I wouldn't consider myself a "serious" gamer, since I usually wait a year or two before picking up games and don't put many hours in a week, but I stay up on the latest gaming news, and I do play games every so often (and play them heavily when I do).
However, I have a dual-core processor. I also have 800 GB harddrive space, and (just recently) 1TB RAID1 networked storage.
I incrementally upgrade some pieces every so often (the videocard was updated in 2009, for example, the RAM was upgraded (to only 3GB(!)) in 2013.
It's an aging computer (bought in 2007), but it currently serves my purpose (but is nearing its end of life), and I intend to get as much real-world value out of my real-world money investment that I made when I purchased the machine before I replace it. I'm getting very good milage (which is very real money saved) out of it.
This is just common sense, unless you are a computer hardware enthusiast.
Not everyone who is a gamer is also a computer technician or hardware hobbyist.
I would consider it silly to think that everyone who'd be likely to want to play the game would also have a high-end machine, and I'd think it bad for business for EA to limit their market to only those people.
There are more people buying modern games than there are people who are techy about hardware. I occasionally get calls from otherwise intelligent family members asking me if new game X will run on their machine, or what kind of machine they should buy to play new game Y.
Even when they do, they always have a reasonable budget, and it's always sub-$1000. There is a limit to how much they feel comfortable investing just so they can play a game. They need a computer anyway, but if the difference is between a $400 or $500 laptop, and a $900 laptop capable of playing the latest $60 game, then the actual cost of that game (in their mind) is $460. That's not a number EA wants them to be thinking about.
They just haven't learned hardware (and frankly, I don't know much about it either - I just happen to be the only above-average techy person on their contact list) - and learning hardware shouldn't be a prerequisite to playing games. Even modern games.
Further, how many people hyped up on the latest game are kids or young teens?
"Mom, can I buy Game X? It's $60!" -> "Sounds expensive, but maybe for your birthday."
"Mom, can I buy a new $1400 gaming machine?" -> "Uh, no."
Also, they are wanting to sell the game globally, not just to Americans. What kind of hardware does the average gamer have worldwide? The minimum spec will start there, and increase as EA decides to cut out one area or another.
They also want to sell to the growing age of gamers, including people working 9-to-5 jobs, or in college, who don't have time (or find it a gross waste of money) to constantly upgrade their machines on a bi-annual basis.
What is the market audience EA is going for?
- A) Only people willing to pay $1400 for a high-end machine every two years?
- B) Only people knowledgeable enough in hardware to build (or incrementally upgrade) their own machine for less than $1400?
- C) Only people living in the United States?
- D) Only people over 18 y/o?
Or perhaps they want to be able to sell the game to anybody and everybody willing to hand over $60, and don't want to field millions of support calls from people crying that they didn't read the minimum specs, and don't even know what "a vram" or "a core quad" is, or whether a GeForce 8800 GT is better or worse than a GeForce GTX 560. I mean, surely the large number means it's better right?
(For the record, I also find the 35GB of uncompressed audio a ridiculous thing, and bet they could've come up with a much better solution if they had more time. I'm also not too interested in Titanfall, though I might buy it for $10 on Steam in two years or so when it is on sale)
This is important information to keep in mind if you are developing games for market. You are not the average consumer. I am not the average consumer, and even I have a machine that many people in this thread seem to think is "rare".