EA CEO Wants Its Games to Fail For the "Right Reasons"

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EA CEO Wants Its Games to Fail For the "Right Reasons"

CEO Andrew Wilson hopes to to instill a new "culture of innovation" at EA that will reverse the public's negative perception of the company.

Electronic Arts is generally not the gaming community's favorite publisher. In fact, if the readers of the Consumerist can be believed, it's actually the most loathed company in America. It's a reputation that most businesses would understandably be unhappy with. EA is apparently no different and, according to its new CEO Andrew Wilson, the publisher is aiming to improve on the way the public perceives it going forward.

Doing this however, is something that he admits will take some effort on the company's part. "There are lots of really big public companies that make a lot of money that are loved by their consumers," he said. "That's because the consumers feel like they get value from that company in the investment in their dollars [and] time." EA, in turn, has arguably fumbled when it's come to issues of "value". Perhaps the most prominent recent example would be the SimCity debacle which saw many players buy the game only to find themselves unable to play it on account of unnecessary technical issues.

In addition to just averting future mistakes like this however, Wilson thinks the company needs to produce better products. "We need a mechanism and a process which we can get to [produce] better games more quickly," he said. In turn, he says the publisher wants to promote "a culture of innovation inside the company that actually starts a lot more stuff but at the same time kills a bunch more stuff before it gets to market so that we can give ourselves more short-term goals to get to that next innovative product." He also wants the company's future fumbles to fail for the "right reasons."

"I want to feel like we had the right motivation when we built that game, we had the right creative engine and that I'm proud that we did it irrespective of the result," said Wilson. It's a sentiment that will likely play like music in the ears of many jaded gamers. That said, whether EA is actually able to walk to the tune of Wilson's sentiments is something we'll all have to wait to see.

Source: Kotaku

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in before "Waaaaaaaa der r worse companies in 'murika than EA!"

as for the topic though; EA seems to be going in the right direction with some of their actions, mainly their new return policy, how helpful their customer service is, and how they decided to ditch always online on some of their upcoming games such as Sims 4.

I still loathe them and will for some time for what they did to Command and Conquer and Simcity, but I will gladly admit they are moving in the right direction.

Dont fuckup Dragon Age: Inquisition like you did Dragon Age 2 EA, and it will be one more step along the right path.

Seems that they're actually making an effort to get better, I don't really expect to see any massive change in their games anytime soon though. But at least they've managed to improve the things surrounding their games; Origin has slowly improved, and when I wanted to merge two accounts I got amazing support.

So yeah, they'll probably keep messing up their games for a while, but at least they're trying to improve by actually improving things, rather than just trying to distract people or using convoluted marketing-lingo to basically tell customers that they're wrong and should fuck off.

"We need a mechanism and a process which we can get to [produce] better games more quickly,"

Oh for the love of, that's not what we asked for!

Ugh. Well, at least his heart is in the right place...I think. Well they have been getting a bit better lately, I suppose I can afford to give them a chance.

"We need a mechanism and a process which we can get to [produce] better games more quickly"

You can't expect to be able to focus on both, making games more quickly rarely leads to an improved final product. Either they want to make more games a year, in which case they're missing the point by such a huge distance that it must be little more than a dot on the horizon to them, or they want better games and there's a very basic first step if that's the case: stop interefering with your developers. They have some of the most talented developers in the world on their payroll and yet they still often don't trust them enough to give them free roam, levering in crap like microtransactions or making exclusivity deals behind their backs.

I'm glad they're trying to fix their public image but I think they need to accept that it will likely take years to repair the damage they've done to their reputation rather than seeking a quick fix to suddenly make them universally loved.

Tis guy sounds just like the last guy did.

"We're sorry. We'll fix it." followed by them making it worse.

Also:

"We need a mechanism and a process which we can get to [produce] better games more quickly"

My teachers back in engineering college had a saying that goes something like this....

You can make a product that covers, at most, two of the following three bases of business:
1) It's done fast
2) It's done cheap
3) It's done well

You can't have a product that does all three. So pick wisely.

I really don,t get the whole worst company in America thing... yeah EA is far to being the ebst company around.. but the worst? really?

I don't understand what he means by 'quickly', but give them the time to finish it perfectly, unlike SimCity 5. Allow the artists to have plenty of time so they can build them up to their standards. And kick anyone out that just wants to make everything online.

TLDR: jargon, rhetoric, marketing, failure.

There. I should write for EA. If I ever don't want a soul anymore.

CriticKitten:
My teachers back in engineering college had a saying that goes something like this....

You can make a product that covers, at most, two of the following three bases of business:
1) It's done fast
2) It's done cheap
3) It's done well

You can't have a product that does all three. So pick wisely.

That's a pretty cool little diddy. It's simple and obvious, but it adds something when it's laid out like that. I dig it.

Hello, Mr. Face of the Company. I see the suit fits you as well as the last guy and I can barely see the arm sticking out of your back.

EA has to do a good deal more than speak reassuringly before it shakes the stigma it has. It'll be interesting to see if anything of substance changes (yes, EA Marketing, I'm looking at you) over the next year.

making better games quickly.

amazing. this surely will stimulate their economy. is it mandatory for a CEO at EA to be stupid or are they just that stupid?? i really want to know.

Yeah I've heard this before, didn't work out then, not likely to happen now.

Pretty words...now DO something with them.

Mr. Wilson...I can respect that you want EA to become something that isn't almost universally despised, or at least you say you do. But I think you underestimate just how many bridges EA has burned in the past. If you really, truly want to make things better then here are a few tips:

1. FIRE YOU MARKETING DEPARTMENT. Those morons have set gaming back more times than any of us can count all for the sake of creating controversy so a game can get more publicity. That needs to stop. Now.
2. Please don't use focus groups to help design games, that process just ends up pleasing no one most of the time.
3. No more excuses. EA in the past has had an excuse for everything, but so few times have we actually heard an apology for things like the SimCity debacle. No more excuses, no more bullshit. That may be asking too much of you but that's what it's gonna take.

There are so many more things you can do, but here are some of the biggest ones. So here's the moment of truth, either hike up your big-boy britches and commit to being a better company, or EA will have some very dark times in it's future.

This is just amazingly hilarious, they are willing to spend millions on new departments(while devs get sacked) that will fix PR but have absolutely no intention of working on the source of the problem.

Just keep going EA, we brought enough marshmallows to roast on your charred remains till the very end.

Metalrocks:
making better games quickly.

amazing. this surely will stimulate their economy. is it mandatory for a CEO at EA to be stupid or are they just that stupid?? i really want to know.

Well i guess it's what happen when they take businessman to be CEO who are enighter gamers, or game developers... They don,t know much about the industry

Sorry, but this is way too vague to get me excited. He doesn't go into much detail but just uses words he knows will make gamers excited if they automatically assume that us and EA are on the same page, and given EA's past, I just can't see them being on the same page as us until they start getting more specific. I sure hope that this is good news and that EA is changing in many ways for the better, but this hardly confirms that they really are changing, just that they know what words gamers like to hear.

"More games more quickly", ergo; "we're only releasing mobile games now."

Welcome to the Australian game development age Northern hemisphere, hope you liked those consoles game (Australia only has small studios left that produce mobile games).

If they want to start making better games they could start by doing away with unnecessary bureaucracy, letting their developers loose to use their skills and creativity without being chained down by publisher mandates and interference, and stop treating their employees like shit. The latter will probably never happen though since there's an endless stream of new people looking to get into the industry at the moment. Until that ends, we'll probably never see things change at the big publishers.

OK, the first step in improving the company's image would be to adopt some very consumer friendly policies and do away with the shit you pulled with SimCity.

I heard a similar spiel back in 2007 from EA and I believed it, mind you I was young and stupid back then.

seditary:
Yeah I've heard this before, didn't work out then, not likely to happen now.

Took the words right out of my mouth, the only announcement from EA that would excite me now would be for it filing bankruptcy.

Talvrae:
I really don,t get the whole worst company in America thing... yeah EA is far to being the ebst company around.. but the worst? really?

Well I mean people expect a bank or insurance company to screw them over. When they just want to relax with some entertainment and they get fucked over, it hits a little harder.

Either way they got years and years of walk to walk.

You want to win back my trust? And i do mean my trust you are the spawn of satan from every experience i have ever had with you over the last 15 years, calling customer service? i would get further ramming my head into a chipper.

Stop treating costumers like criminals.

Piracy happens get over it. Piracy especially happens if you do everything you can to grind franchises and studios under, put so much drm into junk the people that buy it wo cracking it cannot play.

Stop treating customers like atms, day one "dlc" should never exist since well 90% of the games have day one dlc have nothing to download it is an UNLOCK. It was already into the game when it went gold, you more than likely just locked it off so you could have another day one dlc, or some pre order bonus to force a few buys at retailer x.

I really do not expect you to go the full cdprojekt but you could make a bleeping effort, more free stuff, less drm, and fire i mean fire your entire customer "service" department.

You can say anything you like politicans do it all the time, it does not mean squat, lets see some real effort, some real work, and start earning back all the trust you squandered over the years.

Easy to do, EA. Go back to being cool. That means:

1) Don't sell your games $60 (or 60€ in Europe).
2) Don't MAKE me use Origin. If your platform is better than Steam, people will move to it. If you coerce them into using Origin, it will fail. I know people who are pirating your game just because they do not accept you forcing them on your platform.
3) Stop lying. Yes you lied. Don't say no, you know you do that a lot. No, it's not called 'marketing.' It's called lying. I'm thinking about the "Sim City requires online to offload some calculation to 'the cloud.'"
4) Don't sell your games $60 (this must be repeated).
5) Go back to taking risks. Go back to release extensions instead of brand new games.
6) Just, be cool, man. Like you used to.

Talvrae:
I really don,t get the whole worst company in America thing... yeah EA is far to being the ebst company around.. but the worst? really?

It's from a consumer perspective not some environmental or "we use child labor for the production of our product" point of view. Even then they might not be objectively the worst company but they are the best at incurring their customer's wrath, hence the deserved title.

Edit: And they are one of the few companies I know that make public statements that tell me: "Fuck what you want and fuck you!"

Furism:
Easy to do, EA. Go back to being cool. That means:

1) Don't sell your games $60 (or 60€ in Europe).
2) Don't MAKE me use Origin. If your platform is better than Steam, people will move to it. If you coerce them into using Origin, it will fail. I know people who are pirating your game just because they do not accept you forcing them on your platform.
3) Stop lying. Yes you lied. Don't say no, you know you do that a lot. No, it's not called 'marketing.' It's called lying. I'm thinking about the "Sim City requires online to offload some calculation to 'the cloud.'"
4) Don't sell your games $60 (this must be repeated).
5) Go back to taking risks. Go back to release extensions instead of brand new games.
6) Just, be cool, man. Like you used to.

I like all that is said here, and I would like to add one more thing.

7) DON'T make us have to be online to play single-player.

This is the main reason I don't feel like playing Mass Effect these days. And why I'm never touching SimCity.

How about not mucking with the gameplay or storyline of certain games (Dead Space 3, SimCity, etc), as well as making absurd sales number requirements for games or putting your half-baked Steamesque client embedded with your games and maybe consumers wouldn't hate for what you have become? If you want me to buy games from you again, you have to stop fucking up my favorite games by developers, because I cannot forgive you for ruining the Command & Conquer and Dead Space franchises.

What happened to publishers just being publishers like they were in the 90s?

Furism:

2) Don't MAKE me use Origin. If your platform is better than Steam, people will move to it. If you coerce them into using Origin, it will fail. I know people who are pirating your game just because they do not accept you forcing them on your platform.

That is exactly what steam did. It forced you to use it because you had no other option if you wanted to play Skyrim or Dawn of War 2, or myriad of other games. Either you use steam and play them or you do not play them at all. How is this different then what Origin is doing (at least with Origin some games do not need the client open to play them)?

Just stop interfering in development process and listen to your community instead of your shareholders. No one wanted social features and always online in SimCity, no one wanted Spore to be a kids game, no one ever wanted battlelog to be introduced in BF series...

"It's a sentiment that will likely play like music in the ears of many jaded sick of being lied to and ripped off gamers."

Yeah and the name of the tune is Saddam Hussein's "I Can Change" from South Park The Movie. I'll believe it when I see it. Until then EA won't be seeing one copper fig from me.

Bottom line

"we're sorry we'll try better but in the mean time our current tactic of....
micro-transactions, bug riddled releases, games that take a step backwards, innovative studies canned, ignoring our consumers, will continue!"

Hmm, good talk. They see how the public sees them. It's all good to hear. Now let's see some movement and then we'll talk back.

So far he is actually making sense. The other day he mentioned encouraging different teams to work together on shared technical issues. Perhaps the company is thinking that if one server-based game launches well, that team can now work with other less skilled teams to ensure something like Sim City never happens again.

Again, it's all talk right now, but at least it actually makes sense this time.

I think the biggest issue with EA is that they are afraid of their customers. I get that a great deal of communication from customers tends to be rabble-rousing. For gaming, I would guess about 95% of communication from customers is. That said, treating your customers like they are all criminals trying to destroy you is not a way to run a company. It is, however, a way to anger your customers.

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