Recently, the Develop-online.net held an interview with the EA Sports. According to the interview, an executive at EA Sports said that monetising online play was "the next piece of the puzzle" for the company.
Andrew Wilson, the senior vice president of worldwide development at EA Sports, said the online space is being driven by each player's own desire to rise above. Below is what he said.
"I think the old adage 'keeping up with the Jones's' has withstood the test of time for a reason," he told Develop.
"There are always going to be players in any online space that are ahead of the competition because of their time spent or money invested, and what we're doing now is about other players' desire to keep up," he said.
"How we at EA monetise that is the next piece of the puzzle," he said.
EA Sports is one of EA's most consistently successful divisions, having released blockbuster FIFA and NFL products on an annual basis since the nineties. It is investing huge sums of money into making each of its games online-native. FIFA 11, for example, allows up to 22 players to play at the same time as part of a 11-vs-11 online match. It includes Ultimate Team – a RPG-like squad-building game. Players can earn points, or pay cash, to collect virtual cards that upgrade teams and add football stars.
"We've been doing research across our sports franchises for over a decade," Wilson said.
"Every study that we do shows that social interaction highly placed in the pecking order of consumer wishes – usually in the top four. All we're doing is facilitating social that is meaningful today."
Wilson's definition of 'social gaming' is, broadly speaking, online interaction in any form.
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