Frank Gibeau, President of EA Labels, understands the need for new IPs to ensure that Electronic Arts remains a frontrunner. This is especially important given EA's showing at E3, which was full of sequels for Dead Space, Need for Speed, Medal of Honor, Madden, and Crysis.
In an interview with CVG, Frank recognized that the company needed to focus their efforts on innovation, which he believes the line of next-generation consoles will afford them:
One of the things I hear a lot about from the boards is 'there's not enough new IP coming' etc. If you're running a studio organization, the moment you stop creating new IP, your creative organization dies.
…The introduction of new hardware from the big three is going to allow us to reembark on a bunch of new IPs, because it's the better time to do it, because you can really explore new ideas and do different things.
In a market this massive, launching new IPs is very risky and it's a big investment to make these games. So it's a natural thing to see in this point in the cycle a little bit more emphasis on the knowns – the big properties and franchises – but in the new cycle you're going to see a lot of new IP from Electronic Arts.
The majority of these new IPs will likely come in EA's mobile and social efforts and their free-to-play models, since the cost of producing a new IP can be lethal. On top of that, a new IP at a triple-A level needs millions of sales just to break even. Electronic Arts knows this firsthand as the publisher for the now bankrupt 38 Studios and their new IP Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.
But Frank promises that despite the numerous sequels showcased this year that they already in development with new IPs for next-generation consoles:
I can tell you right now there's between three and five new IPs that we're working on that we're thinking about for the next-gen. Some of them might come to market, some of them might not.
…Right now if I was coming out with a brand new IP that nobody had ever heard of, it would be very difficult to get the mindshare of gamers. You might get really good press for introducing a new IP, but to sell a couple of million units to break even on it at this point in the cycle… discretion's the better part of valour, to hold it a little bit so you get a whole new market refresh and reset.
Syndicate was something that we took a risk on. It didn't pay off – it didn't work, but in general it doesn't change my appetite for wanting to go look in the library and see what we have and maybe bring back some IPs for the next-generation. That's the nature of the business; some stuff works, some stuff doesn't.
Before ending his chat, Frank also revealed a nice tidbit of information on one almost forgotten game from Insomniac Games:
We're very excited about Overstrike. It's a new IP and we want to make it the right game, so they're taking some extra time to nail the gameplay and the quality. It felt like we would stand out better later in the summer once we've hit some key milestones and we're able to show off more.