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EA: 'We're making big bets'

Labels boss Frank Gibeau on Battlefield, Respawn and new IP...

EA's Frank Gibeau is in charge of perhaps the biggest and most exciting portfolio of game franchises in the world.

As EA Games boss, he has helped grow an enviable roster of hits including Mass Effect, Dead Space and Battlefield: Bad Company, titles which ultimately helped propel the gaming giant to its position as No. 1 Western publisher for Q1 earlier this year.

In his new position as EA Labels president, Gibeau is in charge of arguably the company's most exciting line-up to date, with core stunners Battlefield 3, Star Wars: The Old Republic and Mass Effect 3 all ready to crash land into market.

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It's easy to see why core gamers the world over are eager to hear what the affable, straight-talking exec has to say. Speaking to CVG at Gamescom last month, Gibeau shared his thoughts on EA's current portfolio and its future in new IP...

First of all, congratulations on your promotion from EA Games president to head of EA Labels...

I can't wait. It's going to be really fun and exciting. I'm about a week in! My new role is basically president of all the labels and so before I was running the Games label group and we had a pretty good run of success for the last couple of years. Now I'm going to start to partner and team up with the Play label and the Sims business, as well as the Sports guys.

Earlier in my career I worked on EA Sports so I'm very familiar with the franchises and the brand and how to help build it. So I'm really excited to be back on Sports again.

Now that you've gained access to those additional franchises should we expect any sweeping changes to your FIFAs and Mass Effects?

No. The company's doing really well right now. We've put out a string of really high quality games that our fans are really enjoying and having good experiences with, so I don't really seed any need for sweeping change. If anything we're going to try and figure out ways to accelerate our growth, continue to drive quality hard and really focus in on how we make our business more digital.

We're really focusing on the online businesses of Freemium and trying to get to a place where we can share more information and technology across the labels. Those are kind of my early short-term objectives.

How are you going to make sure the Sports, Games and BioWare labels don't become complacent in their successes and continue to innovate?

Well, that's my job! I'm very much a gamer, that's why I'm in the business. I love the product and I'm going to spend a lot of time on the road with the teams.

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Battlefield 3 is one of the most anticipated games of 2011

We've got a whole new set of leaders running the labels; Ray Muzyka's stepped up and he's going to be running the BioWare label, Patrick Soderlund is taking over the Games label from my prior job, Andrew Wilson's now running Sports and Peter Moore's gone on to a new role as COO, while Lucy Bradshaw is the new [Sims] label lead.

With new leaders in there you don't typically have to worry about complacency or lack of new ideas and aggressiveness. Since we're all new in our roles we're all very excited.

EA just reported a profitable quarter. Does that represent a turning point for the company?

I think we're about six quarters in beating expectations. We had a very good fiscal fiscal year where we beat the street's expectations and Q1 was a good one for us. Right now what we're really having a lot of success with is our online revenues. We're guiding to over a billion dollars in online revenue this year which makes us one of three companies worldwide which actually has revenue of that scale and size from online and it continues to grow aggressively.

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