LGF 08: EA UK chief: Embrace online or die

Electronic Arts' UK chief urges the industry not to underestimate the importance of online; backs PEGI classification.

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The popularity of online play has grown rapidly in recent years, and Electronic Arts says it will be even more crucial to its business in the coming years. In his opening address at the London Games Festival's Games 3.0 conference, EA UK vice president Keith Ramsdale said, "Online is a massive and significant opportunity for this industry."

"Within the next five years, companies who don't reevaluate their business models to deal with the growth of online gaming will, quite simply, miss out," he continued. "If you look back 30 years, the big US TV networks--ABC, CBS, and NBC--had 90 percent of the TV market. They were so dominant they resisted change. Today these three same networks account for less than half. The reason being? They viewed the rise of cable as irrelevant."

Ramsdale went on to highlight some of EA's current online offerings. FIFA Online, which is available exclusively in Korea and Japan, now has 5.6 million unique users. EA's five million microtransactions in the game have racked up $8 million (£5 million) in revenue, according to Ramsdale. In addition to doing so for Warhammer Online, the company's first massively multiplayer online role-playing game, the publisher has incorporated subscription-based payments into its more traditional sports games. FIFA 09's Adidas Live Season provides weekly updates to player stats in six domestic leagues, and while the first league is free, extra leagues cost more.

Ramsdale also expressed his opinions on the ongoing UK game classification debate. He put his weight firmly behind Pan-European Games Information (PEGI), saying, "We believe self-regulation is the only possible way to classify interactive entertainment today and particularly in the future. PEGI is the only feasible option." And while it still remains to be seen what impact the credit crunch will have on the industry, Ramsdale believes that the industry can weather the economic downturn. "The fundamentals of our industry remain very strong." The trend to look for value forms of entertainment during financially tough times means that games offer a "compelling value proposition," he said.

For more on Warhammer Online and FIFA 09, read GameSpot's recent reviews. We'll have more coverage on the London Games Festival over the coming week.

Discussion

22 comments
goppizzi
goppizzi

I buy games to play multiplayer modes. nowaday are few companies developing nice multiplayer games, cod4 has the best options for this and the worst was the people who made the socooooommmmm. holly s... so it's time to think in good multiplayers games for us, the gamers that we buy games legally... u know. keep working pls there's still lot of work ahead .

Hedfix
Hedfix

SORT YOUR SERVERS OUT OR USE THE MICROSOFT ONES YOU CHEAP... etc

Jimethn
Jimethn

"The fundamentals of our industry remain very strong." Sound familiar? Ahahahahahha

CoupeD
CoupeD

Oh btw PC games almost have to be online because there is too much piracy going on.

CoupeD
CoupeD

Well move out the the sticks. I'm rocking a 5 megabyte Fios line. Time for you to move on.

CanesThing26
CanesThing26

the problem with this is most people in the us can't even get DSL because of companies like Verizon. when they passed the broadband act back in the early 2000's. which prevents township and municipalities from have localized high speed internet connection for people within the townships/municipalities. Verizon does a good job of this in my township about 5k people live here but verizon only offers in a certain area to get there dsl. there coverage is about a circle in a area thats it. had a town meeting about getting higher/faster net connections when the mayor or whoever before tried to contact verizon but they didn't answer or bother to send a rep.but a power company did. online gaming isn't going to get any better until the US get faster net speeds. and until that happens only certain people can play online. personally i like single player never really played online before. and knowing EA is they do this and there single player experience will get worse in games like fifa

Yathoom
Yathoom

I buy games for their single player story and gameplay, but ever since i tried Call of duty 4 i've been addicted to online multiplayer. Also GTA 4 online gaming is very joyful, soccer Fifa I love it !!! I mean he is right about that experience we get from online gaming. I feel for those who have problems with the servers thought, and even if u have a good broadband connections, sometimes the servers let u down. That's why i don't buy games for their online experience only, a Story and a game-play must come first.

jayme22
jayme22

lol and this is coming from an EA rep and he is Talking about online play, If multiplayer is so important to them and the fact they have gained another 5million pounds, you would have thought that they would have upgraded there crap servers by now. Allthough im aware not everyone has problems with them.

star77241
star77241

Even if a game is entirely single player, it should have leaderboards or something similar.

i_like_laX
i_like_laX

Agreed, bring back KOTOR HALO I AND WHATEVER ELSE

NikBZero
NikBZero

Hillsy I completely agree with you

Hillsy_
Hillsy_

I agree below. I buy for the single player experience not for the multiplayer. Are EA trying to tell people what they can or cannot do?? I also agree that multiplayer can give hours of enjoyment, but not everyone likes multiplayer games. I'll take a richly detailed story over somewhat 'mindless' multiplayer gaming.

metalkid9
metalkid9

i only buy games for their single player mode. never bought a game for the multiplayer

mos182
mos182

FIFA Online? What?

matukisspear
matukisspear

no worries WAR is to awesome for financial problems

jwestie94
jwestie94

i hope everything does not go online because the internet in my area is very poor. i still think that the single player modes should still come first.

ColdfireTrilogy
ColdfireTrilogy

Meh this has been happening for a long time. What developers havent noticed is PC gaming is almost ENTIRELY online .... its about 70-30 at this point percent wise ... you just dont see many SP games out that often because most PC gamers dont see the 50$ as a good long term investment whereas you can buy a game like say ... battlefield 2 and log hundreds upon hundreds of hours into it for that same 50$.

LordNero
LordNero

since games have gone online i have noticed a decline in the offline content (especially outside of the "story" or "campaign")

RPGfred
RPGfred

there's a reason for that - they're unplayable. case closed, kfnxbi.

MrT__
MrT__

Online may be where the money is, but very few people are willing to dedicate their time (and money) to more than one persistent online game at a time, since these games already have the art of time sinks (aka grinding) and money sinks fine tuned.

EnglishThomas
EnglishThomas

this sucks not everyone can play online dont make online only ps3 game sor xbox 360 games