Cash Grab Dungeon Keeper Was Wrong, Admits EA CEO

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Cash Grab Dungeon Keeper Was Wrong, Admits EA CEO

Dungeon Keeper Mobile Remake 3

Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson believes the company failed when it came to "delivering value" with its Dungeon Keeper game.

The original Dungeon Keeper is one of those classics that, when you think about wouldn't have been all that hard to reboot. Just recreate the same formula, slap on a more modern interface and watch the money flow in as old time fans and new time gamers alike bought it in droves. That, of course, isn't what happened. Electronic Arts released a "free-to-play" version that forced players to either dole out cash or wait exorbitant amounts of time to do pretty much everything in the game. Put shortly, the game outraged fans and reviewers alike who lambasted the game for its constant "harassment for cash."

Now, several months after the controversy, EA's CEO Andrew Wilson has said that the company may have "misjudged" its approach to the game. Addressing the game in a recent interview, he admitted that the company went in the wrong direction the game's "economy" and did a poor job of balancing the expectations of old school fans with its desire to make a mark in the free-to-play mobile market.

"For new players, it was kind of a cool game," he said. "For people who'd grown up playing Dungeon Keeper there was a disconnect there. In that aspect we didn't walk that line as well as we could have. And that's a shame." He would go on to say that the publisher had learned some valuable lessons regarding both its treatment of classic IPs and, perhaps more importantly, the way it handles the free-to-play business model. "When you're thinking about any business model, premium, subscription, free-to-play, value has to exist," said Wilson. "Whether it's a dollar, $10, $100 or $1000, you have to delivering value, and always err on the side of delivering more value, not less."

Considering the fact that EA is not a young, inexperienced company, you might think this is a lesson it wouldn't need such a dramatic refresher on. Then again, we suppose we should just be glad the company's is at least admitting (to some degree) that it made mistakes rather than just dismissing criticisms wholesale.

Source: Eurogamer

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While I "appreciate" the apology, EA has not learned their lesson yet and I doubt they will anytime soon. I haven't bought an EA game for the better part of a year and I won't be buying from them again till they get a major slap to their proverbial noggins.

Talk is cheap.
What will they actually do about it now?

Misjudged the approach basically means "this gave us such terrible publicity that we feel the need to say something about it".

I'd respect them more if they just said "I thought we'd get away with it", although not as much as if they just stopped acting like twats all the time.

I can't remember the last time I bought a EA game. It might of been Mass Effect but the constant stream of none sense coming from them for like ever at this point has made me sick of them, as well as my general aversion to all things pre-orders, DLC, free to pay, and have baked buggy game releases with servers breaking on day one. This doesn't seem like an apology or at least not one that really comprehends how freakin disgusting their entire dungeon keeper game was. It seems tone deaf still so as a consumer deal with them I still won't consume. No skin off my back, they've not released a genuinely cool and novel game since ME1.

*cracks knuckles* I just have to tear apart everything here...

Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson believes the company failed when it came to "delivering value" with its Dungeon Keeper game.

No belief here. We KNOW they didn't deliver value. "Value" is so far removed from this game that it's hilarious to even say it in the same sentence as this game. EA and "value" have been at odds for awhile now.

Now, several months after the controversy, EA's CEO Andrew Wilson has said that the company may have "misjudged" its approach to the game.

"May" have misjudged? They totally misjudged its approach to the game, from the ground up, at the fundamental starting level. Sort of like how Lindsay Lohan "may have misjudged" the effects drugs, alcohol, constant parties, and frequent arrests would have on her career...

he admitted that the company went in the wrong direction the game's "economy" and did a poor job of balancing the expectations of old school fans with its desire to make a mark in the free-to-play mobile market.

It wasn't the "economy", it was the whole game. There was NO job spent balancing the expectations of old fans with the desire to make a mark in the free-to-play mobile market, because the two CANNOT be balanced. It's like claiming that, in an attempt to combine FIFA and Call of Duty, you failed to find the right "balance". The two shouldn't mix, period.

"For new players, it was kind of a cool game," he said.

Ha!... no.

"For people who'd grown up playing Dungeon Keeper there was a disconnect there. In that aspect we didn't walk that line as well as we could have. And that's a shame."

Don't even walk that line! That line is there for a reason! It's like walking a line between health and self-harm; just stick with positive one! It's a shame you considered walking the line in the first place! The fact you didn't even do that, and instead fell headfirst into the worst F2P trappings, still makes you think that going F2P wasn't a mistake and that you can "fix" it. You can't. The only fix is to not make it F2P.

He would go on to say that the publisher had learned some valuable lessons regarding both its treatment of classic IPs and, perhaps more importantly, the way it handles the free-to-play business model.

Why do I feel this lesson is "be more clever about how to rip-off customers"?

"When you're thinking about any business model, premium, subscription, free-to-play, value has to exist," said Wilson. "Whether it's a dollar, $10, $100 or $1000, you have to delivering value, and always err on the side of delivering more value, not less."

Rule 1: don't even think of the business model until you have a great game. The business model of free-to-play is ABOUT underdelivering value to force players to invest; it's very existence runs counter to "value" the vast majority of the time. The best value? Just release a complete game without any microtransactions whatsoever. I hear that did wonders with the original Dungeon Keeper franchise.

Considering the fact that EA is not a young, inexperienced company, you might think this is a lesson it wouldn't need such a dramatic refresher on. Then again, we suppose we should just be glad the company's is at least admitting (to some degree) that it made mistakes rather than just dismissing criticisms wholesale.

EA has done almost NOTHING to warrant my trust. I was reading just yesterday when Bad Company 2 was released how DICE vowed to "never charge for maps" and how they fought against EA pushing them to do so, claiming that to do so would disrespect their fans, put up walls between them and their growing community, sell out their integrity, and devalue the brand.

They were 100% right... especially with EA charging for map packs for Battlefield 4 while the core game remains broken in many areas.

They could learn - Square Enix did the impossible with Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn - but I feel EA is too greedy, too short-sighted, to view their games, their developers, or their fans as anything OTHER than money chips on the table to gamble away and invest in.

The problem was with the GAME, EA. The business model was just one of many terrible decisions to ungracefully mesh your business desires into worthwhile game ideas, ruining both in the process. Your "business models" have dragged the entire gaming industry down a darker, less fun, less enjoyable, less creative, less valuable path.

Captch: Get Out. Hmm.... appropriate.

.

Trishbot:

Don't even walk that line! That line is there for a reason! It's like walking a line between health and self-harm; just stick with positive one! It's a shame you considered walking the line in the first place! The fact you didn't even do that, and instead fell headfirst into the worst F2P trappings, still makes you think that going F2P wasn't a mistake and that you can "fix" it. You can't. The only fix is to not make it F2P.

I feel a small need to interject here.

Believe me, I'm generally the last person to defend EA, and I think what they did with Dungeon Keeper Mobile was a big steaming mess; in fact, my first reaction to "may have misjudged its approach to the game" amounted to "Could you excuse me a moment while I grab a beverage? I feel a need to do a proper spit-take here."

That said, I think they probably could have made a F2P Dungeon Keeper that wouldn't have been so grotesquely offensive. If the only thing they asked the player to buy were baby bonnets to put on their Imps (or the equivalent), and they only asked between regular levels, and one could dismiss the query with a single tap of a finger... I think that might have been all right.

Not, y'know, a substitute for a proper Dungeon Keeper 3, mind you. But all right.

I'm not a fan of what F2P principles are doing to the medium I know and love, but I suspect it's here to stay, at least until it precipitates another market crash.

1) There was nothing to 'learn' regarding the "treatment of classic IPs". 'Learning' here implies you didn't know what you were doing, and then gained the knowledge afterwards. In the case of such classic IPs, only a zombie with half its brain eaten away would not have known what they were doing.

2) Does this smack of Schadenfreude to anyone else? Ubisoft are currently the focus of much controversy at the moment, and here's EA apologising for screwing up Dungeon Keeper. To me it has the ring of 'See, we're not as bad as Ubisoft, are we?'

"kind of a cool game" ?! I'm sorry, what?! even if I had the system to play it on and thought I might want to try the series, as someone who's never played dungeon keeper, this would NEVER have drawn me in. the HUGE spread of "cash grab" style FTP games nowadays have completely poisoned my attitude to ANYTHING involving those systems if it gets any way pushed during play and is not TRUELY "Optional".......you guys should freaking KNOW BETTER by now about what "TOO MUCH" is.....but oh wait...forgot who I was talking about......that's not gonna happen anytime soon.

"For new players, it was kind of a cool game," he said. "For people who'd grown up playing Dungeon Keeper there was a disconnect there. In that aspect we didn't walk that line as well as we could have. And that's a shame."

The fact that he thinks they even made a dungeon keeper game is pretty insulting really....

They took the digging mechanic and warped it in to some "please insert coin to finish the dig or it'll be a 2 day wait for you" abomination that most likely would be crying out for a quick death if it had sentience.
They then whored out the mascot of said game, Horney, to try and squeeze out the nostalgia to appeal to the blindest of the blind.
And using those two things they created a Clash of Clans rip off that most mobile game cloners would look at and go, "Jesus Christ even we're not that bad."

The worst thing about that entire article is the fact that he's admitting he was wrong...for all the wrong reasons.

I haven't read the other posts so this may have been said already.

This whole things stinks of it not making all the money like EA would have hoped, it didn't follow tapped out to make them hundreds of millions. If it had they'd be gloating about it not 'maybe' admitting they were wrong.

New CEO, same old bullshit from EA.

Anyone else tired of these stupid apologies. If you were to apologize and admit murdering someone is a bad thing it doesn't excuse the fact YOU MURDERED SOMEONE.

Ubisoft and EA just admit that all you give a damn about is your profit margin and quit insulting our intelligence.

Translation:

"We didn't sucker nearly as many customers as we had hoped, so it was a bad idea. But don't worry, we'll get your cash one way or another."

One of the pillars of EA's business model is to buy up respected IP's/gaming studios, grind them into the ground as they milk them for cash, and throw away the rotten husk of what once was great.

If EA learned anything here it is that they can't speed up the process and expect the same type of returns.

EA is essentially a sociopathic corporate entity, and the CEO it's mouth piece. When it says something like this it's not actually apologizing or admitting mistake, but more thinking about something like damage control or appeasing investors.

Sure, I'm glad to see that EA has now made enough money from the Dungeon Keeper Scam and is ready to condemn their past transgressions.

7 months, eh? I wonder how much they earned......

Callate:

I'm not a fan of what F2P principles are doing to the medium I know and love, but I suspect it's here to stay, at least until it precipitates another market crash.

Unfortunately, yes.
Just like how DLC price gouging was accepted as standard, so are these horrible F2P business models.
In fact, I'd say that F2P in practice behaves like runaway DLC/Microtransactions.

Business wise, I strongly suspect EA is only providing a mea culpa now so that they can convince the market to let them try the F2P bullshit again; this time easing their marks into the trappings slowly instead of applying blunt force cash-grab all up front.

Because right now, F2P is where the easy money is, across a huge swath of the market.
There's no way EA will just ignore that; the cost is just so low for the potential yields.

At best, another F2P Dungeon Keeper will be nothing more than the usual F2P arm twisting grindfest virtually all F2P games offer. (some with genuinely good concepts and gameplay; I genuinely lament every F2P game I've enjoyed but dropped. Including a couple of my favorite franchises)

And to anyone else reading, remember what EA is "apologizing" for here. Look at their careful selection of PR wording here. Compare it to the horrible price gouging in Dungeon Keeper 14'.

That is the model is they are ultimately striving towards because it fits their business philosophy perfectly:
Cheap to produce, persistently milkable, and addictive. (remember that "addictive" isn't the same as "quality" or necessarily "fun")

EA repeatedly say a lot of positive things.

EA repeatedly do a lot of negative things.

Ebenezer Scrooge proved he had changed by acting different, being more generous and open, and actually acting upon his promises. EA have yet to prove they have changed.

image

MEND YOUR WAYS EBENEZER!

It was only wrong because it didn't work. If it had made them money it wouldn't of mattered.

mjharper:

2) Does this smack of Schadenfreude to anyone else? Ubisoft are currently the focus of much controversy at the moment, and here's EA apologising for screwing up Dungeon Keeper. To me it has the ring of 'See, we're not as bad as Ubisoft, are we?'

Ironically, I was thinking last couple of days if Ubisoft is worse than EA now and EA itself reminded me of Dungeon Keeper and that no, Ubi is not worse, EA is still the king of the shit pile.

All crap, the entire thing. That was a Dungeon Keeper game in NAME only. It was designed, from the ground up, 100%, to be a cash grab abusing the name of the IP.

They knew damn well what they were making wasn't a Dungeon Keeper game and that absolutely nothing about it would appeal the fans of the real Dungeon Keeper games in any way whatsoever.

Your words mean less than nothing, they just make you look even more inept and clueless. It disgusts me how they willingly put the name up on the line to be crapped all over just for an attempt at a short lived "game" designed purely to cash in on the 5% of people who waste money on a shallow mobile game.

If this CEO wanted to crates a "player first mentality" then the "game" you released should not fucking exist. Cow clickers are designed for the sole purpose of fucking over the player. EA has not done really anything consumer friendly since that return policy on Origin. As many people have already said in this thread, EA needs act on its words.

EA's first mistake was thinking that all "old-school gamers" want to play mobile games.

EA's second mistake was thinking that a series from the late 90s is the kind of game these "old-school gamers" with mobile phones would play.

EA's third mistake was using old, outdated mobile game mechanics few use anymore.

And the fourth and final mistake EA made was believing the Dungeon Keeper fandom would be alright with it.

And here's the reality:

"Old-school" gamers don't want old franchises on non-dedicated mobile devices. They want them on PCs, consoles, and dedicated handhelds.

America-wise, the mobile phone/tablet users that play F2P games with microtransactions are mostly "retro gamers" - People who went to arcades in the late 70s and early 80s because that's where the great games were, and became accommodated to paying in quarters in order to progress through a game they didn't own. Much of that generation of gamers didn't bother with consoles that much after the crash. When mobile phones became a critical asset, followed by the smartphone, "retro gamers" looking through the app store found games that are akin to the very ones they played in the arcades, with easy mechanics and controls, including the option to progress faster or easier through a small payment - It just feels natural to them given what they grew up with.

EA needed to aim for the attention of the "retro gamers" if they wanted it to somewhat work, but instead got the attention of the "old-school" gamers, used to the console and PC games starting from the mid-80s to early 2000s. They're not conditioned to making to small payments, instead buying the game straight up (or their parents did to be more accurate). Progression to them means having the skill - You can't pay your way through the games they grew up with. They want the whole game, not a base game with a bunch of it locked away though small payments. Getting the treatment "retro gamers" got back then feels like a betrayal to them.

In other words, EA should have watched and studied mobile phone and tablet demographics much, much more closely. There's a stronger divide in demographics between what they grew up with, where they lived, and what they played. EA got the completely wrong demographics' attention just by using a series they were fond of; a problem easily avoided through new IP.

Andrew Wilson seems to at least realize that EA has an image problem. In some ways a feel a little sorry for him, he's inherited a LOT of shit in the pipeline from the Ricatello days and i think the feels he needs to at least mitigate some of the massive ill will that has piled up towards EA. BUT i think EA is still EA and he can eat all the shit he wants and flagellate himself all day, it won't matter. What does matter is results. I'll believe it when i see it.

I haven't bought an EA game in years. Not because of any boycott but because they have increasingly failed to deliver anything interesting or even functional. The only EA games i've been vaguely interested in have been the Crysis games and they came out of their partnership with Crytek, they were not specifically in house 'EA' games (EA really needs that partners program back, it was one of the only good things they have done because they were not involved with the dev side).

In terms of Dungeon Keeper. Good lord that game was horrible. Not only because of it's abuse of the player but because there was a big shrug of "This is what we've learned to accept" from the mobile gaming side of things. I think it helped demonstrate just how fucked touch gaming is and in my opinion has helped further solidify the movement against it and mass migration by Independent developers.

Dungeon Keeper Mobile was a full on travesty, a kind of living example of why we can't have nice things. A perfect illustration of just how far backwards mobile waiting gaming has regressed from even the 1990s and just how willing, even hungry, to accept this the big publishers where.

It's easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission am I right EA? These guys will never learn. There was outcry from the very beginning about this but they chose to ignore it. So like others are speculating, I'm sure they didn't make as much money as they hoped otherwise they would of kept their mouths shut, ethics be damned.

I guess EA's PR department saw how Ubisoft were taking a beating lately and thought might as well throw this out in to the wild hoping to go unnoticed.

mjharper:

2) Does this smack of Schadenfreude to anyone else? Ubisoft are currently the focus of much controversy at the moment, and here's EA apologising for screwing up Dungeon Keeper. To me it has the ring of 'See, we're not as bad as Ubisoft, are we?'

No, I didn't see EA delighting in Ubisoft's misfortunes.

Battlefield 3 was the last game I bought from EA, and BOY did I learn my bloody lesson. The company is simply incapable of making a non-cash-grab product if their life depended on it.

EA hasn't learned a damn thing, their own words are the proof of that. At this point is their any real doubt left they are even capable or willing to change at all?

It was a horrible piece of shit for everyone involved. This wasn't even about the dollar value, the game is a piece of shit.

It ought to be criminal to build something like this, but you don't care, you are incapable of caring EA.

Just do the world a favor and just die already.

"Here at EA, we love to casually talk about "lessons" we've learned. Usually these lessons are simple morals and principles which for everybody else have been as easy as breathing for their entire adult lives." - EA's Andrew Wilson, 2014.

"we promise we'll never do this specific thing again"

*rifles through file cabinet of anti-consumer tactics for money and throws away one sheet of paper*

they couldn't apologize without slipping in their argument that tricking people into liking something that is worse means that it is not worse

like somehow their own self serving justifications seem reasonable out loud without bribing people

Hero in a half shell:
EA repeatedly say a lot of positive things.

EA repeatedly do a lot of negative things.

Ebenezer Scrooge proved he had changed by acting different, being more generous and open, and actually acting upon his promises. EA have yet to prove they have changed.

image

MEND YOUR WAYS EBENEZER!

Henceforth, EA shall be known as Ebenezer Arts. A squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old publisher!

I havn't played a EA game since Mass Effect 2, probably won't be changing any time soon. A new Dungeon Keeper might have fixed tha-OH WAIT, NO IT WOULDN'T!
image

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