Editorial outlet Gamasutra reports that although Schappert recognizes it's not the first time the industry has needed to fight through difficult economic times, he thinks that this storm could be even more severe. A larger number of available platforms and increasingly cautious consumer spending habits both present significant hurdles to success. He asserts that when it comes to high-profile, mass-market titles, "If you're not in the top 30, maybe the top 20, or even the top 10, you're probably not making money."
Schappert's first tip focuses on the premise that consistent attention must be paid to developing the quality of gameplay, especially in the case of games with annual iterations, such as sports game franchises. With more competition and discerning game consumers, "The days of people going in, getting excited because they saw a commercial, picking up a game and going home to try it for the first time, I don't think we have those days anymore," he explained.
His second tip relates to the importance of marketing a game well. Schappert points out that while it was once possible to successfully sell a poor game with good marketing, that's no longer the case in today's industry. "Great marketing only works on great games," he said, lamenting the fact that EA titles like Dead Space and Mirror's Edge didn't get the marketing attention they deserved, and as a result, didn't sell as well as hoped.
Schappert also advised developers and publishers to invest in the future of online gaming. He's cautiously optimistic about social gaming, but warns of "extremely high market valuations compared to the number of people rushing to the space." The value of the online-connected console space is also not lost on the EA Chief Operations Officer, who believes it's also important to extend a game's lifespan with downloadable content. "People are buying fewer games than before, but they want to play them longer," said Schappert.
His fourth recommendation was that publishers not abandon releasing games on physical media. "I think we often forget about how important the disc is, and we often underestimate the technical hurdles we have to go through to get rid of the disk," said Shapppert. "I don't think in the near term, or the medium term, arguably the long term we're going to be without the disk."
Schappert's final tip was a rosy "keep your chin up" message to his industry brethren. "Keep your head high, don't listen to the cynics, and keep making those great games for us," he said, citing a growing number of gaming consumers as a positive sign for the industry.