Friday August 31,2012 : EA UNDECIDED ON ONLINE GAMBLING
President considers added business complexity and cultural issues
President of Electronic Arts Labels Frank Gibeau told reporters at a Bloomberg luncheon that the company is undecided on the topic of expansion from social gaming into online gambling, unlike social gaming giant Zynga.
EA's casual social casino Lucky Gem Casino has proved popular on Facebook but Gibeau said providing real-money games would add complexity to the business and it would need to explore the cultural issues of online gambling before it made any decision.
“The leap from [social casino games] to real money casino games is conceptually small, but it is a complicated one,” Gibeau said. “It’s a world market issue. There is a lot of U.S. regulation. There are fully regulated markets all over Europe and some emerging in Asia. I do think real-money will be a growth driver for gaming. I have nothing to announce. We’re following the trends and events in real money.
“For a while, we didn’t publish mature-rated games. That was a big cultural shift when we started to publish games like Battlefield, Mass Effect, and Dead Space. When we make a cultural choice, we do it very methodically and talk to a lot of people. This would definitely fit into that category. I don’t know yet.
"What is important at EA is to build high-quality experiences that connect with customers and they love you for it. I don’t know if taking money for poker falls into that mission or not. Free-to-play casino game are fun, but once you cross over into taking real money, it’s a bright line that you have to cross with eyes wide open…. We don’t need to do this to achieve our goals. If you are asking me if it is in my top five, it is not in my top five. We don’t need it to grow our company. Some other companies are betting on it. We are not.”