EA sees great opportunity in games that allow players to create their own content, CEO Andrew Wilson said at a Goldman Sachs conference on Tuesday, as reported by axios. Games like Minecraft and Roblox with extensive player creation tools have become huge hits with enduring popularity, and it sounds like EA wants to find more ways to let players create content in its own titles.
He highlighted a few EA franchises that he thinks already have notable creative aspects, such as: The Sims (which will soon be free to play), FIFAand Battlefieldand talked about how the upcoming live service Skate title offers many opportunities for player creation.
“Like the real world, where skateboarding leans toward fashion and music and cars and buildings and brands, we think franchise can do that too,” Wilson said. “So you’re going to see that we’re going to lean more towards really being involved and investing in creation.” The Skate team has already teased some of the tools they’re working on, such as in-game “CollaboZones” that can be built together and appear in other players’ worlds in real time.
Wilson expects that over time “new worlds will be created that will be right next to the worlds we create, and people will move frictionlessly between those two things,” he said. This sounds somewhat similar to what you can see in Fortnite Today – Expansive player-created worlds are served right alongside Epic’s own modes in the game’s discovery tools.
Wilson noted that there is an important business opportunity to encourage players to create content. The correlation of “minutes involved” (aka how long someone has been playing a game) and money spent is close to one to one, he said, so whether players or EA are creating the content there is “an extraordinary opportunity for [EA].”
As EA plans to invest in game-making tools, Wilson discussed how the company doesn’t plan to invest in gaming-adjacent entertainment options like film, as some other companies have done. “I’m not going out to buy a movie studio just because I think there’s going to be a convergence between linear and interactive,” he said. “I think there are several ways we can do that.”
And despite the popularity of EA’s sports franchises, he doesn’t look at expensive sports broadcasting rights either. “I’m not going out to spend billions of dollars on linear sports broadcasting rights because I think there’s a way we can meet and fulfill the needs and motivations of our sports fans within our ecosystem in a much more conscious way that’s a lot more aligned with how they want to consume that content.”
“I don’t think we delivered the last two iterations the way we should have”
He also spoke about the state of the Battlefield franchise, which is trying to recover from the much criticized launch of Battlefield 2042 last year, acknowledging that EA fell short of expectations. “I don’t think we delivered the last two iterations the way we should have,” he said. “There’s a lot of work we have to do there.” EA has “involved an extraordinary creative team in” Battlefield now,” he says, and I think there’s a good chance it’s on the right track now. Vince Zampella, who is in charge Apex Legends and Fall of the Titans developer Respawn, is now in charge of the franchise, and there are new Battlefield experiences in the works, such as a new ‘narrative campaign’ and a mobile game.
Wilson believes Battlefield can fill any potential vacuum left by Duty following the ongoing acquisition of Activision by Microsoft. “In a world where there may be questions about the future of Duty and on which platform it may or may not be present, as it is cross-platform and completely cross-platform? Battlefield is a great opportunity,” Wilson said.
And while Wilson is wary of disruption from tech giants who have stepped into gaming (some with more success than others), he believes EA will hold out. “I say to our teams, never underestimate these giant companies with innovative DNA, monopolistic leanings and deep pockets,” he said. “We always have to ask ourselves what happens when they do it right. But starting today, we have this very, very unique and special opportunity to deliver the future of entertainment.”