EA: "It's totally conceivable that PC will become our biggest platform"

Battlefield Heroes

Frank Gibeau, president of EA games has been speaking about the rise of the PC, and EA's determination to stick with the PC market. Gibeau cites the rise of digital distribution, the success of free-to-play games and the PC's massive user base as important reasons for EA to focus more on PC gaming, saying "it's totally conceivable it will become our biggest platform.

Gibeau was speaking in an interview with Gamasutra about EA's future focus, saying "we're moving from a fire-and-forget packaged goods model to an online services model,” adding that "PC retail may be a big problem, but PC downloads are awesome. … The margins are much better and we don't have any rules in terms of first party approvals."

EA seem keen to expand their PC presence with digital downloads and free-to-play games with microtransaction models. Industry Gamers have notes from a recent management meeting in which EA say that digital revenues account for 40% of the games market worldwide.

In January, EA CEO John Riccitello told Industry Gamers that "at the end of [2011], the digital business is bigger than the packaged goods business, full stop," saying "we'll find ways to even sell our packaged goods content in chunks and in pieces and subscriptions and micro-transactions."

Frank Gibeau echoes Riccitello's comments, saying "I think that free to play model is coming to the west in a big way." It's a trend that has proved successful for EA's free-to-play shooter, Battlefield Heroes, which recently hit seven million users.

"The user base is gigantic," says Gibeau, "from our perspective, it's an extremely healthy platform. … It's totally conceivable it will become our biggest platform."

EA have just released Dragon Age 2 , and Battlefield 3, Battlefield Play4Free and Star Wars: The Old Republic are currently in the works.

Tom Senior

Part of the UK team, Tom was with PC Gamer at the very beginning of the website's launch—first as a news writer, and then as online editor until his departure in 2020. His specialties are strategy games, action RPGs, hack ‘n slash games, digital card games… basically anything that he can fit on a hard drive. His final boss form is Deckard Cain.