Here’s a quote it would be really easy to take out of context and get angry about:
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.
That’s from EA’s Frank Gibeau.
It’s a scary quote. An EA Executive is saying he’s proud to be moving games away from single player experiences. But it needs context to really matter.
This excerpt comes from an interview with Frank Gibeau, EA Labels President, for the CloudGamingUSA Expo in San Francisco next week. The piece, called Cloud Gaming Prospects for 2012, talks to executives from EA, Microsoft, and others about—you guessed it—cloud gaming.
That alone immediately sucks some wind out of the quote. Of course he’s going to talk up the social and mobile aspects of his company’s games for a cloud gaming expo. The second sentence is pretty revealing, too, about just what he means. “All of our games include online applications and digital services…” he says. Last year’s SSX, then, isn’t a single-player game, and neither is the upcoming Need for Speed Most Wanted; except, they are solo experiences for most players.
EA has been especially good, I think, at using asynchronous multiplayer to bring friends into games without having to get everyone online at the same time (let alone into the same room). Autolog and things like it bring multiplayer into games where multiplayer might not work or might otherwise have difficult technical issues to overcome. While players are using and enjoying the multiplayer aspects of these games, they’re not thinking of them as multiplayer. There are leaderboards and markers of where you stand in comparison to your friends, but not direct competition or live social interaction.
Right before the incendiary quote above, Gibeau also says:
For all the investments we’ve made in mobile and social, we never abandoned consoles. We are working closely with the console manufacturers and we are VERY excited about the Gen4 consoles that will be launched in the months and years ahead.
But of course, that’s not a scary quote. EA will continue to support consoles; no surprise there, so no one quotes it.