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EA: 'We're making big bets'

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

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I think they've got a shot because they have some really unique innovation in the control scheme, the technology and the screen. It's got a lot of social features now so that you can actually communicate with your friends and be social. You can't ring them up by putting the device up to your ear but in general I think they've got most of the capabilities that you'd find in a smart phone, with some unique capabilities that make them stand out.

I don't think they're quite in the same boat as the 3DS... the 3DS was a really interesting piece of technology but I think there was some confusion over it and the title slate was a little different. I think Vita has a better chance because it has a stronger title slate at launch. PSP's had a great run in Europe as a device, it seems to have reached a much larger audience here than it did in North America. So I think they've got a good shot. We're going to publish a few games on it and see how it develops.

Old Republic’s release is “definitely” tied to the beta

EA really seems to be hitting its stride with current-gen games. When would you as a publisher like to see the next wave of console hardware arrive?

The way the business used to run where you had these big console transitions just isn't happening anymore. They're much longer, the online capabilities are making the way customers interact within the audience very different from when we went from PSOne to PS2. And so I think that big, abrupt change in consoles where we all pile in on top of each other and everything changes overnight is just gone.

There's a different dynamic in play here. One of the things that we like is that the technology is consistent, and we believe that there are still things that you can do on these systems... we haven't quite squeezed the last once of hardware horsepower out of these things, as you can see with Battlefield 3. Frostbite 2 technology coming in can do some really interesting things that nobody is able to do, and you see some great stuff coming from our competitors too.

I'd like to see the cycle last a little longer. I don't see consumers right now banging on the walls for a new platform. They seem to be very happy with their PS3s and 360s. They love the online connectivity, they have great communities and great libraries.

I like the fact that Nintendo's coming in with new hardware. That'll help really rev up their business for the HD side, which is where we're in a really good position. It's not secret that we didn't have big business on Wii. We have a very strong business on the highest gross platforms. Bringing them into the HD category is much more in our strike zone and we're very pleased to see them coming in.

It's hard for me to conceive what you would do on a PlayStation 4. The displays are already 1080p, you're already connected to the internet... I don't know what you think? You could make it faster, you could have more polys and you could up the graphics a little bit but at what cost?

It'll be interesting to see how the guys think about it in terms of the next generation but it seems to me that customers are happy, and we're happy to build games on them right now.

EA's very close to launching the big Star Wars MMO, The Old Republic. How can you be sure BioWare's game will be a success when a similar game in Star Wars Galaxies wasn't seen as one?

It's the entertainment business so there's always the chance that something won't work. But we've had two million people sign up for the beta test, all the consumer research... all the testing data of people actually playing the game and sending us feedback has been extremely positive, pre-orders have been very strong...

So I feel like we've got really strong demand built, there's strong interest in the universe, it's been a while since a big MMO came out and was a hit and BioWare has a great following. The fact that we can bring Star Wars fans in with the BioWare fans, we've got validation that the game's good... it's innovative.

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