EA's Chief Operating Officer (COO) Peter Moore explained Tuesday why the American publisher slowly dropped support for dedicated handhelds, such as the Nintendo 3DS and the PS Vita, in favor of smartphones and tablets.
In an interview with Gamesindustry International, Moore said the company was thinking longtime when it decided to cut software support for handhelds, believing the mobile market will only increase in relevancy year after year. Here's Moore full quote on the matter.
We were supportive of both of those platforms (3DS/Vita), but then you've got finite resources and you've got teams that say, 'We really think that two or three years from now, these are the platforms that people are going to be consuming games on.' And you look at the quality of what you can do on phones and tablets... Sometimes strategy is not about what you do but what you don't do, and you have to make some hard calls when you've got only so many people. To my point, we've got to be planning for FY 17 and 18. Do you think the Vita and 3DS are going to be around in some shape or fashion by then on a scale level?
While EA's stance on the traditional handheld market fading out is debatable, the publisher's success in mobile has been quite evident. In 2013, EA made more money through Apple's iOS store than any other retail distributor, including the company's digital-download service Origin, with sales of $90 million. This May, when EA announced its fourth quarter financial report for the fiscal year that ended on March 31, 2014, mobile revenue contributed to $460 million in sales. The publisher also boasted about its mobile business reached over 130 million active users with games downloaded 142 million times.
However, the mobile audience has not been the easiest market for EA to conquer. Venture Beat questioned Frank Gibeau, executive vice president of EA Mobile, in June of this year about why the high-profiled company has been unable to top games like "Candy Crush" with its library of 800 mobile titles. Gibeau answered by talking about how he spent seven months reconstructing EA's mobile studios to better compete in the overcrowded app market, with mobile games that best represent the company. EA CEO Andrew Wilson also recently admitted to the mistakes made with the mobile reboot of "Dungeon Keeper," such as "misjudging" the game's economy and alienating longtime fans of the series.