EA studio president Frank Gibeau has been talking about the publisher's efforts to push every new release online at the Cloud Gaming USA conference covered by Supperannuation . Mandatory multiplayer modes, online profiles and cross-platform projects have been an important part of that push.
"We are very proud of the way EA evolved with consumers. I have not green lit one game to be developed as a singleplayer experience, said Gibeau. "Today, all of our games include online applications and digital services that make them live 24/7/365."
Even Mass Effect 3 got an extra multiplayer mode this year. That one was unexpectedly pretty good, but bolting on an online component can be a problem if done poorly. Spec Ops: The Line lead designer Cory Davis described that game's multiplayer mode as a " cancerous growth " that “sheds a negative light on all of the meaningful things we did in the singleplayer experience.” He described a dogged determination the part of Spec Ops publisher, 2K Games, to make the multiplayer mode happen.
EA, though, are becoming very comfortable online. "One of our biggest growth opportunities is Play4Free titles that allow customers to play at no cost and make purchases via microtransactions," Gibeau said. "We see this as a huge opportunity, and one that's powered by our hybrid cloud model."
We can look forward to more of the same in future. Gibeau highlights Fifa as a key example of the sort of multi-platform, interconnected, online experience that EA will be driving towards. "No other franchise is a better example of cross-platform connectivity than FIFA and those real time connections are happening in the cloud."
"We're deploying similar experiences in our other popular brands over the next year including Madden, Battlefield and SimCity and you'll continue to see more and more of this from EA."
EA's strategy seems to be working well for them, but it's hard not to regard that level of inflexibility as a weakness. Based on these comments, Gibeau's EA wouldn't have green lit Skyrim, for example. What do you think?