Sega Exec: EA Struggling with Hardcore Crowd, Industry Heading Towards 'Snackable Gaming'

By Aaron Linde, Aug 14, 2008 5:45pm PDT Speaking on various elements of Sega of America's operations, company president Simon Jeffery critiqued publisher Electronic Arts' handling of the core gamer market.

"EA has always struggled with the hardcore gamer," Jeffery told VentureBeat. "I think they look at Gears of War and Halo and wonder why they can't do that. EA has to do something about that. They have tried on and off over the years. It's just like Activision had to come out from doing hardcore games and do more for the masses."

Jeffery further described what he sees as changing tastes among core gamers, moving away from lengthy, epic experiences towards pick-up-and-play titles.

"We are seeing a shift, even in hardcore games, to snackable gaming," Jeffery explained. "Call of Duty 4 had a shorter single-player campaign and really good multiplayer... Gamers are driven by getting achievements, finishing games, and they want to consume a lot of games."

Such consumers are often equipped with plenty of disposable income, Jeffery noted, and are frustrated by action titles that take more than 20 hours to complete. "It's interesting it has taken 25 years to figure that out," he added.

Following news that Sega's iPhone edition of Super Monkey Ball sold more than 300,000 copies in the first month of availability, the president expressed optimism for mobile phone gaming as renewed by Apple's iPhone.

"Super Monkey Ball is No. 1 and it's an extremely high profit-margin business. It's likely it will do a million units... [The iPhone] will absolutely be a new platform," he touted. "The point isn't just to get Sonic on as many handsets as possible. Direct consumer delivery is where it's going, as Apple has proven. We're in a really good position and see it as a viable platform."

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23 Threads | 60 Comments
  • Comments like this merely reflect the expanding demographics of gaming. When I was in high-school and college, I really liked playing games that required a large time commitment. But now that I'm older I really do not have the same kind of appetite for a game that takes 40 hours to complete. GTA 4 is a good example. I bought it and enjoyed it for probably about 15-20 hours of play time, but then I got bored with it and wanted to play something else, even though I had only completed about 20% of GTA 4. Because I know this about myself, I find that I wait for the prices of most games to be reduced before I buy them. I generally don't get $60 worth of value out of a game before I get bored with it and want to play something new..

  • "Call of Duty 4 had a shorter single-player campaign and really good multiplayer... Gamers are driven by getting achievements, finishing games, and they want to consume a lot of games."

    Complete BS. And he wonders why EA struggles with the "hardcore" crowd. Yes, I love CoD4's multiplayer, but I would have loved the single player campaign to be twice as long. Multiplayer is a big part of why I like games, but not the only one. Look at Half-Life 2 (and 1 for that matter), it had what I consider to be one of the best singleplayer stories every made, AND it had great multiplayer, thousands of mods, and a huge and still active fan base/community.

    Good games aren't "short and cheap" like they want them to be. I don't buy 10 games a month. I barely buy 10 a year. If they want a AAA blockbuster title for the hardcore crowd, they're going to have to work at it and put some effort into it. Sad thing is that if they ever do have that one great title, game of the year and all that jazz, they're going to milk it for dozens of sequels and spinoffs anyways.

    EA, you're too big to see that the problem IS that you're too big. Please, take your 4 hour games and cram'em.

  • Fuck snakable gaming...give me a 50+ hour long games with a great storyline and incredible gameplay...with COOP, and a PC exclusive, so I know it won't have a shitty, bloated console-influenced HUD taking up half my screen as well as having responsive mouse controls instead of the laggy shit that Oblivion and Bioshock had! Where the hell was the coop for Bioshock? Systemshock 2 had it...after it was added in through a patch post release. Damn, it's not just publishers these days that make me sick...the devs are losing their knack as well.

    By the way Bethesda...don't ever blow all of your voiceacting money on Patrick Stewart again, or any other "iconic" figure that I would recognize by voice, and sure as hell don't advertise it as "this game has the voice of so and it because of that." That type of marketing shows that the game probably isn't good enough unto itself to be marketable, which is a bad thing. You should have used the money you gave Patrick Stewart to 20 other voice actors and given us some diversity...having 4 or so voice actors for hundreds of characters shows a lack of..."fill in the blank here." I don't believe they have learned their lesson...Fallout 3 will likely dig its own grave. They're great at hyping, but are shitty at delivering. If they can do it, great, PLEASE prove me wrong, but the track record of so many companies, with few exceptions, is abyssmal. Activision, Epic, EA, Flagship, ID, Ubisoft, Sierra, 2K, etc.

    Please, just keep the games for those with no attention spans off of the "this must be what most gamers want" idea chart, because you're only making the problem worse, and you're an idiot simply for making an assumption without asking different age groups, or even looking into the age of the average gamer. Did you even know that the majority of gamers are in their 20's and 30's?...we've learned something called "patience" and I for one would like to continue to see long games...try playing Neverwinter Nights, BG2, taking the time to get good at Simcity 4, play the entire campaign of Freespace 2 or Freelancer, and you'll start getting a better idea of how long games ought to be. If you're going to sell 10 hour games, at least change the price to relfect that. 40-50 hour games with high replayability sell for $, you know what to do.

    I apologize for some of the rant, not all of it though as I believe some of it was warrented. I have a tendency of providing examples to back up my statements, or current perspective of how I view things. I am a strong advocate against shorter games, as well as not being fond of the current trend of simplifying gameplay. What can I say, other than I truly enjoy playing games, and am quite saddened to see gaming in the state it is currently in. I continue to play because even in the darkest eras, both in gaming as well as in history, there are small twinkling gems with which to seek and use as a beacon of hope for the future. I almost feel as if it would be best if all game developers and publishers suddenly bit the dust, and allow for the industry to rise back and reshape itself. As things are right now, publishers seem to have a deathgrip on devs due to their financial strength, and the devs needing the funding if for no other reason due to the publishers marketing power. But, I suppose all I can do is wait and see how things will shape themselves, as a single person, on the recieving end no less, is not going to hold any sway over a single developer, let alone an industry as large as this.