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LOS ANGELES — Third-party game publishers are typically shy about favoring one game console maker over another.
But Electronic Arts’ Frank Gibeau, the president of EA’s worldwide labels, said at an investor breakfast what may be obvious about the dueling at the Electronic Entertainment Expo press briefings that Sony and Microsoft staged to introduce their PlayStation 4 and Xbox one video game consoles.
“Sony is having a great show. They have done a good job on services, price points” and policies for consumers. “We like the reception to all of the news from console makers. Sony is striking the rirght balance. Microsoft is showing killer capababilities that we have known about for a while. People have stopped talking about whether Generation 4 will be a growth driver.”
Sony drew more applause at its event for pricing its machine at $399, or $100 lower than Microsoft’s Xbox One. Sony also was praised as more consumer friendly in deciding not to charge for used games and putting few restrictions on consumers, in comparison to Microsoft.
Now, he said, they are talking about the growth that will happen this fall. He acknowledged that EA gave Microsoft a big exclusive with the announcement that Respawn Entertainment (founded by Call of Duty pioneer Vince Zampella) will launch its title Titanfall exclusively on the Xbox One. But that is considered a “tactical exclusive,” or a limited endorsement for one console.
While Gibeau praised Sony, this doesn’t mean, however, that EA is going to favor Sony over Microsoft when publishing games exclusively. EA’s strategy is to be a cross-platform company so that it can reach the biggest audience for its games and spread out the costs of its development and marketing.
“Over the lifetime, we are not tilting one way or another on these platforms,” Gibeau said.
Last time around, Gibeau said the consoles were very different.
“Now the architectures are more alike than different,” he said. “We are able to get more efficiencies” about the commonality between the upcoming consoles.
As for the hot consumer rights topic of used games, Gibeau said EA is still evaluating the announcements about used games. He said that EA’s position would be consumer-friendly and a promote a positive experience with consumers.
“We make the ammunition in the hardware wars,” Gibeau said.
One investor asked why EA had not launched a free-to-play version of FIFA Soccer.
Gibeau replied, “I think you’ll be very pleased this fall.”
He said afterward that EA will adapt FIFA for touchscreens and also launch its Korean online version of FIFA in more territories like Russia and Brazil.