Electronic Arts is stepping up aggressive moves in the console and wider video game market, as it looks to prove itself superior to the competition in intellectual property and talent and establish the company as a platform rather than just a content creator.
While the company has gone through a period of change, cutting costs, building its digital business reducing the number of titles it brings to market, it is now taking a more aggressive approach according to outspoken CEO John Riccitiello.
"Our strategies could be defined as fundamentally 'defensive'. Today, we are announcing a big shift to 'offense'," he said.
Our strategies could be defined as fundamentally 'defensive'. Today, we are announcing a big shift to 'offense'.
John Riccitiello, EA
"Over the coming years, we will transform EA from a packaged goods company to a fully integrated digital entertainment company. We transform EA to a games-as-a-service model by focusing on three new strategies."
The three areas of focus are pushing established IP such as Need for Speed and EA Sports on all gaming formats, establishing the business as a "consumer games platform" and maintaining a solid, best-in-business pool of creative talent.
"Increasingly, we see ourselves as a software platform every bit as much as we see ourselves as a content maker for other companies' platforms," said Riccitiello.
"And, while we will continue to be a great partner to our best retail customers and first party partners, you will see the beginnings of a consumer game platform emerge at EA that complements and extends the console ecosystem and addresses the wider opportunity on other devices."
"We are the only company with world-class teams working cross-platform on social, mobile and console development," he continued. "We are integrating these teams and augmenting them with product monetisation and marketing.
"It's a big change. As an investor, you can see this as a way to better manage our IP, and drive up the ARPU for our core properties. As a developer, you can see this as the reason EA will be the most interesting and satisfying place to work in the game industry."
One of the key titles for EA in the 2012 fiscal year is Battlefield 3, with Riccitiello stating the company is gunning for the competition, Activision's Call of Duty franchise.
"Pre-orders for Battlefield 3 are up more than 700 percent versus the same period before the launch of Battlefield: Bad Company 2. A lot of people are telling us they want to play this game on day one.
"We know we have a big competitor. But head-to-head with Call of Duty in Q3, we have the superior game engine, a superior development studio, and a flat-out superior game. Our goal is to significantly gain share in the huge FPS category and to put the other team on defense.
He added that "with Battlefield 3 we are mounting the biggest launch campaign for a game in EA's history. We think the franchise is worth it. We know the opportunity is worth it. Still, this is a big commitment of resources."
The company revealed full-year losses of $276 million yesterday, with fourth quarter profits up 42 per cent to $151 million due to significant digital growth.