EA Founder: App Stores Are Too Crowded

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EA Founder: App Stores Are Too Crowded

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Trip Hawkins reckons developers need publishers to promote their products on digital distribution platforms.

"When Apple launched the iPhone, when Facebook launched their app API, when Android and Google Plus followed suit, you started to see all these offers where 'Hey, if you're a developer, just come to me. You don't need a publisher,'" he told BigWorld Technology.

"I think that honeymoon is ending now because if you have a million apps in an app store, just because your app is in an app store, it doesn't mean it's going to be discovered," he continues. "So you've got issues about how you're going to bring traffic to it."

After leaving Apple back in 1982, Hawkins went on to found Electronic Arts, which you might have heard of. He later left EA to form 3DO, which managed to secrete Escapist editor, Susan Arendt's, "favorite mistake," and an assortment of truly terrible games before finally going under in 2003. Hawkins then formed Digital Chocolate, which is currently busy churning out casual titles for mobile platforms.

"Retailers in the old days not only solved the distribution problem, they solved the discovery problem," Hawkins continued. "In the very beginning with iPhone, with Android, with Facebook, they also solved the discovery problem because there wasn't much there. As you got up into the thousands and thousands of things that are there, they're no longer solving the discovery problem."

I can't say I disagree. Though in theory freedom from the traditional retail model means developers are free to experiment without being beholden to a horde of corporate suits, the reality is that without publishers acting like a barrier to entry, any yahoo with a PC and a handful of cash can produce a game. That sounds wonderful, but the end result is that looking for quality games on platforms like the Apple App Store feels akin to bobbing for apples in an ocean of horse urine.

Hawkins went on to criticize platform holders, claiming they weren't earning their 30% cut of game profits, and that developers may instead have to rely on publishers to handle their advertising.

"I think for developers increasingly, they're going to have to try to then figure out, 'Well how do I get my discovery problem solved?'" he said. "If they can't finance it themselves, then maybe they need to partner a publisher that's good at it."

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My God. He looks like Cave Johnson. We have to listen to him.

If this man were running for office I don't think I could trust what he says any less.

Ha. That is my final word on this.

So, gentle and understanding (and totally not knee-jerk reactionary) internet denizens - shall we aid this poor man remove the foot from his mouth first or the head from his entitled, casual chum-making arse?

"Hey guys, stop flooding the market. That's our job!"

DVS BSTrD:
If this man were running for office I don't think I could trust what he says any less.

What if he promised to put a colony on the moon No, actually, you're probably right.

Captcha: too many cooks.

Looks like Christian Shephard. How's heaven? Or whatever that was...

EA: You're being Debbie Downers. "Your brand is tired. Your store is crowded. This beer isn't exactly the right temperature."
What I'm getting at is this: You're sooo not invited to my birthday party.

I'm sure that whatever the solution to these problems is,
it most certainly is not EA

and he looks nothing like Cave.

Zachary Amaranth:
"Hey guys, stop flooding the market. That's our job!"

DVS BSTrD:
If this man were running for office I don't think I could trust what he says any less.

What if he promised to put a colony on the moon No, actually, you're probably right.

Captcha: too many cooks.

Darn, the captcha was just one letter away from being either super relevant or super inappropriate (and hilarious).

Triforceformer:
My God. He looks like Cave Johnson. We have to listen to him.

More like a weird combination of Cave Johnson, Tom Hanks and John C. McGinley (Dr. Cox from Scrubs).

Which, honestly, is a pretty awesome combination.

Grey Carter:
That sounds wonderful, but the end result is that looking for quality games on platforms like the Apple App Store feels akin to bobbing for apples in an ocean of horse urine.

Funny, I feel the same way about the games industry these days. And as an "industry leader" guess who I'm pointing at EA.

You guy realize this guy does not work for EA anymore. Hasn't for over a decade. Wow, you must all really just want to talk down EA rather than actually address the point. I know we're all supposed to think they're the devil and all that, but do we seriously have to start villainizing people who have nothing to do with the company anymore?

I agree with him. There are just so many games out there right now that it can be quite difficult to find something worth buying.

Edit- and damn is that a handsome man.

Revnak:
You guy realize this guy does not work for EA anymore. Hasn't for over a decade. Wow, you must all really just want to talk down EA rather than actually address the point. I know we're all supposed to think they're the devil and all that, but do we seriously have to start villainizing people who have nothing to do with the company anymore?

I agree with him. There are just so many games out there right now that it can be quite difficult to find something worth buying.

Edit- and damn is that a handsome man.

Couldn't agree more. Currently it's very difficult to discover good games on any of the app stores.

Also, had no idea Digital Chocolate was founded and run by one of EA's founders. The company makes some decent mobile games.

This is a double edged sword. Discovery is shwag'en'all buuuuuuuuuutt, the almost exclusivity of over bureaucratic, profit driven mentality of publishers these days tend to fuck things up for the developers for a variety of reasons that are all too familiar to users on the Escapist.

-I hope my syntax was correct.
-CAPTCHA: silver bullet
-Eh, probably not.

Trip, bube, they're called programs.

I love the EA bashing. If Trip here knows anything it is failure to penetrate a crawded market from his time at 3DO.

Publishers are not the ones to solve the discovery problem. That's the job of the gaming media.

lancar:
Publishers are not the ones to solve the discovery problem. That's the job of the gaming media.

So its the job of movie critics to to discover 1 of 10000s of people waiting tables to be the next big film star? Or do they get the break by having a good agent. Of all the 1000000s of singers on youtube the only one that has made it big is Justin Bieber. In the last 5 years or so how many other singers have come to fame from the old fashioned route of A&R men and agents. The discovery problem isn't unique to games on mobile platforms. In other creative industries this problem is solved by the guy that can make to phone call to the casting director/A&R man, why is gaming somehow going to be different.

and he just happens to have the solution.

the EA app store.

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cave johnson looks like the TF2 sniper

didn't know the double post. fixed. sorry.

Nice try. The thing about app developers is that they don't need a fuckin' publisher. You don't have to ruin everything you greedy bastard.

He just has that face that makes you think "rich wanker" and instantly disregard everything he says.

I just love how the mention of EA no matter how irreverent causes people to ignore everything in favor of EA bashing.

OT:well over saturation is going to be a problem when you don't have any standards , just look at the xbox live indie section sure there are good games in there but good luck finding them between all the crap. The problem is how do you go about fixing it , publishers no thank you that's the last thing small devs need

Zachary Amaranth:
"Hey guys, stop flooding the market. That's our job!"

Exactly. "The App Stores are too crowded! No one is downloading Tetris 2012v238 and the 351st installment of Sims Mobile!!"

DustyDrB:
Looks like Christian Shephard. How's heaven? Or whatever that was...

EA: You're being Debbie Downers. "Your brand is tired. Your store is crowded. This beer isn't exactly the right temperature."
What I'm getting at is this: You're sooo not invited to my birthday party.

This isn't EA though: This is the guy that made EA back when it was a good company.

Thaliur:

Zachary Amaranth:
"Hey guys, stop flooding the market. That's our job!"

Exactly. "The App Stores are too crowded! No one is downloading Tetris 2012v238 and the 351st installment of Sims Mobile!!"

This isn't EA talking: this is the [b]Founder[/b] of EA.

And the gist of the subject is "Publishers are needed to alleviate the problems of Sturgeon's Law"

DVS BSTrD:

Zachary Amaranth:
"Hey guys, stop flooding the market. That's our job!"

DVS BSTrD:
If this man were running for office I don't think I could trust what he says any less.

What if he promised to put a colony on the moon No, actually, you're probably right.

Captcha: too many cooks.

Darn, the captcha was just one letter away from being either super relevant or super inappropriate (and hilarious).

Actually, it's still super-relevant.

Is that Dr Cox from Scrubs having a good day?

OT: Good thing about a centralised download store is that without marketing the playing field is levelled. Word of mouth or recomendations by friends/respected other persons are the main driving force behind sales, as opposed to whos put the biggest, flashiest advert in the middle of Coronation Street.

Of course, once they've become popular then comes the marketing. For further information see the Angry Birds Store.

DVS BSTrD:

Darn, the captcha was just one letter away from being either super relevant or super inappropriate (and hilarious).

Indeed, though it kinda fits with his complaint anyway. XD

Thaliur:

Zachary Amaranth:
"Hey guys, stop flooding the market. That's our job!"

Exactly. "The App Stores are too crowded! No one is downloading Tetris 2012v238 and the 351st installment of Sims Mobile!!"

It's even better, since I was recently browsing Android apps and they have multiple versions of so many games on there.

Not to mention the timeliness of this complaint, given the recent plans to "Drop" Rock Band IOS.

Thaliur:
This isn't EA talking: this is the [b]Founder[/b] of EA.

And a current board member of EA, as far as I can tell. So it's kind of relevant here.

theonecookie:
I just love how the mention of EA no matter how irreverent causes people to ignore everything in favor of EA bashing.

It's ridiculous to think that the context of this means it can somehow be discussed without EA being brought up. You know, the context of the board member of a publisher who is adding to the discovery problem he's claiming will be solved by publisher programs?

Hell, just the fact that the company he founded is adding to the problem he claims publishers should/could/will solve is issue enough.

DustyDrB:
Looks like Christian Shephard. How's heaven? Or whatever that was...

EA: You're being Debbie Downers. "Your brand is tired. Your store is crowded. This beer isn't exactly the right temperature."
What I'm getting at is this: You're sooo not invited to my birthday party.

So, I've seen more than few comments in this thread about EA. This has nothing to do with EA, this guy hasn't been with EA for years.

Like, if you want to hate them, that's fine, but lets not try so damn hard to do it, yeah?

Literally everything these people do irritates me. If it was possible to kill with resentment, I'd know by now.

He is right, the app store is a pain in the butt to navigate, really any sort of navigation aside from the most popular apps or the new ones is rather fruitless.

While he is partially right, I don't think for a second that companies like EA are the answer. It's publishers like them that have stagnated the whole gaming market. It's hard to be noticed in a sea of similar products. Maybe even impossible, but c'mon, you think EA or Activision or any of them are the answer, that is just stupid. I'm not saying I have the answer, but no... just no.

Baresark:
While he is partially right, I don't think for a second that companies like EA are the answer. It's publishers like them that have stagnated the whole gaming market. It's hard to be noticed in a sea of similar products. Maybe even impossible, but c'mon, you think EA or Activision or any of them are the answer, that is just stupid. I'm not saying I have the answer, but no... just no.

Publisher stranglehold is one of the reasons people started turning to apps, anyway. Not saying it's the sole reason; everyone wants a slice of that Angry Birds pie, for example, and some games really should be low-cost apps rather than big games.

I think it's easy to forget this context.

As valid as his points are all I can hear is "Nobody cares about your IP, sell it to EA so they can make a quick buck and grind it into the dirt"

Looking through app stores is a nightmare when there are SO DAMN MANY options. They need to enforce and require rich descriptions and screenshots for developers, and overhaul the app stores for users, so you can search without being overwhelmed. That wouldn't require publishers, just more common sense and foresight.

Saulkar:
This is a double edged sword. Discovery is shwag'en'all buuuuuuuuuutt, the almost exclusivity of over bureaucratic, profit driven mentality of publishers these days tend to fuck things up for the developers for a variety of reasons that are all too familiar to users on the Escapist.

Yes, the profit-driven mentality of publishers is contrasting with the profit-driven mentality of developers, and the "stop making profits please"-driven mentality of the consumers.

while he's right about the app stores being flooded.

he's wrong about anybody needing a publisher, even the studio's like Bioware(sub Bioware with another that is successful if you so choose), don't need a publisher, they could probably sell they're games directly and be better off for it

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