OK, this one is a headline grabber for multiple reasons. In an interview with Develop, EA Games Label president Frank Gibeau said that he thinks games without online components are "finished" because "online is where the innovation, and the action, is at." These are big, bold words from an important man at a big publisher that are sure to rub a lot of people the wrong way.
But let's rewind. Gibeau said this in the context of EA's big idea about how to turn stellar games into blockbusters--you know, million sellers. This isn't a statement about quality. Offline games can still be good games. This is more of a statement in regards to the new commercial reality. Good, creative titles need to sell big on the market and EA sees online as a component that can give a game a boost.
"Game makers, the really good ones, they want to make great games but they also want to make blockbusters. One of the things they need to do is balance that out--I have the right team to help them," he told Develop.
“I volunteer you to speak to EA’s studio heads, they’ll tell you the same thing,” he continued. “They’re very comfortable moving the discussion towards how we make connected gameplay--be it cooperative or multiplayer or online services--as opposed to fire-and-forget, packaged goods only, single-player, 25-hours-and you’re out. I think that model is finished."
== TEASER ==Getting to the heart of what Gibeau is saying, publishers, and developers for that matter, want you, the gamer, to marry your game. They also want to make you feel like its necessary to buy it new for 60 bucks. Wrong or right, EA obviously believes online is key to making this happen.
But is EA forcing studios to throw in online components? No, but it seems like a big part of Gibeau's job is to make sure studios know what might happen on the business end if a studio doesn't include one.
"Well you say ‘insist’, I say inspire," he said. "What I learned early on in my career was that, if you’re going to lead a creative team, you have to inspire people. They’re the ones living in the game."
"I always found it a big problem when a game’s executive producer would come up to me and ask what I should do next. I would always respond that’s not my job. You’re job is to come up with the creative vision, mine is to edit and tweak so it’s a bigger commercial opportunity. I’m very clear about that."