EA on VR: "We'll really wait and see how big the market is going to be"

Blake Jorgensen compares small initial user numbers to Wii and PS Vita

Electronic Arts' chief financial officer has suggested that the publisher is showing caution when it comes to virtual reality, citing user numbers.

"There's some challenges still and I think the biggest challenge is just the size of the market. We don't make games anymore for the Wii or the Wii U because the market is not big enough, the PS Vita - the Sony product - we don't make games for that anymore because the market is too small, so it's all about the size of the market," said Blake Jorgensen during the UBS Global Technology Conference.

"As one of the largest software producers we have all of the manufacturers of equipment coming to us to try to sell us on their equipment and giving us development kits to try to build software for it. So we'll build software for various ones but we'll really wait and see how big the market is going to be."

Ubisoft, by comparison, has been more publicly enthusiastic about VR, telling investors it was "bullish about the potential" of the medium and working on a number of virtual reality projects. EA, it seems, doesn't see that potential maturing for another five years.

"I think the reality is, the next one to three years, it's probably going to take some time to build up a sizable marketplace and you might see alternative uses for virtual reality first before it becomes gaming," continued Jorgensen.

"Longer term, five plus years away, I think there's certainly a market there and it will be another exciting way to enjoy gaming."

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Latest comments (5)

Tom DuBois Video Game Biz Dev Consultant 6 years ago
May be biggest mistake EA ever made. This is very different from WIi U decision. EA can buy its way in later as Activision does but losing innovation edge and opening the door for a new VR company to capture the market value ala King or Supercell.
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Paul Jace Merchandiser 6 years ago
I think this is a smart move on EA's part. This way they can properly assess rather an investment in VR will be worth the companies time and resources. VR may in fact become very big/lucrative over the next few years but there's also the possibility that it won't ever become more than a small niche market. I doubt they will be the only large company that takes a tentative approach to VR development.
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Julian Williams Founder, WIZDISH Ltd.6 years ago
So we'll build software for various ones but we'll really wait and see how big the market is going to be.""
That's a perfectly rational statement. However, don't imagine they aren't expending a huge amount of R&D effort. They will be well aware of the risk of being wrong-footed but unlikely to explain their plans to their competitors.
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No surprise. EA is about a lot of good things but leading a charge to the new is not one of them. It's certainly not dumb to wait.
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Jon Rissik SVP & GM, Dovetail Games6 years ago
I'm not sure EA should be comparing their approach to VR to their position on Wii, as that was hardly a successful strategy.They were incredibly slow out of the gate on that platform and then spent the rest of the cycle playing catch-up to the likes of Ubisoft. Having said that I agree with Barry (above), EA is not really about leading change. It's more about carefully watching (and learning from) pioneers and then iterating and executing better than anyone else. Nothing wrong in that.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jon Rissik on 20th November 2015 4:53pm

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