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EA: 'We're making big bets'

Labels boss Frank Gibeau on Battlefield, Respawn and new IP...

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And lurking in the background you've got that Respawn project. Have you started to think about where that would fit into your release plans without cannibalising one of your own FPS releases?

We haven't announced anything on the Respawn project at this point in terms of release date, but I can tell you that what we do in general with our EA Partners products and relationships is that we do collaborate with them a lot. It's: 'Here's our release calendar, here's where our tent poles are, yours would look great right here or right there." We help each other maximise sales without cannibalising each other.

EA's new IP burst a few years ago with Dead Space and Mirror's Edge. Though perhaps not as commercially successful as established titles, they are a popular topic in your press interviews. Does the runaway success of Battlefield and BioWare releases give you leverage to come out with more core original IPs in the future?

EA says it's "looking at" classic franchises

Yeah. We're always going to be in the new IP business. It's entertainment - we have to stay fresh and we've got to change with the times and stay ahead of the curve in terms of what people are anticipating and want.

We're always going to be building new IP and the mix that we have now is... you're right, we do have a lot more titles now that are proven, where as a few years ago we we're coming out with a lot of IPs because the cupboards were bare. We had been a licensed-oriented group. Of course I'm talking about the Games label at that time; it was Bond, Potter and Lord of the Rings. As those went away or diminished, we didn't have anything.

That's why we made that investment in a lot of new IPs, but I figure we'll probably be doing one to two new IPs a year as far out as I can see - and we always have new IPs in development. We go through a green light process and in technology development and gameplay development we're always looking at new, fresh ways at applying product.

And obviously EA has a goldmine of classic franchises sitting in the vault. What are your thoughts on bringing some of those back?

We've got 25 years of great IPs and I've worked on a few of them in my career like Road Rash and the Strike series. So I have a strong affinity for a lot of the things we've done in the past.

We kind of have a rule which is you've got to have a really good reason to bring something back - What can you do to it that makes it fresh and brings something new to the equation of the franchise? Like basically what we did with Medal of Honor when we brought it back; we looked at going after more modern themes... the war that's happening now as opposed to a historical war. That was the reason we brought Medal of Honor back.

EA Sports has announced FIFA 11 for Vita

But when we look at Road Rash, the Strike series or some of these other franchises we really challenge ourselves. We can't just put them on new tech with the same gameplay from ten years ago, we've got to have something new. That's the typical challenge that we have. We do have a couple of old franchises that we're looking at right now... re-imagining them and bringing them back.

EA's typically been an early adopter of new hardware and you've just announced FIFA for PlayStation Vita. Do you think Vita can survive in the same market 3DS seems to be struggling in at the moment?

I think that part of the video game business is tough right now because they have had some significant competition come in that was totally disruptive, and that was the smart phone. So as a publisher, if Vita is successful that's great and we'll make games on the Vita - but we'll also make games on smart phones. We're a big player there and we believe in the long term potential of the smart phone.

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