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EA: PC "Extremely Healthy" and Could Become "Our Biggest Platform"

An article on GameSpy by Chris Morris looks at the landscape of virtual goods sales within games, analyzing sales figures on various platforms and projecting what this means for the future. One of the sources cited is Frank Gibeau, president of EA Labels, who talks of how he sees the trend of free-to-play PC games continuing to grow. "If you look at the way people play in Asia, PC is the model," said Gibeau. "I think that the free-to-play model is coming to the West in a big way." So big, in fact, that he also made the following statement:

"PC retail may be a big problem, but PC downloads are awesome," said Gibeau. "The margins are much better and we don't have any rules in terms of first-party approvals. From our perspective, it's an extremely healthy platform. ... It's totally conceivable that it will become our biggest platform."

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37. Re: EA: PC Aug 14, 2011, 10:21 WaltC
killer_roach wrote on Aug 13, 2011, 15:30:
Nothing about the next console generation changes what he's said. The problem is how much interest consumers have in PC gaming once the next generation of consoles comes out.

With ever more powerful PCs coming down the pike at ever-lower prices, I don't think it's a question of "consumer interest" in PCs, I think the real question is: How long do consoles have?

PCs enjoy economies of scale that console manufacturers can only dream of (PCs are selling > 300 million units a year.) I don't think it will be long at all before you can buy desktop PCs in the $300-$400 price range that have multiples of a given console's processing power, 3d rendering power, storage space and many other things that consoles don't offer at all. That's console country at the moment in terms of pricing, but when fairly powerful desktop PCs arrive in that pricing space the only thing that Microsoft or Sony will be able to do is either to slash the price of their consoles down into the $100-$200 range, start selling Microsoft & Sony branded PCs that are called "consoles" for the sake of tradition, or just give up the ship and walk away from the console business.

I think that people forget that consoles were originally introduced as a concept back when a "gaming PC" might cost as much as $5,000. Against that sort of backdrop, a $300 console was the perfect compromise product that would allow people to game while not costing them an arm and a leg in the process. The economic rules that originally made consoles attractive to people simply don't apply anymore, however. So, I think it will be interesting in the upcoming years to see just how long the console as a concept will be able to hang on in the face of the inevitable $300 UberPC...;)

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