EA: Streaming and subscription services "biggest disruption" in entertainment media in recent years

EA: Streaming and subscription services "biggest disruption" in entertainment media in recent years

The combination of streaming and the subscription business model has had a huge impact on the media market.

That's according to EA CEO Andrew Wilson, who - as transcribed by Seeking Alpha - told investors that this cocktail was "the greatest disruption" in this space in the last half-decade. This follows the publishing giant announcing its own cloud streaming platform, dubbed Project Atlas, as well as the company's move into the subscription service market in the summer of 2014 with EA Origin Access. Wilson says that the firm has learnt a lot from this period of time.

"The greatest disruption of the consumption of entertainment media over the last five years has been a combination of [subscription and streaming]," he said.

"Right now, we're treating them on separate vectors, but ultimately expect that we will bring them together over time."

We launched our first subscription what is now over four years ago as a catalog subscription on Xbox and then took that to PC, and we're able to get tremendous learning out of that. And what we have seen is that people who come into that subscription – again, by definition a subscription is the offering of an amazing collection of high-quality content at a great consumer value proposition with as low friction as possible. And what we have seen from people who have come into that is they play more games, they spend more time, and ultimately they monetize higher in live services as well."

Wilson continued, saying that the launch of Origin Access Premier at E3 2018 this year - which sees brand new titles coming to the subscription service the same day as they launch in stores - and thus adding more content has seen an uptick in people paying for the scheme.

"We know that great new blockbuster content adds subscribers, and we know that great catalog content retains subscribers, no different than traditional linear media," he said.

"And so what we have started to do with the launch of our Origin Access Premier this year is to add front-line blockbuster content, and Battlefield V will be the first opportunity for us to truly understand that. We saw really strong uptake after Madden. But remember, Madden hadn't been on PC for nearly a decade. The PC community of Battlefield is very, very strong, and we expect to get tremendous learning out of that as we grow that.

"In terms of next steps, you should expect us to continue to try and aggregate more content for our players, again, always improving the collection of content and the consumer value proposition, so that players can come in and play more games and spend more time. Some of that will be the creation of new content organically inside of our company. Some of it will be working with indie developers or third-party developers and publishers. And as Blake pointed out, as a long-term vision, we also expect that we would look to acquire both content IP and talent over time."

The EA top bod also said that the firm was on the hunt for companies and IP to purchase in order to make its newly-announced Project Atlas as enticing a proposition as possible.

"So add more content to our sub through licensing and potentially acquisition, continue to develop on our streaming solutions both as an isolated service for us as well as in conjunction with others," he said, "and then bringing our combined digital platform engine and digital service and Project Atlas to help us get there faster, more quickly, more efficiently, and with more innovative and creative games both developed internally and potentially at some time developed externally."

Come find out about the future of the PC games market at PC Connects London 2019 - including shifts in business models and the impact of new tech such as streamingTickets are available to buy right here. One ticket gives you access to not just this event, but also Pocket Gamer Connects and Blockchain Gamer Connects. 

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.