EA Intervention

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EA Intervention

Shamus pleads with EA to stop ... just stop.

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Image is indeed a big thing. Its why I'm buying The Witcher 2 twice. The physical copy because thats how I'll play it, and the DRM free copy because it shows they actually care about their customers(and to support what may be the last, or one of the last, truly stat-based RPG's with a true branching story, to come out. Hopefully it does well). And treat them like actual people instead of thieving pirates with fat stacks of cash.

This isn't even mentioning GoG.com, which should qualify them for gaming sainthood or something.

I wanted to say this on the Extra Credits thread, but it got too long. I didn't really have a problem with the fake Christian protesters at E3. I actually thought it was rather clever. They weren't mocking Christians. They were mocking the people who protest sight-unseen. Like the people who protested Last Temptation of Christ or Dogma. They were mocking "religious" bullies like Westboro Baptist. They were mocking the people who called for death to anyone that might draw a cartoon that features someone that might look like Mohamed. (btw, since we haven't officially seen any paintings or drawings of Mohamed in more than 1000 years, who knows what he actually looked like. Hell, he might have looked like the modern depiction of Jesus. And won't that be awkward...)

The other stuff EA did... pretty stupid.

Also, speaking of crass advertising - I wonder why no one complained about Bethesda's name your child after a character in SkyRim contest? Remember when Acclaim did the exact same thing years ago with Turok? A whole lot of people complained that.

That's very well written and makes a ton of sense. It's just depressing how some companies don't listen and some do. It makes me wonder for those that don't why wouldn't they? So many fans of valve buy steam games even though steam is pretty known to have prices the same since launch(Black ops is still 60$ and I'm sure the price is lower in a lot of other places) what I'm saying is, stay being a dick and making bad mistakes will not help revenue but just cause you to be bought out by Apple. Then Apple takes over the world.

EA's marketing an business efforts might have misstepped badly in some areas, but i believe John Riccitello as CEO is a good thing for the industry as a whole. He was behind the initiative that spawned Dead Space and Mirror's Edge, two rather original and in many ways risky properties. Also, he was the engineer behind the quietly engenious EA Partners program which has been the publishing arm for excellent games like Bulletstorm, Deathspank and Left 4 Dead 1 and 2.

So what, its a stupid thing to have an advertising campaign that works?

EA's marketing team are controversial and it sells games, lots of games. It might annoy some people but its one company with the silly adverts. It'd be a problem if it was gaming as a whole that did it, but then it wouldn't be controversial then would it?

One company isn't going to damage an entire industry, so please, everyone. Stop overreacting.

dogstile:
One company isn't going to damage an entire industry, so please, everyone. Stop overreacting.

One company made Postal 2. One company made "hot coffee". One company made Bulletstorm. The anti-gaming crowd latches onto specific examples they like to trot out as evidence that games are horrible.

Fronzel:

dogstile:
One company isn't going to damage an entire industry, so please, everyone. Stop overreacting.

One company made Postal 2. One company made "hot coffee". One company made Bulletstorm. The anti-gaming crowd latches onto specific examples they like to trot out as evidence that games are horrible.

Whereas we can spout off dozens of games off the tops of our heads. We shouldn't be yelling out the big company's for being good at what they do.

Also, postal 2 can be completed without killing. Bad example.

Fronzel:

dogstile:
One company isn't going to damage an entire industry, so please, everyone. Stop overreacting.

One company made Postal 2. One company made "hot coffee". One company made Bulletstorm. The anti-gaming crowd latches onto specific examples they like to trot out as evidence that games are horrible.

And you, Extra Credits, Shamus Young and all the other Borgscapists are playing right into their hands by freaking out and suggesting that the industry kowtow to that mentality. You don't let someone who bullies you for your artistic endeavors tell you how you should express yourself. And if people like you don't have the backbone to stand up to people who tell you what your concept of art should be, then you have no right to call yourself an artist.

And that doesn't just go for the censorship crowd, it goes for people like Portnow and Floyd as well. Since they abhor the idea of someone else doing it differently from them.

Their marketing team may stink. But I like EA as a whole. They're trying a lot of new IPs, and buying/working with the right developers, like Bioware, Valve (EA published the console versions of Valve's games), and DICE. The biggest issue I have with them is their shit marketing, really.

The most sensible way to defeat a senseless ad-campaign: ignore it.
The most sensible way to protest a corporation you don't agree with: Don't do business with them.

dogstile:
So what, its a stupid thing to have an advertising campaign that works?

EA's marketing team are controversial and it sells games, lots of games. It might annoy some people but its one company with the silly adverts. It'd be a problem if it was gaming as a whole that did it, but then it wouldn't be controversial then would it?

One company isn't going to damage an entire industry, so please, everyone. Stop overreacting.

This man speaks reason.

Shamus Young:
I want to point out that there is a case currently working its way through the U.S. Supreme Court on whether it should be legal to ban violent videogames. A major part of the defense in this case is that these games aren't being sold to minors. EA's timing here is foolishly self-destructive, not just to themselves, but to the entire industry.

SHHHHHH!!!

We can only hope they haven't made that connection yet...

Shamus Young:
They were eager to embrace the most anti-consumer policy in the videogame industry since the decision to refuse refunds.

I imagine this would be a means of defense for those who would purchase a game, eat through the short campaign quickly in a few hours, then attempt to return the game.

As a means of combating piracy its useless...but as a means of combating a gamer trying to exploit the system, it makes sense.

I think everyone is dead wrong about the Dead Space 2 campaign. For one, did you see the age of the mothers? They were clearly intended to be the parent of a 20-40 year old man, given that they al looked at least 50+. I found the idea behind the commercial amusing myself (although some aspects of its execution, such as the voiceover, could have been better). It doesn't just play on the under 18's desire to play scary things they shouldn't but also the same feeling an adult male can retain.

Personally, my mother likes Dead Space. She found Extraction most amusing one wet Wednesday.

dogstile:

Fronzel:

dogstile:
One company isn't going to damage an entire industry, so please, everyone. Stop overreacting.

One company made Postal 2. One company made "hot coffee". One company made Bulletstorm. The anti-gaming crowd latches onto specific examples they like to trot out as evidence that games are horrible.

Whereas we can spout off dozens of games off the tops of our heads. We shouldn't be yelling out the big company's for being good at what they do.

Also, postal 2 can be completed without killing. Bad example.

This didn't stop it from becoming a bete noire among the "ban games" group. Likewise, "Hot Coffee" was just unused code discovered by a hacker, the sex in Mass Effect is quite softcore, and Dead Space 2 is rated M but the Mom ads made it look like it's being peddled to kids.

I will agree that their marketing needs to be completely re-thought, especially as of late, but I do quite like them.

On the DRM front they have retreated to a rather laid-back approach (alright, it's still totally useless, but it doesn't interrupt people in anyway, not from what I've seen), instead of increasing it after what happened to Spore.

Their EA Partners program allows people to get published without interference (if you want proof: APB, a game which anyone could have said that it was crap, and it failed because of the devs, not publisher interference) and whilst they do churn out the sports stuff every year, they give free reign to the likes of BioWare and DICE.

They did get quite the image change around 2008. So, to conclude: bad marketing, quite like most of the other stuff.

dogstile:
So what, its a stupid thing to have an advertising campaign that works?

EA's marketing team are controversial and it sells games, lots of games. It might annoy some people but its one company with the silly adverts. It'd be a problem if it was gaming as a whole that did it, but then it wouldn't be controversial then would it?

One company isn't going to damage an entire industry, so please, everyone. Stop overreacting.

I had a big argument with a guy about this on another thread; the one which started with OP suggesting that people forward the EC movie to any EA exec they could get an e-mail address for.

He was of the opinion that EA's marketing is working by creating a lot of free press for their products, there's no such thing as bad publicity, EA's job is to make money, not win friends, and commercials don't have to be art. I admitted that he had a point, but I also told him that you can accomplish the goals of making money and getting free publicity without resorting to sensationalistic tactics that make your customers look bad (if you're smart, that is), and that there is definitely such a thing as bad publicity, especially if you're in the middle of some relevant litigation (just ask Richard Nixon).

I brought this up as an example of the dichotomy that's present on The Escapist right now.

A lot of people agree with EC, but many think EC is just being preachy and pretentious, and that they're overreacting because EA's shenanigans aren't really a problem (like dogstile here).

I don't know which side is really in the right here (you already know what I believe), but what I think we can all agree on is that EA could be doing better by their customers as far as the whole DRM and digital distribution thing goes, and that they absolutely do not NEED to make advertising that, if nothing else, embarrasses and offends their customers.

Sir John the Net Knight:

Fronzel:

dogstile:
One company isn't going to damage an entire industry, so please, everyone. Stop overreacting.

One company made Postal 2. One company made "hot coffee". One company made Bulletstorm. The anti-gaming crowd latches onto specific examples they like to trot out as evidence that games are horrible.

And you, Extra Credits, Shamus Young and all the other Borgscapists are playing right into their hands by freaking out and suggesting that the industry kowtow to that mentality. You don't let someone who bullies you for your artistic endeavors tell you how you should express yourself. And if people like you don't have the backbone to stand up to people who tell you what your concept of art should be, then you have no right to call yourself an artist.

And that doesn't just go for the censorship crowd, it goes for people like Portnow and Floyd as well. Since they abhor the idea of someone else doing it differently from them.

Those of us who are "freaking out and suggesting that the industry kowtow to that mentality" are NOT AT ALL doing that. We are NOT saying that the industry needs to back down content in order to appease those who would like to define artistic expression. What we are saying is that the industry needs to understand that what they do in marketing and altering these games does to our credibility as an art form. Let me explain the points brought up in both EC and EP (as they relate to artistic expression) since you appear to have missed them entirely.

1) Dante's Inferno - Sin to Win. The entirety of this campaign cast a very negative light on gaming as an art form, since this actually gives ammo to idiots like Carol Lieberman who are fine with saying "Games cause rape" even without facts. Imagine what they could do WITH facts, even very very minor ones!

2) Dante's Inferno - Protestors. Sure, this seemed harmless to our industry, as it was a parody. However, once it was discovered that EA had paid them to do this in order to get publicity, the media had a field day with it. Did it get EA publicity? Yep. Did it reduce the power of games as an artistic medium in the eyes of the public? Yep. The public had evidence that games were so shallow they had to lie in order to sell them.

3) Medal of Honor - Taliban Removal. Simply put, EA was able to say "This is art, we are allowed to do this, just as any movie could." Guess what, they didn't. The one time EA has had the chance to severely improve the idea that games are art in the eyes of the public it chose to validate the games are toys idea.

4) Dead Space - Your Mom Hates DS2. No one is saying DS2 should have been toned down, at least not in this thread. However, the way that EA marketed this was unacceptable. Why?
a) The court case mentioned in EP is going to validate or deny the games are art idea when it comes to free speech.
b) The case is based in the idea that violent games are being marketed and sold to children and this shouldn't happen.
c) The games industry said "No, violent games are not being marketed and sold to children."
So this case is pretty much wrapped up... oh wait, here comes EA marketing an M rated game utilizing a marketing technique which works best on adolescents and using statements such as "It's violent, it's bloody, it's everything you want in a game." This COMPLETELY undermines what our industry has said, both on the front of the marketing and on the front of artistic expression.

Notice, all 3 of the marketing campaigns (which are the things being railed on) could have not existed, and the artistic merit of the games been still involved. This would have been perfectly acceptable to pretty much everybody... Even the Medal of Honor thing, as EC states, would have had the gaming community rallying for EA in no time, but EA backed down, and let us down.

tl;dr version - No one is complaining that companies should restrict their artistic design. We are complaining that they are not being smart in their marketing, and hurting the industry as a whole in the eyes of the public through this stupidity.

Fronzel:

dogstile:

Fronzel:

One company made Postal 2. One company made "hot coffee". One company made Bulletstorm. The anti-gaming crowd latches onto specific examples they like to trot out as evidence that games are horrible.

Whereas we can spout off dozens of games off the tops of our heads. We shouldn't be yelling out the big company's for being good at what they do.

Also, postal 2 can be completed without killing. Bad example.

This didn't stop it from becoming a bete noire among the "ban games" group. Likewise, "Hot Coffee" was just unused code discovered by a hacker, the sex in Mass Effect is quite softcore, and Dead Space 2 is rated M but the Mom ads made it look like it's being peddled to kids.

Ahh that, I was wondering if you meant that or an actual game I hadn't heard of (referring to hot coffee).

Of course they can cry and preach all they want about it. But those people are not the supreme court (which this article mentions, though indirectly). In my (admittedly rather brief) knowledge of the supreme court, they tend to not overreact. They actually look in detail, which is where all the anti gaming arguments fall apart.

So i'm not worried that one company, or even a few company's make games that are perceived as "bad" because when their complaints are looked it, it turns out they're talking out of their asses.

So i'll stick with my point. People should stop overreacting. It's not the end of the world nor the end of the industry.

EA has had some crazy marketing ideas in the past, but so has every other company out there. Some are liked and some arnt just with any company. Your picking 3 games and pointing out there so called marketing mistakes but completely ignoring all of the other wonderful campaigns that EA has had.

As for all those people saying they will stop buying games because of some of EAs policies well I dont believe any of them. They talk big and then when its time to actually back up their words most people end up buying the game anyways because they have been drooling over it for the past 8 months.

hansari:

Shamus Young:
They were eager to embrace the most anti-consumer policy in the videogame industry since the decision to refuse refunds.

I imagine this would be a means of defense for those who would purchase a game, eat through the short campaign quickly in a few hours, then attempt to return the game.

As a means of combating piracy its useless...but as a means of combating a gamer trying to exploit the system, it makes sense.

But remember you can still do that with console games and EB. They have a 7 day full money back return policy on new releases for opened games. Iv actually been told with some purchases that if I didnt like it or beat it to quickly just return it for my money back.

jebussaves88:
Personally, my mother likes Dead Space. She found Extraction most amusing one wet Wednesday.

Your mother is badass.

dogstile:
So what, its a stupid thing to have an advertising campaign that works?

EA's marketing team are controversial and it sells games, lots of games. It might annoy some people but its one company with the silly adverts. It'd be a problem if it was gaming as a whole that did it, but then it wouldn't be controversial then would it?

One company isn't going to damage an entire industry, so please, everyone. Stop overreacting.

When that one company is the second largest in the industry, and one with the most market penetration into the mainstream(through EA sports), it kind of matters more then if a smaller publisher, like Majesco, did this.

My my my... aren't the columnists at the escapist slamming EA recently, still I hope they get the message : the points made here are valid ones (as well as the plea made by extra credits).
The Ea marketing department needs to understand that yes, the only bad publicity is no publicity but also good publicity is better publicity than bad publicity.
I think I've said publicity too many times.

dogstile:

Fronzel:

dogstile:
One company isn't going to damage an entire industry, so please, everyone. Stop overreacting.

One company made Postal 2. One company made "hot coffee". One company made Bulletstorm. The anti-gaming crowd latches onto specific examples they like to trot out as evidence that games are horrible.

Whereas we can spout off dozens of games off the tops of our heads. We shouldn't be yelling out the big company's for being good at what they do.

Also, postal 2 can be completed without killing. Bad example.

I swear to you that i was reading "portal 2"

If these kinds of articles gain momentum and more sites write up things like this, the EA will have no choice but to see just how badly they are treating everyone.

I don't know... are EA really that bad?
Some of their adverts, only three to date, leave bad tastes in the mouth, but other than that their adverts are perfectly standard, are they not?

I must admit to not appreciating the "shock and awe" technique of advertising used in the three of note, plus it doesn't seem very effective so far, as people seem to spend more time insulting EA for making the adverts than they do looking at an "edgy" game that has such an advert.

Might be better if they just went: "We spent 5 million dollars on this game, we used the best in the industry to craft it, the graphics are amazing, the story was written by professionals, the gameplay is fluid and intuitive... WHY ARE YOU NOT PLAYING THIS GAME RIGHT NOW?!"

Any publicity is good publicity? This is the biggest bullshit "Law" of marketing that I keep hearing EVERYWHERE. What about BP oil after the spill? Their stock crashed amazingly hard, and It hasn't recovered fully yet. There is a way to spin "Negative" publicity, but saying that anyone talking about you is a good thing is crap.

dogstile:
Of course they can cry and preach all they want about it. But those people are not the supreme court (which this article mentions, though indirectly). In my (admittedly rather brief) knowledge of the supreme court, they tend to not overreact. They actually look in detail, which is where all the anti gaming arguments fall apart.

But where did the anti-gaming laws come from in the first place? Legislators; politicians who often find it very rewarding to overreact and scapegoat. Even if we can count on the Supreme Court to strike down California's anti-game law, I don't think we'll see a total disappearance of anti-game politics. To crib and paraphrase Extra Credits, why hand ammo to these people just to make a little more money off a game?

The marketing campaigns are obviously a problem. It's not just the attempts of the industry to be taken seriously as an artistic medium, but there are far greater problems. What about the current supreme court case, which will decide whether the industry can continue to self-regulate (via ESRB)? EA is essentially adding napalm to the flames kept alive by media frenzy and idiotic "won't somebody please think of the children" groups.
That said, if the marketing campaigns appealed to you, or worse yet persuaded you to buy any of the the games in question, remove yourself from the internet. You are obviously not mature enough to play games of greater depth than solitaire, and I'd even question that much.

PS: Say Shamus, what about Stolen Pixels? Hm, been missing that...

Raeil:

-god that was a big snip...

I agree with all three points mentioned on Extra Credits, and here. Yeah, Dante's Inferno was basically a game about hell and sin and all that, but was the lust angle really necessary? And on the DS2, yeah, EA really should have tried something less juvenile. But what really pissed me off was the whole Taliban affair, in which they pussied out. For EA trying to push the envelope in marketing, they don't seem to push that hard when met with opposition.

I hope EA may take notice, and consider the ramifications of what and how they advertise a game. They have had a lot of great games, so they do fine there, but seriously, their public image is beginning to overpower Activision for biggest asshole to gamers.

*Edit*

BTW, how is that court case going? I havent heard anything for quite some time...

I was going to write a big response to the EP thread, but no one would read it there. Well probably no one will read it here either, but I like Shamus better anyway.

I actually feel the need to defend EA on this one. I still remember when EA was like Activision, the big behemoth sucking life out of the medium. I honestly don't look at EA like that, and Kotick's lovely shenanigans had little to do with it. A few years ago EA essentially said they would clean up their game, and compared to what they were before, they did. To use the old brand perception study, I would now buy a used car from them.

I'd like to look at these dreaded marketing actions item by item.

The 'sin to win' thing. Well look. There was a marketing campaign for Dante's Inferno in which each capital sin got its thing. Greed got them send an evil-looking check to publishers (while explaining that wastefulness is also a kind of greed, so cash it or not you're sinning). Anger had them sending rickrolls to Yahtzee. And so on. Of course there was going to be a Lust thing. And it happened - it was the smallest action, restricted to a single event, communicated mostly through flyers, and unlike the other things it was not forced, it was an invitation. Was it misogynist? I would say that it's a misogynist as Duke Nukem, that is, it's misogynist as a satire of itself, even if I agree that's not the only conclusion. I mean, why do the put booth babes there if they're not to have 'acts of lust' performed upon them, if you considering oogling to be one such act?

The Taliban thing. I called it when it happened, and I'm amazed I seem to be the only one who caught it, so here comes the truth, please leave now if you think you can't handle it. They didn't back down, it was deliberate. They named the enemy faction 'Taliban' to try and create controversy. It worked. So when people complained, they pulled it out. What were they thinking? Well, they were trying to have their cake and eat it too. They wanted gamers to think 'Wow, look at how EDGY[1] they are! They are using a REAL WORLD TERRORIST GROUP in their COMPLETELY REALISTIC MODERN MILITARY SHOOTER!' And they wanted nongamers to think, 'Well, that group certainly knows how to admit they screwed up. I respect them for it.' Of course, it failed on all fronts, as this kind of marketing conspiracy is wont to do, but it's not an unmitigated disaster.

The main problem with this is that... well, as that guy that was so brilliant a marketer that he made America love Hitler's car, nothing hurts a bad product more than good marketing. Even if you don't agree that these marketing actions were good, or at least not bad, we wouldn't be talking about them if Dante's Inferno and Medal of Honor had been memorable games. They'd just be the silly little premise to them. In fact, I find the main issue here is that the games just pretend to touch serious issues without actually doing so - oh god here comes a TV tropes link I can't help it I'm so sorry - and in fact I can picture in my mind clear as day when EA execs were thinking on how to make something as 'edgy' as possible yet not objectively reprehensible by straddling the line on Christianity's mythology, and then someone mentioned that most of the idea of the Christian hell was actually made up by Dante on his Commedia and isn't actually part of any major religion's canon[2] and would be up for the taking, and the rest is a bad game. And Medal of Honor suffers from the same problem of most modern military shooters in which they deep down want to be as serious as Team Fortress 2 but can't because of their theme, so they end up with the fake dire tone of a preschool Nativity play.

As for the Dead Space 2 ads - yeah, they're indefensable. Especially so because Dead Space is a game that revels on its seriousness. Sure, as Yahtzee mentioned in their review, they have the twisted concept of horror that a seven-year-old has after stumbling on his older brother watching Friday the 13th and wouldn't know subtle if it drove a tank through their living room and slapped them with a concrete bar, at which point they might think it was trying to subtly get their attention, but if you accept the game's viewpoint it takes itself very seriously. So there is no point that can be made by the ad other than 'Hey kid, this game sure LOOKS serious and dark, but there's plenty of mindless gore for you to enjoy as well!' Which is the admission both games somehow succesfully avoid making, that the gore and dismemberment are just for shock value and don't actually add to the horror. In sum, it wasn't an ad, it was an anti-ad. Still, to throw this fuckup in the same bin as the other slip-ups is to revel in hindisght and throw away all sense of measure.

I considered sending EA an email informing them that I didn't buy Dead Space 2 because of its horrible ad, but that would be a lie because I wasn't going to buy it anyway. Maybe you guys should do it. If you're already boycotting Activision, it shouldn't be that hard.

[1] No longer ™ Tim Langdell
[2] Not trying to be funny, this is the original meaning of the word 'canon'. The opposite, I gather, is apocrypha. I heartily recommend using it in your next fan fiction critique.

Well, I'd just like to say I'm glad that Shamus is back on the Escapist. I had noticed a disturbing lack of him these past few weeks.

I'm glad someone else brought up the Supreme Court case in relation to DS2. Seriously, EA's timing on that one was downright damning for the whole industry, whether you like that add or not. How can they possibly legitimize that? It's about time EA starts holding themselves accountable for what they say and stop artificially churning out controversy. It helps nobody, and it may end up dooming the whole industry.

I was considering this after the EC video, but maybe it would be appropriate if we all decided to boycott EA for pulling stunts like these? I think i can hold off buying AssCreed BroHo, and Bulletstorm (i heard the PC port was sloppy anyway) indefinitely until these guys grow up :P.

Hell, imagine if their sails got a major boost when we all bought the games we were all holding off on? EA seems big on the whole instant gratification thing.

The only problem is that EA doesn't seem to see the PC as a major platform (or maybe i'm thinking of microsoft). So we'd have to rely on console gamers to do the majority of the grunt work... which i'm not.

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