Electronic Arts is banking on free-to-play in a big way. Speaking with Engadget at Gamescom over the weekend, EA COO Peter Moore said the publisher's goal is to let players interact with their franchises no matter where they are, what they're doing, or how much money they have in their pocket.
Moore emphasized EA's existing free-to-play efforts with its most successful franchises, Battlefield and FIFA, but said the company is looking to expand it well beyond those two.
"The ability for you to be able to interact with those franchises on a free-to-play basis is going to be part-and-parcel with every major franchise we do now," Moore said.
Another point of focus for the company is online functionality, as Moore has made clear in the past. The executive has championed moving the company from a seller of retail disks to a provider of "games as a service."
"We don't ship a game at EA that is offline," Moore said. "It just doesn't happen. And gamers either want to be connected so their stats and achievements reflect who they are, or you want the full multiplayer experience on top of that. We don't deliver offline experiences anymore."
When asked if the company would be supporting new hardware like the Nvidia Shield or Ouya, Moore took a step back to provide a peek at the company's priorities. The top priority for EA right now is the console market with the ramp up to next-gen debuts from Sony and Microsoft, Moore said. Right below that is the mobile space with iOS and Android development, then free-to-play PC titles. Moore said offerings like Shield and Ouya "kind of sit on the periphery of that," adding that the company has no plans to get involved right now.
As for the Oculus Rift, Moore said that the peripheral market was a challenging one, but that much like with the aforementioned alternative consoles, EA will keep an eye on them to see if it's something consumers want. And if the demand is there, then EA will be as well.
[UPDATE]: Moore has clarified his statements in a blog post on EA's website in the wake of "misinterpretations" among gamers and the press. He specified that not all games will require an online connection, just that there will be some optional online functionality. As for bringing all the company's major franchises to the free-to-play world, Moore said some people had misunderstood that to mean that all EA games would have free-to-play modes.