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A Different Track: Frank Gibeau Talks Strategy
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A Different Track: Frank Gibeau Talks Strategy

June 29, 2009 Article Start Previous Page 4 of 5 Next

You launched all those new IPs which you'll be able to build franchises from. I know you have Dante's Inferno coming out, Dragon Age. About how many new IPs can we expect per year?

FG: It's hard to forecast, but I think we're probably looking at two to three new IPs a year. We're looking at a three-year SKU plan right now. Between EAP and our internal studios, both of which are in our group, I can safely say it's at least two to three new IPs.

The degree in level of sequels is going to go up because now you're getting Mass Effect 2, now you're getting Army of Two: 40th Day, you're getting [Battlefield] Bad Company 2.

You know, if Dante's Inferno is successful. Dead Space, we're going to have a sequel to that game. So, there's going to be a larger percentage of sequels and blockbusters tied into that mixed, but two to three new IPs is what I feel good about.

With the Nintendo Wii, Nintendo's constantly saying third parties are successful. Yet, obviously, there are some titles that struggle even though they're good games, so I don't necessarily think it's a quality issue with core-focused games. What isn't clicking, do you think?

FG: I think part of the problem with some of the games is they've been approached as ports, and didn't really have the right design from the control route approach...

But that's changed quite a bit, though, at least with EA. And there are other companies.

FG: Well, there has been some M-rated high-quality games released recently on Wii that we've taken note of, and that's why I think Dead Space: Extraction is a gamble. It's a calculated risk. Can a high-quality experience like that that appeals to a more mature audience work on the Wii platform?

EA/Visceral Games' Dead Space: Extraction

We spent a lot of research, time, and understanding that the customer dynamics of who's actually playing on the Wii, do they own multiple platforms, are there really gamers on the Wii, or is it mainly families and youth? But we think we've found a market on the Wii that would be interested in the Dead Space: Extraction experiment. We're going to take a gamble and build that market.

You know, until you try, you don't really know if the hypothesis is correct or not. When you look at things like [EA Sports] Active, how the sports brand is doing, [or] Sims, in our lineup, we've got Spore, Need for Speed, Dead Space: Extraction, and the Beatles all shipping before Christmas, and they're all unique designs for the Wii.

They might have been in a universe or in an IP that's been someplace else, but we designed them very uniquely for the Wii. So, we actually think we can grow our share there.

And I think a lot of it had to do with, how do you speak to those customers and how do you identify them? The market is so gigantic now. It's the leading platform in terms of install base. There's fish there to fish for, but you have to communicate them differently than you do on the consoles, the PS3 and the 360.

I do think, though, that it is a difficult ecosystem when only Nintendo products can succeed. Eventually, those types of platforms lose legs, because you need innovation coming from publishers and developers outside of Nintendo to really keep them fresh. I mean, look at 360 as an example, they've really nailed it.

And I think Nintendo knows that, and that's why they've been very supportive with our company and others in trying to bring more titles. They've been very good with partnering with us, sharing information and giving us a view of the markets.

I think it would be great to answer your question in January after we've seen what happens this holiday with our sports brand, our Play label, and other stuff.

Article Start Previous Page 4 of 5 Next

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