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.