At a recent financial conference in Boston, Electronic Arts CFO Warren Jenson outlined the recent past and immient future for the massive game publisher, touching on subjects such as the next generation of consoles and handhelds, efforts to expand EA's global reach, and the increasing importance of online content and distribution.
The first parts of Jenson's presentation focused on increasingly powerful technology, citing Moore's Law in look at how the next-generation systems would improve graphical performance. Jenson used rendered examples of future Madden
and Need for Speed
games, the latter of which was especially striking when compared to screenshots from the PSone and PlayStation 2 incarnations of the series. Just-launched 'next-gen' system were also covered a little later in his talk, when Jenson mentioned the Nintendo DS, along with the upcoming PSP and mobile technology, as handheld sectors worth pursuing.
Jenson brought up online gaming both to tout the success of EA's Pogo.com service, and to posit online distribution and play as a way of circumventing widespread piracy in East Asian markets. By introducing pay-to-play games in territories like Korea where this business model is wildly popular, EA hopes to gain more footholds around the world -- a goal that could have them opening up development studios in other nations to create products specific to that territory.
The last topic Jenson brought up was EA's releases and actions in the past few months. Their holiday line-up generally did well, according to the EA CFO, with Need for Speed Underground 2
and The Sims 2
as the high points, but others titles like GoldenEye: Rogue Agent
and The Urbz
didn't perform to (unspecified) expectations.
On the subject of EA's recent acquisition of Criterion, makers of the widely-used RenderWare middleware engine technology, Jenson claimed that EA would not be using its leverage to force any deals. However, Jenson's note that RenderWare developments would be shared with companies involved in the EA Partners co-publishing agreement seemed a little ambiguous, since he didn't specifically state that RenderWare advances would be shared with outside parties licensing the engine.