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EA refocusing on ‘hits’, mixed feelings here

Two thoughts when I read that EA was going to alter their strategy by focusing ‘hits’ and releasing fewer titles.

1) Less shovelware = awesome.  ‘Hits’ before ‘*hits’, imo.  There goes half the Wii titles next year.

2) Battlefield 3 will be quickly followed by 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9…. and we’ll never see a new ip again.

Ideologically, which means ignoring the fact that we’d have a bazillion sequels to a few games, focusing on making fewer but better games is the (safe) way to go and something I’d love to see as long as there was diversity.  This goes hand in hand with why social and mobile gaming are 99% garbage and why Nintendo is also refocusing back onto the core gamer.   If you make enough crap, eventually the place is going to stink.

We’ll see.  I want to be like “Heck yes, more Battlefield!” but I dread thinking “oh muh gawd look what they did to Battlefield” or when they replace the 30+ different titles with 22+ sequels and the hits turn to ‘*hits’ and we never see a new game again.

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Comments

  1. NBarnes says:

    Meh. It’s just video game production finding out what Hollywood’s known forever; there’s no formula and you can’t predict what’s going to catch on and render your carefully laid business plans to waste. EA’s choosing a path that big studios have trodden down over and over and they always change their minds. The fact of the matter is that ‘shovelware’ is the necessary by-product of the creative process that gives us good new games and game concepts. Not every creative venture pans out. Almost every modern game is necessarily made by committee; sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

    If EA succeeds in doing away with shovelware, eventually all they will have is a stable of played-out ‘*hits’ and no developers capable of saving them because everybody with a soul left to work someplace interesting.

  2. “focusing on making fewer but better games is the (safe) way to go and something I’d love to see as long as there was diversity”

    Reducing the number of titles released and increasing gaming diversity are mutually exclusive goals.

  3. What happens is they don’t support their games like games of old … releasing expansions and dlc that just bifurcates the player base so much that there is no community and no long term game sales. Publishers are so concerned with their week one/day one or even the amount of pre-orders they completey forget the advantageous aspect of supporting a product that long terms sales sometimes will outweigh short term gain.

    I point to games like Team fortress 2, which now have a cult following and have new players each week still. Combine digital download (almost no payout for the publish bar the bandwidth cost) and low costs of software and a thriving community = allot more cash. Rather than hyping it up hoping to get big week 1 sales figures before the rest of the populace starts reading hte reviews that the game actually sucks and is just like the last incarnation of (see fifa, maddens, PGA tour golf and NBA games that they have churned out for the last 10-15 years).

  4. Is this EA as a whole, meaning every department (EA Sports, 989, etc) or just games branded with just EA (Battlefield, etc)?

    UnSub is right, especially when it comes to a company with as many divisions as EA where they release 19 sports games 12 FPS and 33 “other” games a year. They won’t be able to release 12 games total this year that are going to be great without losing out on some of the franchises that are just clones of last years games, yet still sell incredibly well. They aren’t going to see a lot of diversity when they’ve gone whole hog into dusting off last years model for this years launch.

    Looking at a company like Nintendo however and one can see where they can turn this corner easily and refocus back on the games they hooked back in the 8-bit days. And for them, it’s not even about their game creation, it can be about what they license.

  5. @Ghiest
    I would like to echo this. A few weeks back I was finally willing to buy Black Ops. I went on Steam then realized I would need the DLC to play with the majority of the community. Now I’m buying the game + and expansion for a game… I really just “kinda” want to play.

    Early this week I saw an ad for MW3 so now I’m not going to get Black Ops at all because when it releases no one will play it. There is no reason to buy a year old game from alot of these companies because the DLC and releases make them outdated.

    To carry on with that, and to build off of Brian, I don’t think this is going to affect EA’s sports franchise at all. Imagine the console community if you told them, sorry no new Madden game this year.

    I think this is where console games were at 4 or 5 years ago. The majority of games were a sequel and you let one or two games come out and test new IPs.

  6. @Unsub: In reality I believe you are correct.

  7. Shadrah says:

    This could be a good move on their part. I don’t give EA much credit. I haven’t for a long time, but maybe.. just MAYBE.. this is a good thing. Fingers crossed and such. I doubt it.. but we could get some very quality titles out of this. Let’s just hope this isn’t leaning towards the -1 CoD game per year- model.

  8. This remembers me of that:

    “For most of the 20th century, ICI was Britain’s largest and most successful manufacturing company. In 1987, ICI described its business purpose thus: “ICI aims to be the world’s leading chemical company, serving customers internationally through the innovative and responsible application of chemistry and related science. Through achievement of our aim, we will enhance the wealth and well-being of our shareholders, our employees, our customers and the communities which we serve and in which we operate.”

    ICI’s corporate portfolio had evolved over the decades – the company’s traditional strengths had been dyes and explosives, but its chemical expertise had taken it into other industrial feedstocks and agricultural fertilisers. After the second world war, the management of ICI concluded that in future “the responsible application of chemistry” was most likely to be found in pharmaceuticals. ICI recruited a team of able, young, academic scientists but the team was slow to bring returns.

    The pharmaceutical division was a drain of ICI resources until, in the 1960s, the discovery of beta-blockers gave the company the first effective drug for controlling hypertension. More discoveries followed and, by the 1980s, pharmaceuticals had become the growth engine of the company.

    In 1991, Hanson, the predatory UK conglomerate that had successfully acquired and reorganised sluggish British manufacturing businesses such as Ever Ready and Imperial Tobacco, bought a modest stake in ICI. While the threat to the company’s independence did not last long, the effects were galvanising. ICI restructured its operations and floated the pharmaceutical division as a separate business, Zeneca. The rump business of ICI declared a new mission statement: “Our objective is to maximise value for our shareholders by focusing on businesses where we have market leadership, a technological edge and a world competitive cost base.”

    While the National Parks Service had moved from a narrow, focused objective to a broader holistic view of forest management. ICI made the opposite shift – from a grand vision of the responsible application of chemistry to a narrow concentration on established, successful activities. The aim of bringing benefit to a wide range of stakeholders was replaced by the specific objective of creating shareholder value from narrowly focused operations. The company translated this into an operational strategy by disposing of the company’s interests in bulk chemicals to acquire a niche group of speciality businesses: ICI, once the main supplier of chemical products to one third of the world, was reinvented as a smells company.”

    http://www.johnkay.com/2004/01/17/obliquity

  9. Continued, sorry for the lot of text. Delete it if you want ;)

    “The outcome was not successful in any terms, including those of creating shareholder value. The share price peaked in 1998, soon after the new strategy was announced. The decline since then has been relentless. After two successive dividend cuts the company was ejected in early 2003 from the FTSE 100 index, the transition from industrial giant to mid-cap corporation had taken only 12 years.”

  10. Trimethicon says:

    I stand by my opinion that EA is the anti-Christ of gaming, I don’t care how they’ve “softened”, or how people think its a new EA. They’re still run by a bunch of non-gamers, who wouldn’t know a controller from a stock option, looking to make games that make money, rather then making good games that then in turn make money.

    I’ll bet my molars that every damn title EA releases will be a sequel, or have a I, II, II or XII after its title.