EA CEO on $60 Games, VR, and the Company’s Digital Business

“It doesn't matter how much money you spend, as long as you feel like you got value.”

Electronic Arts Chief Executive Officer Andrew Wilson doesn't think that the glut of free-to-play content on mobile devices and other platforms make it harder to justify $60 console games.

“It doesn't matter how much money you spend, as long as you feel like you got value,” Wilson told The New York Times in an interview. “People spend $300,000 on a Ferrari and feel good about it.” Wilson explained EA is just as focused on investment of time as investment in money. “Engagement is the world’s new profit metric,” he said.

Wilson also said that the company’s focus on its digital business is finally starting to pay off. 45 percent of EA’s revenue was digital last year (including PC, consoles, and mobile), and it’s expecting that number to rise to 50 percent or higher next year. Wilson credits this success to EA building a direct commercial relationship with players, and investing a lot in infrastructure, architecture, and security. “We took a good hard look at our business and said we have to manage costs better,” he said. “We want iteration, rapid prototyping, experimentation. But we don’t want random hobby projects around the company.”

Finally, reiterating statements he’s made previously, Wilson said he believes that VR will become more popular in the future. “We’re presently building our tools and technology and engines with a view to being able to render in that format,” he said.

Wilson recently admitted that the launch of last year's Battlefield 4 had "unacceptable" problems, and that EA was completely overhauling its QA system to make sure similar problems do not make it into future final products.

Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer. You can follow him on Twitter @emanuelmaiberg and Google+.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Discussion

105 comments
Stepn2myworld
Stepn2myworld

I agree with his statement that it doesn't matter how much you pay as long as you feel you got value. That is exactly the reason I don't pay $60 for new EA games! When I pay $20-$30, I feel like I got value. 

Some games EA games offer little value at $20, e.g., NBA Live 14. 

Evil_Sidekick
Evil_Sidekick

“It doesn't matter how much money you spend, as long as you feel like you got value"


In other words, "if we can, we will raise the prices".


“People spend $300,000 on a Ferrari and feel good about it"


Aaahhhhh....the stupid PR comparisons. Hey, dumbnuts, a Ferrari is a car, you know, that thing that you drive to go to places?!

Pupchu
Pupchu

"But we don’t want random hobby projects around the company.”

Why not? Perhaps one of these "random hobby projects" may be the next thing...

CyrenII
CyrenII

I bet the G-Man from Half-Life is Andrew Wilson's father lol

balkora
balkora

Sorry EA, you are greedy weaksauce. No more quality these days from you bunch.

mInDsHiFtEr
mInDsHiFtEr

If you feel like a game is worth $100 should you pay for it? Probably not. There are more essential things in life than a video game. For example, like food. Food is more valuable than any game, and it usually doesn't cost $60. Get your $h!t straight mr ceo sir.

gplayer5
gplayer5

But with EA you never really even get value. You get a partially finished game with a 4 hour campaign and servers that only last a few years. Not to mention the day-one DLC, microtransactions, and season passes. 


You want to justify value with your games? Take a good hard look at CD Projekt Red. They release awesome games like the witcher with LONG single player campaigns and no drm, dlc, or season passes.

Zloth2
Zloth2

" Wilson credits this success to EA building a direct commercial relationship with players..."

Errr, does he mean Origin??

randomkidlol
randomkidlol

“It doesn't matter how much money you spend, as long as you feel like you got value.”


Essentially, we're trying to jack up the prices of video games by 10 dollars a year to boost our bottom line.

Ereheru
Ereheru

A Ferrari can go over 200 mph and there are women who might sleep with my balding, overweight, middle-aged self because I drive it...playing a copy of Battlefield Hardline will keep me stationary and will probably keep women from sleeping with my balding, overweight, middle-aged self for playing it.


Not the best of comparisons...

spacecadet25
spacecadet25

He compares EA games to Ferrari's, ha!  Must be a comparison on pricing, not quality.

spacecadet25
spacecadet25

I think this is more about a justification for kids who are autistic, obsessive compulsive, or are just so young they have no conception of money or what a credit card is, and charged $300 dollars on one F2P game (since most F2P money comes from a very small proportion of F2P gamers).  But I guess it's o.k. to take so much money from one person on one game b/c they perceived value.

Same thing with casinos, right?  Just milk those gambling addicts of all they got, because they went into bankruptcy doing something that gave them value, right?

tomservo51
tomservo51

“It doesn't matter how much money you spend, as long as you feel like you got value. We rehash Madden every year and you fools keep paying $60 for it"

JustPlainLucas
JustPlainLucas

How can you find value in a 60 dollar game that has a 5 hour campaign and multiplayer servers that only last a year?

berserker66666
berserker66666

Why does all EA CEOs look like scumbag a-holes? First John Riccitiello and now this guy.

berserker66666
berserker66666

With EA games, you'll never feel like you got that value......unless.....you buy their "Premium Contents" and "Day One DLCs" and "Microtransactions".

Luunaa
Luunaa

This guy's a phallus. I'll pay full price for your games when they're not crappy, half-finished iterations with which your £50 only buys half the game, while the other half requires you to buy again later. EA is such a bad company that they won't even acknowledge when they're being crap. It takes a special kind of company to pretend that a regular occurrence was just a one-off. The only people that they lie to is themselves, because gamers know exactly what they are.

Baconelite
Baconelite

Can people please stop giving EA money?

RedWave247
RedWave247

Given my low income, I have a general rule regarding buying games: spend no more than around $20 for one. I've bent that rule a few rare times, like for Grand Theft Auto V, but have mostly stuck with it. Sure, it means I can't play brand new games, but I'm in no rush. Hell, I've still yet to play The Last of Us because it hasn't gone down enough in price for me to warrant buying it. I'm honestly not in a hurry to play it, either.

mladjacool
mladjacool

 Last EA game Ive got was NFSMW with an error code 193, never again I'll buy/ play another EA game.

predatorGS
predatorGS

Gamespot, home of the haters of almost every game publisher or game endings.

sonicblast19
sonicblast19

Honestly,the only company that really provides more than enough content for 60 dollars is Gearbox,Hell I bought Borderlands 2 on the vita for 40 and I really feel pleased with my purchase,I don't feel like I overspent,unlike Battlefield or even NFS,not to mention Fifa.

al_is_here
al_is_here

i even forgot that they don't even have to pay for licensing concerning online distribution...so yeah they look even worse than before.

al_is_here
al_is_here

“It doesn't matter how much money you spend, as long as you feel like you got value,” 

That is just idiotic...

tell me, why are there gameplays of video games? why do people pirate? why is there metacritic? the answer to all of those questions is simple..people want to determine the value of the given game...deciding to buy a ferarri is only a luxury for a select few people so why is mr. wilson trying to equate spending money on games to spending money on ferraris? that is the most impractical thing i have heard from someone...if you can manage to buy something  such as that and attempt to use it to relate to us commoners then im afraid you snort way too much cocaine and eat too much caviar.

...also the fact that these publishers want to charge full price retail value for online digital distribution is just insane considering that there are no manufacturing and distribution costs for the pc platform...so assholes like this get away with selling full priced games online and thinks no one will notice...don't get me wrong..other publishers like ubisoft and activision will do the same thing and they are are in the same boat and its the reason why i will never purchase any of their games.

Before anyone tries to discredit or pass me off as some kind of cheap critical douche..know that i have already purchased over 200 dollars worth of dota 2 items in a span of a few months so this has nothing to do with being a cheapskate rather i am just being critical of the lack of assessment involving value and quality of games through online distribution.

Pewbert
Pewbert

Loads of corporate babble about how a company want to make even more money.

Just look at his picture. Would you trust someone who looks like he has just murdered an old woman?!

galeta
galeta

an other reason not to buy ea games. thanks andrew, i'm not gonna feed your kind with my money.

niccodemarini
niccodemarini

By the way you guys should all give me money. I know what your thinking. WHY should I give this guy money. Well you really shouldn't. But we all know your lifes aren't really going anywhere so why not just give me your money? I mean your not doing anything with it. Except buying EA games that you whine about. So why not just give it to me instead? 

pongley
pongley

@mInDsHiFtEr Did you know The Sims 3 costs £320 (+$400)? With the base game and all of the expansions (much of which is cut content from the previous game), these guys are privileged arseholes.

Excalibus
Excalibus

@berserker66666 Wearing a suit and looking groomed does not automatically mean someone's a "scumbag a-hole". Envy is a deadly sin ;)

Zloth2
Zloth2

@berserker66666  That... just ain't so.  I never bought any of the DLC for ME2 or 3 and only one for ME1 and still had lots of fun.  I've got issues with EA but this isn't one of them.

spacecadet25
spacecadet25

@Baconelite  But they have so many awesome DLCs that allow me to actually earn up in Battlefield, how can I stop? :)


They seriously messed up the Battlefield multiplayer experience, since now earning up is ungodly.  They want you to buy those cheat packs.  Battlefield multiplayer hasn't been fun since Bad Company 2.

spacecadet25
spacecadet25

@RedWave247  OMG, you sound exactly like me, with a couple exceptions a year that is exactly what I do too, and I'm also waiting for Last of Us to go down in price as well, funny!  :)

I had a friend who thought he was smart b/c he was buying games he wanted to play brand new for $60 then after playing them right away would turn around and sell them to Gamestop for $40, so he was bragging about he only spends $20 per game.  But at any given time he only has like 1 or 2 games in his house, period.  You should have seen the face he made when I told him that I only pay $20 as well for games, but I also own a huge robust library of games that I can actually play, unlike his barren game cabinet  The difference is just in waiting, most games people should be able to wait for..

spacecadet25
spacecadet25

@predatorGS  Was I the only one that liked Mass Effect 3's original ending?  Oh yes, I probably am like the one guy on earth who did.  I agree, what's with all these haters? :)

Excalibus
Excalibus

@Pewbert He just looks like someone with more money to spend than you. That should not have anything to do with his credibility.

danusty
danusty

@galeta yeah! let's bring the 1% down, yeah! I'm going to go hug a tree now

spacecadet25
spacecadet25

@niccodemarini  Well don't listen to us non-Ferrari buying peons dude, maybe talk about games with your butler or maids or something.

drago589
drago589

@Excalibus @berserker66666 He is referring to the bad haircut and fake smile. "it doesn't matter how much you spend, as long as you feel like you got value." Then make a game worth $60 and not something that only clocks in a value of $40. At least have the servers working =/

niccodemarini
niccodemarini

@rcj22001 @niccodemarini My small novel was to enjoy your guy's despair and bring you out of the wood work to talk with me. Emotions can't be faked and to think I can cause a reaction in you from the distance  brings me joy. Nothing more and nothing less Indeed a very shallow view of a very shallow world I have. As damn I love games said.

niccodemarini
niccodemarini

@DamnILoveGames @niccodemarini honestly Im just messing with all of you guys I thought it would be funny. Ha ha ha ha sorry. I think in all honesty though games are getting more expensive to make. And from a buyers view I agree 60 bucks is a lot to spend on a game that your not satisfied with and could have been made better. When I think to myself about paying 60 bucks for a 360 game vs a ps4 game I feel like I am getting my value though considering im not being charged for all the extra work that go's into the ps4 version.