EA Founder: App Stores Are Too Crowded

 Pages PREV 1 2
 

This article has generated an interesting blend of reactionary knee-jerk hatred for EA, and calmly measured arguments from people who actually know what they're talking about. It's amusing.

But he's right. The apps market really is crowded and obtuse. I generally don't ever find anything worth taking a risk on or knowing if its worthwhile at all unless a news or blog site highlights it, because the "user" reviews for new app products are often as useless as the method of finding them in the first place. I'm honestly baffled by the App Store on iOS. Either there's a legion of robot reviewers praising everything under the sun, or people are, as a whole, horrifyingly stupid.

With today's social networks, an application can sell itself via word of mouth. Publishers are currently just a middleman who's about to become obsolete.
I never bought a game because some annoying ad or promotional campaign told me to. It was always either that friends told me about it, I watched a review of it, or I stumbled upon it on Steam.

Zachary Amaranth:

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.

That is an excellent point and you are completely correct. It's because it was the only outlet for creative people who don't get the time of day from people like EA. Also, as you said, the Angry Birds pie is always enticing. Also, this is almost the same argument that Microsoft used when they were pushing their XBLIG (their indie side of publishing). They would offer these devs front page billing for their games if they signed an exclusive contract with them and then wouldn't come through in the end. All I have to say about that is every new release on Steam gets front page billing. Sure there is competition for it in the sense that at times there are a lot of things coming out, but reload the front page and you get new things shuffled your way.

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

Translation:

"Trip Hawkins wants young and upcoming developers to sell their souls to EA so EA execs can buy more yachts."

The problem is that even if as a developer you decide to go with a publisher for your next game, there's no guarantee that they'll actually hold up their end of the bargain and actually promote your game.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who recently read the interview with the ex-developers from Free Radical. They had already developed and released 2 groundbreaking Timesplitters games before EA approached them to publish the third one. At the time, it seemed like a good idea for Free Radical, what with EA's hefty marketing department and deep pockets. Unfortunately, along with EA wanting to force demographic-attracting changes into the game, it also turned out that EA didn't actually want to promote the game all that much. Why? Because they had their own FPS in development for release around the same time, and they were convinced that if they promoted it enough, it was going to be their killer-app.

What was this fabled game which EA were confident would outperform Timesplitters 3? Goldeneye: Rogue Agent.

As it turns out, Rogue Agent completely bombed on release. And it was Free Radical that ended up suffering, because the marketing money and effort that could have been used to push Timesplitters onto a new platform of popularity was instead wasted on a terrible game that bombed on release.

Just because publishers have got lots of money and marketing guys, doesn't actually mean they'll promote your game if you sign up with them. Company politics and priorities can mean even great games can be shafted in favour of dreck if the company thinks that's where the money will lie.

And a crowded app store being crowded is bad how? I don't think a absolute wealth of software crowding a very, VERY successful format is particularly a bad thing.

Frostbite3789:

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?

I think that it is more or less this guys stance that publishers such as EA are necessary to "solve the discovery problem" since there is much out there. It doesn't help he was involved in EA though.

Robert Ewing:
And a crowded app store being crowded is bad how? I don't think a absolute wealth of software crowding a very, VERY successful format is particularly a bad thing.

It's because finding a good, useful app amidst all the fluff is akin to searching for hay in a needle stack.

Pretty feckin' ironic that EA of all companies would complain about market saturation...

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

Translation:

"Trip Hawkins wants young and upcoming developers to sell their souls to EA so EA execs can buy more yachts."

Incorrect as he doesn't work for EA anymore.

He seems like one of those "motivational speakers" from late night TV who wants you to pay him to tell you how to become a millionaire. Since he left EA he pretty much failed with the 3DO and started his own app company, that "digital chocolate" thing.

Ultimatly he seems to be harping on his past success with EA, to sell himself as knowing what he's talking about, so people will come to him and his current company as a publisher.

The guy targeted by this isn't the user (us) but the vulnerable guy who THINKS he has a good app but can't sell it, who might be lured by this guy being able to sell it for him.

That's how I see it, even if he's not actually saying "let me publish you", he's being more subtle than that. He doesn't seem to be with EA any more, so you have to look at what his angle is. EA is really the only thing he can sell because of his track record since he left.

Buretsu:

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.

You know exactly what I am talking about, on the other hand it is sad if you do not.

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...

...horse urine...

First Part: So what you're saying is, this man is a font of evil, and mayhaps ought be destroyed for safety's sake?

Second Part: the captcha is "hobby-horse". No real connection, but I thought this was great

On topic: Why is this news? he's just saying things that loads of people have already said many times over. If anything, the comment about platform houses aren't earning their cut of the profit from the content they support is the more interesting thing (although that;s been said too)

rhizhim:
and he just happens to have the solution.

the EA app store.

--------------------------

image

image
image

cave johnson looks like the TF2 sniper

He lacks the amazing sideburns. Also, I'm sure he couldn't hit a barn with a cannon point-blank.

ITT: Talking head shits bricks, declares failure of the threat to his business model.

albino boo:

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.

So far the music and movie industry are perfectly illustrative of why the old ways of getting exposure are horribly flawed.

App stores aren't the solution either, but that doesn't mean we should stop looking.

load of bollox

the cream rises to the top as usual

Steam solved the "discovery" problem with recommendations and social networking. The app stores just need to get their act together and copy that model.

I have an android phone and tablet and what the google and amazon app stores desperately need is the ability to filter. I want to click "ignore" on the fart and "joke" apps and have them never show up again. Right now I can't do that and that prevents me from seeing new stuff that is out there.

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.

Reading really is hard isnt it.

App stores are crowded....

Yet flooding the market with a new title for Fifa, Madden, NFL, Tiger Woods, NHL, NBA and MORE. Every. single. floggin. year!! THAT'S NOT CROWDED?!

Translation: EA can suck the soul out of your little indie project just as well as they do for the big titles.

Isalan:
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.

While thats true to a degree the problem is there is huge amounts of game clones and it turns into a bloated mess, the app store is the worst for this but xbla and the google play store are pretty bad for it too..

Steam at least has the niceness to let you sit on the front page for a while if your new. And it has SOME (dunno what though) criteria for the games it allows on its service.

A platforms no good if you can't find the good content.

superbatranger:

rhizhim:
and he just happens to have the solution.

the EA app store.

--------------------------


cave johnson looks like the TF2 sniper

He lacks the amazing sideburns. Also, I'm sure he couldn't hit a barn with a cannon point-blank.

why do you need to hit a barn with a cannon when you've got lemons?

image

I despise EA as much as the next guy, but come on, he hasn't worked for them for over two decades. (though fault lies in the choice of front page picture too)

And what he's saying is mostly true. There is such a problem, but the mentality of most publishers nowadays is "throw money at it until it becomes popular" and that lacks the massive effect of word of mouth, while putting developers in quite a vulnerable position. As a consumer I really wouldn't prefer it.

"It's hard to compete in a market that....actually competes!"

Well no shit!

However, he makes a good point about advertising in a market full of scams and shit.
On one hand, the Publisher pushes games that they actually have interest in which allows the market to avoid the "nearly everything is shovelware" dilemma that caused the first market crash.
(even though this didn't stop publishers from shitting out gobs of shovelware for the last two decades, it gives them the power to elevate the games they actually need to sell through selective advertising)

On the other hand, the Publisher essentially takes total control of the game away from its developers (or takes control of the developers' careers!), because they implicitly cannot trust them. The backers are taking the brunt of the financial risk, so they're going to call the shots.

Which unfortunately opens the doors to mismanagement and rush jobs.

Neither system is ideal in a vacuum. With an openly competitive market, you will find that the lowest common denominator always wins, barring early entry and success (like Rovio. Who didn't really do anything new or original. They just got to the market early enough to get noticed).
The bar is set so low that anyone can enter, but anyone making a quality game is likely to get undercut and ignored anyway. So why bother putting forth the effort?

Conversely, with a publisher-established oligopoly (like we have right now), you end up with market consolidation, price hikes/gouging, and stagnation (all of which exist in the AAA market this very moment). They have less incentive to focus on all but the most superficial of qualities. "Polished turds."

And so, you eventually end up with a handful of polished megapopular games dominating the market, which in turn, drives down their need to compete. They own the market. Why should they take any further risks? Result: "Polished Turds."

Neither of which are likely to produce what the market actually wants: Pioneers in gaming.
Equal parts quality in design and original, fun ideas.
People who are willing to take risks within reason, but whose games can reach an audience without having to dominate the entire market to begin with.

 Pages PREV 1 2

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here