Every year we hear it. Every month, week, and day of every year we hear it. "PC Gaming is dead."

Frank Gibeau, president of EA Games, doesn't seem to think so.

In an interview with Gamasutra, Gibeau stated, "From our perspective, it's an extremely healthy platform." He says so while explaining that EA is in the process of a refocus on the PC platform, planning to use it to launch the publisher back to the top spot in the industry.

Gibeau goes so far as to say, "It's totally conceivable it will become our biggest platform."

He cites several advantages that the PC platform provides including the enormous user base, ease of download distribution, better margins, and lack of politics regarding first-party approvals.

Much of the PC focus he mentions does include casual gaming, particularly as it relates to Facebook, but EA is also shouldering the PC release of hopeful-blockbuster Star Wars: The Old Republic later this year.

 

SWTOR screen
What's better than lightsaber battles? What about FREE lightsaber battles? Maybe?

 

Gibeau also mentioned his admiration for the "freemium" model on the PC and how successful it has been in the Asian market. "I think that free to play model is coming to the west in a big way," he says, and it's hard to argue with that. As of this past January, Turbine's Lord of the Rings has actually tripled its revenues since adopting the free-to-play model. EA has already put "freemium" to use with the upcoming Battlefield Play4Free, but could this mean that they might eventually incorporate this model into Star Wars: The Old Republic?

All of this is not necessarily to say that EA will be paying less attention to consoles. Gibeau made sure to mention the direction that the publisher plans to take on these platforms, noting that the popularity of maxed-out displays has changed the game. "Once you get to 1080p, it’s not about increasing resolution," he says. "I really think the next innovation is in the input device, but even more importantly, what will the online experience be like?”

It's interesting to speculate if Gibeau is referring to the Xbox 360's Kinect motion controller or the Playstation Move when he says "input device." Or perhaps EA has something else up their sleeve.


Matt Buckley, NoobFeed

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  • Well it's obvious that PC has got the potential but it needs more exclusives like PS3 and 360 even before it can dream about becoming the top gaming rig.


    Posted Mar 10, 2011

  • Maybe if they focus on horrible Facebook "games", they could take "PC gaming" back. Oh look, Angry Birds!


    Posted Mar 10, 2011

  • @sucktckulr Facebook isn't safe from any developer.



    This may be more indicative of EA Games wanted to get more regularly involved in the MMO genre, likely depending on the success of The Old Republic.


    Posted Mar 10, 2011

  • I've slowly drifted away from PC gaming ever since Diablo II, but as I've said before, Diablo III will snap me right back into it for a long, long time. I know this isn't universal, but as @Sleven said, if there are incredible exclusives for PC, people will have no choice but to embrace it. I hope EA can do some good, as PC is a wonderful platform. Too often, the publishers go overboard with trying to lock it down with copy protection instead of building such a great product that people are willing to pay to use a legit copy. Blizzard is very good at this. Maybe EA can learn from them.



    Example of success: every Blizzard game (but most notably Diablo II, SC2, and WoW), Valve


    Posted Mar 10, 2011

  • @sucktckulr Steam has taken care of 90% of the over-DRMing BS. It's not nearly the kind of problem it was when DRMing first showed up. If it's been that long, things have probably become much easier since.


    Posted Mar 10, 2011

  • @sucktckulr : Having 10 years more experience than Blizzard in game making, EA couldn't learn it. I don't expect it happening any time soon either. If there are more publishers like Blizzard; making PC exclusives; then there could be a possibility.


    Posted Mar 11, 2011

  • For me, PC already is the biggest platform in terms of diversity and progression. It may be true that, as far as core gaming goes, it doesn't generate as much money as PS360 or Wii, but that doesn't keep it from being the platform to be for the serious gamer. In terms of first person shooters and real-time strategy, it absolutely dominates, and for the rest of the genres there are always tons and tons of niche games to suit your style perfectly.



    The catch is that many people aren't aware of what's on the PC these days, and that they are intimidated by the technical complexity and cost of the PC, which is hugely overestimated. PC gaming is only dead to those ignorants who only respond to marketing and hype, and refuse to look into what the PC actually has to offer.


    Posted Mar 11, 2011

  • I definitely like the idea of EA harnessing the PC as a platform, more. Dragon Age: Origins is a testament to what they're capable of publishing.

    However, "...back to the top spot in the industry..." - I've always thought that they've dominated the industry :P

    Definitely, PC game is far from dead. Great article!


    Posted Mar 14, 2011

  • @Degtyarev It seems like you're not even considering that maybe some people (including myself) just want to game on the couch. For me, it has absolutely nothing to do with how "hardcore" or serious I am. If you saw my Halo 2 track record, during which I consistently played around 6-8 hours a day, I doubt you could disagree. I like sitting, laying, or standing in relaxed positions, which I do not have the choice of doing while playing PC games. With a mouse and keyboard, you're confined. A controller can set you free, and can be preferable in many circumstances.



    For example: I bought Torchlight on Steam. I bought Torchlight on XBL. Guess which one I've played more?





    To argue the opposite direction: I bought CS on Steam. I bought CS on Xbox. The Xbox version sucked ass. Another pretty good example is the Orange Box. TF2 on Xbox is riddled with poop. TF2 on PC is incredible.


    Posted Mar 14, 2011

  • @sucktckulr I didn't say that one couldn't prefer console gaming, but that the growth of the PC market is partially held back by misconceptions on the end of the gamer. It's pretty easy nowadays to hook up your PC to your TV and sit on the couch, not to mention that nearly every title by a big publisher is compatible with the Xbox 360 controller, except in certain genres such as RPG and RTS. These arguements may have applied a decade ago, but they hardly do now. All consoles have over PC nowadays in terms of hardware is higher reliability (although the 360 kind of defies that ancient law), lower maintenance and a lower entry fee (games on PC are much cheaper, though).



    Yet many people still seem to utilise the same set of outdated arguements to deny themselves to get into PC gaming. But as long as outlets such as Gametrailers keep persisting that, in order to play the latest PC games, you have to spend $2000 on upgrades every 6 months, I don't see this changing.


    Posted Mar 14, 2011

  • @sucktckulr Kind of a blanket statement, there. I have my PC hooked up to my 50" screen in the living room, wireless mouse and keyboard on a lapdesk.



    And besides that, when appropriate, I use my Xbox 360 controller with the PC wireless adapter.



    I have tended to go in the opposite direction. I had Fallout 3 and Borderlands for consoles, played them a little. Eventually got them for PC, played them significantly more.



    I make this decision though based on a few factors: For one, I largely prefer to play FPS games with a mouse and keyboard whenever possible. For another, I'm a fan of digital distribution, so Steam makes it painless. Besides that, if there are top-down shooters, platform, or fighting games that are better suited to a controller, I use the same controller I'd be using on a console anyway, but I'll have higher resolution and better framerates on the PC.


    Posted Mar 17, 2011

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