March 1, 2013

EA Visits USC

President of Labels Frank Gibeau Coming to Campus

On Tuesday, March 6th, USC Games will bring another A-lister from the video game industry to campus. Electronic Arts’ President of Labels, alum Frank Gibeau will speak to students about the future of the games industry. He will also play student-produced games in SAL 101.

In a phone interview, Gibeau said that USC’s commitment to advancing videogames as an art form is contributing to the advancement of games as commercial products. “I think of games as an art form—you’re telling stories, you’re getting across concepts, points of view,” he said. “It’s breaking new ground. It’s the artform that’s the most relevant to a large segment of youth right now. The fact that I can help the University in any small way to make videogames a viable career choice is awesome.”

USC Games is the collaboration between the Viterbi School of Engineering’s Department of Computer Science and the USC School of Cinematic Arts’ Interactive Media Division. USC was voted the #1 game design school in North America for its graduate and undergraduate degree programs by the Princeton Review and GamePro Media in 2012.

In 2011, Gibeau was appointed President of EA Labels where he leads the digital entertainment powerhouse’s efforts to bring world-class properties to all gaming platforms—Console, PC, Mobile and Social. He is responsible for product development, worldwide product management and marketing for all packaged goods and online offerings within the four EA Labels: EA SPORTS, EA Games, the Maxis Label and the BioWare Label. Gibeau’s global operation spans a dozen studio locations with more than 5,000 employees. He comes to this role after a four-year tenure as President of the EA Games Label. During that period, Gibeau led a turnaround that greatly increased product quality and on time delivery, while dramatically driving down costs.

Gibeau says he admires USC’s programs because they allow students to freely explore game development without any of the constraints commercial games face. “I like the fact that they don’t put a lot of constraints on the projects. In the commercial world, sometimes you have to deal with more constraints than you might want to,” he said. However, Gibeau also admires the requirement that SCA student games be made using what he called “practical technology.” Otherwise they would be much too experimental. “They can’t be too theoretical,” he said. “It has to work on the screen.”