhere in the interview, Gibeau says multiplayer is just one type of “connected gameplay.” Online services probably refers to significant DLC, which is a good thing. What Gibeau is getting at, here, is that for all the games EA makes, they will be doing something or other to encourage you to keep your games rather than sell them. Mass Effect 2 is probably a good example here. It came out in January and its most recent DLC hit in September, and there probably is more still on the horizon.

I’d highly encourage folks to read the rest of Develop’s interview with Gibeau. It’s quite enlightening in regards to EA’s long-term strategy.

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