Frank Gibeau on next-gen transitions and mobile gaming

EA Games Label president says that Frostbite engine makes for "efficient and low-risk development"; EA brand power gives them "an unfair advantage in a world of proliferating titles."

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EA Games Label president Frank Gibeau has said that the Frostbite engine created by Battlefield 4 developer DICE had been the company's core difference in the transition to the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

Battlefield 4 will be using the latest Frostbite engine.
Battlefield 4 will be using the latest Frostbite engine.

Speaking in an interview with GamesBeat, Gibeau said, "When you have a proven technology base with tools that work and you're able to move teams around, because they're all trained on the same engine, it makes for efficient and low-risk development. That was a critical decision, to invest in [the Frostbite engine] early on and put the resources in. It causes stress in other parts of the business because a lot of our top guys were working on next-generation behind the scenes. But that was a big breakthrough for us, for sure."

Gibeau added that EA is also experiencing an "unfair advantage" in the mobile market thanks to its big-name brands. "In the case of The Simpsons and The Sims, we're seeing some of the highest results we've ever seen in the revenue on those projects, and they've each been in the market well over a year. The fact that we can stitch [titles like FIFA, Madden, The Sims, and Plants vs. Zombies] together inside a network gives us an unfair advantage in a world of proliferating titles."

He added that a combination of being "platform agnostic" and getting independent developers on board is the way to go for the mobile gaming business to thrive. "On mobile devices, that's never been more true than now. We're seeing console game levels of return, financially, on these projects. We're seeing audiences that are vastly bigger. Our creative teams are intrigued by designing games for mobile devices. The touch screen, the technology--the technology on the next wave of tablets is going to be near-console-level in terms of graphics performance. You have to design for a touch screen. You have to design for short sessions. You have to design with the mindset that it's going to be mobile."

"[In terms of indie developers, they] are driving a lot of the innovation in the mobile channel. And I don't think you can overstate how big that is. Mobile and tablets have lowered the barrier to entry for a lot of the most creative people in the industry. As a result, it's a really great time to be an indie. You'd have to go back to the early days of gaming to find a time when there was this much accessibility and creativity pouring into our art."

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