Smartphones and tablets every bit as important as consoles, claims EA Games head Gibeau

Platforms join the big league

Smartphones and tablets every bit as important as consoles, claims EA Games head Gibeau
With the likes of Chillingo and Firemint already under its belt, it's hard to ignore EA's commitment to the mobile market.

Just how important portable platforms - and the kind of games that inhabit them - are to the publisher, however, has been revealed by EA Games head Frank Gibeau, who has made it clear they no longer play second fiddle to its offerings on PC and console.

"We're aggressively investing in things that are very low cost like free-to-play," Gibeau told

"The free-to-play group inside of EA Games is growing extremely fast - we've got 17 million users."

Side by side

Free-to-play exists beyond mobile in EA's output, with PC release Need for Speed World enabling the publisher to reach territories such as Russia, Ukraine and South America.

On any platform, however, Gibeau claims what's important for EA is such offerings don't impact on the publisher's existing business.

"Frankly when they get to scale, have huge audiences, are very profitable, they're not cannibalising the main games and they actually reach markets that we're not currently serving," he added.

"It's a very exciting time from our perspective because it's not all about consoles. It's about smartphones, tablets, free-to-play, browser, social."

Linking up

Gibeau also cast further light on Origin - EA's refreshed online distribution network with built in social features - and the role it will have to play in helping the publisher reach its multiplatform goals.

"We've been changing the way we develop games so that we can have them on smartphone, tablets, in addition to console and PC," he added.

"It's all part of the digital transition that we're going through and Origin is the platform on which we'll be able to publish and service customers on mobile as well as PC platforms, and then link to the consoles in unique ways as they develop."


With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.