The high Australian dollar has pushed out most video game development out of the country, though EA's FireMonkeys studio continues to thrive. What is the secret to its success?
MF: The secret to success in any industry, be that video games or anything else, is quality and I really believe that is what you see with Firemonkeys, Australia's biggest gaming studio. They have created some of the most critically acclaimed products on mobile. While Real Racing 3 is clearly one of their premium products, The Sims FreePlay continues to see high levels of engagement and receive content updates over a year after release; Need For Speed Most Wanted is the definitive arcade racer; Flight Control is the classic pick-up and play, time killer on mobile; and many more. These games have been critically acclaimed around the world as some of the best examples of what can be achieved on a mobile device.
When it comes to mobile ports, do you know if there is there communication between mobile divisions and other studios at EA?
MF: Definitely, where possible our studios talk to each other, and you can see that in two of Firemonkeys' recent titles. With Need for Speed Most Wanted, the Most Wanted points you earn within the mobile game crossover into the console version of the game and vice-versa. In Mass Effect Infiltrator, the game takes place in the Mass Effect universe that Bioware had created.
Looking back at the last few years, how would you characterise the impact of the iPhone and iPad on EA's mobile strategy?
MF: Naturally we see the introduction of the iPhone and iPad as a game changer not only in the gaming space but across many different areas. The increased graphic capability of devices today make it perfect for the development of cutting edge mobile gaming products. Mobile titles can now deliver quality gaming experiences that rival those on console, and the longevity of gameplay through the freemium model has opened up a whole new market of consumers who are wanting to play and be entertained.
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