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EA Reorganizes Into Four Labels 97

Posted by Zonk
from the too-big-for-its-britches dept.
Reuters is reporting that the mega-publisher EA will soon be reorganized into four separate labels underneath the company's umbrella. The four groups will be known as EA Games, EA Sports, EA Casual Entertainment, and a label simply called 'The Sims'. All four organizations will be supported by two additional EA groups, which will handle publishing and 'development services'. "The changes, based on the success of a pilot program that placed games based on "The Sims" franchise into their own unit, mean it will require fewer executives to sign off on new games or to approve launching an existing game on a different platform or in a different regions. "We ran an organizational experiment and it was pretty damn successful. The Sims grew aggressively," Frank Gibeau, head of the new EA Games unit said."
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EA Reorganizes Into Four Labels

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  • hmm (Score:5, Funny)

    by User 956 (568564) on Monday June 18, 2007 @11:08PM (#19560347) Homepage
    The four groups will be known as EA Games, EA Sports, EA Casual Entertainment, and a label simply called 'The Sims'.

    That's odd. I would have expected the fourth one to be "Madden"
    • Re:hmm (Score:5, Funny)

      by secretwhistle (1116881) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @12:56AM (#19561115)
      I would have thought EA Sports would just be named "Roster Update."
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jZnat (793348) *
        If EA still had competition from developers like Sega in the football games subgenre, this wouldn't be necessarily true. However, since they got an exclusive deal with the NFL over the names of teams, players, stadiums, stats, etc., they don't have to do anything but update the roster really. Although, Madden '07 for Wii, I hear, was actually innovative and fun.
    • good news dude.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Subacultcha (921910)
      Actually, I would have expected "Pestilence", "War", "Famine", and "Death", but I can see how the 4th one could be "The Sims".
    • by Rhonwyn (49658)
      EA Madden, EA Movie Games, EA Hoyle games, The Sims.
  • Speedy? (Score:5, Funny)

    by toleraen (831634) on Monday June 18, 2007 @11:12PM (#19560371)
    "The changes, based on the success of a pilot program that placed games based on "The Sims" franchise into their own unit, mean it will require fewer executives to sign off on new games or to approve launching an existing game on a different platform or in a different regions.

    I guess its the bureaucracy that's been holding them back from releasing madden twice a year then? I'm definitely looking forward to madden 07.5 now!
    • Re:Speedy? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sglider (648795) on Monday June 18, 2007 @11:18PM (#19560423) Homepage Journal
      You aren't kidding. What they don't realize is that what works for Madden and The Sims (releasing an expansion or 'booster' pack every 3 months) doesn't work for PC Multiplayer games like the Battlefield Series.

      Battlefield 2 sold well, but they tried to capitalize on that by releasing BF2:Special Forces, and Armored Fury and Euro Forces in quick succession, and were rebuffed by the community.

      They then didn't learn from their mistake by releasing Battlefield 2142 a scant year after BF2 came out, and it only surpassed BF2 in hours played the first week. Now, it barely registers on the top ten for Xfire [xfire.com], and doesn't hold a good spot on Gamespy's Server list [gamespy.com] either.
      • by TobyWong (168498)
        Special Forces was great but due to design limitations it had to be run as a completely seperate mod, i.e. you couldn't add it into rotation with vanilla maps. That kind of doomed it from the start. Grappling hooks and ziplines are *amazing* additions to FPS gameplay/battle tactics though.

        Euro Forces and Armored Fury were just shitty big maps with way too many vehicles. A lot of players (including me) can't stand vehicle heavy maps.

        2142 while from a technical standpoint is not an earthshattering improvem
        • I'll agree to that. Sometimes the problem with BF is that its _too big_. 2142 lets you get back into combat in a few seconds, even if you spawn back at base. The ships are way easier to control, and Titans are way more fun than aircraft carriers or the like.
      • by Aladrin (926209)
        I think you have it backwards. The corporate structure was holding back The Sims, not the other games. They did an experiment and found The Sims sold a lot more games if let run more free. They don't see any -harm- in changing the structure for the rest to match, but there's no indication they intend to treat the other games like The Sims. In fact, they indicate the opposite by their choice of groups. If The Sims was lumped with anything else, we could assume that other thing was like The Sims to them.
      • I think you have EA's goal mixed up. You don't want to create a non subscription based game that people will play forever. The longer you have players playing your game the longer they won't be buying your new product. Generally the perfect lifespan for a game would be to last just short of the time it takes you to put out your next game.

        So from your example Battlefield 2142 would be the more successful title. They were able to get big launch sales and then the games popularity died out shortly after. The f
  • "We ran an organizational experiment and it was pretty damn successful. The Sims grew aggressively,"

    I see, they're going to release this expansion pack that makes Sims grew aggresively...
  • ...ea 1942. or 2142. or "we like 19-21 monitors, but won't support widescreen rez-42". i'd think that'd be a cash cow, too.
  • How is this new? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Myria (562655) on Monday June 18, 2007 @11:30PM (#19560535)

    The changes, based on the success of a pilot program that placed games based on "The Sims" franchise into their own unit

    Wasn't that "pilot program" called Maxis?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Cheapy (809643)
      My favorite Maxis game? Streets of Sim City. All the fun of building a city without the whole "appeasing the citizens", "ensuring economic prosperity", or "keeping people alive" distractions.

      Plus it had cars with rocket launchers. How cool was that?

      Realistic? No. Educational? Maybe for learning how to blow things up. Allowing a 10 year old me to play a game with explosions all while being able to say that it was SimCity? Oh yeah.
    • by bot24 (771104)
      I'm pretty sure Maxis made the original The Sims and then EA bought Maxis. The same way EA bought Bullfrog, Westwood, ...
  • The Sims label (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bongo Bill (853669) on Monday June 18, 2007 @11:45PM (#19560639) Homepage
    Would that just be, um, Maxis?
  • ...but I just kinda said, "Fuck it," ya know?
  • Easy. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by moosesocks (264553) on Monday June 18, 2007 @11:45PM (#19560645) Homepage
    Easy.

    Spin your "studios" off, and back into independent units with a good degree of autonomy.

    Maxis and Westwood were both fantastic on their own, and produced a whole bunch of innovative and fun games. Since being absorbed into the EA empire, they haven't produced a single new idea (not to mention that C&C Generals was outright offensive)
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      i freakin love the offensive-ness of C&C Generals... seriously, "I VEEL MAKE THE SACRAFICE" is one of the greatest audio clips... ever.

      some other great ones:
      "I need some shoes."
      "Please, don't huuurt me!"
      "Can i have some shoes?"

      politically incorrect middle eastern terrorists. gatta love it.
      • I don't know, Blizzard had some great ones, too.

        For example, the human peasants (units that build buildings) in Warcraft II [gamefaqs.com] will say, after you've clicked them enough times:

        "Now what?"
        "More work?!"
        "Leave me alone"
        "I don't wanna do this"
        "I'm not listening"

        Alleria, a female elf that only appears in certain levels, has this to say (keeping in mind that the cursor is a hand)

        "You never touch the other elves like that"
        "Do that again and you'll pull back a stump"

        Most of them aren't funny. The really funny ones ap
        • Hold up a second:
          Making fun of medieval peasants is a bit different from making offensive jokes about a sensitive political and cultural issue.
          • Right, but AC also said it was one of the greatest audio clips ever.

            I probably should have quoted that part in my own post, as I was ignoring the offensive part.
        • Most of them aren't funny.


          What, you didn't like the Human Footman?

          "Are you *still* touching me?"
          "Don't you have a kingdom to run?"
          "Join the army, they said."
          "See the *world*, they said."
          "I'd rather be sailing."

          Or the Orc Ships?
          "Yo ho!"
          "Who wants to sing?"
          "La la la la la..."

          Or Goblin Sappers?
          "We've got explosives!"
          "KABOOOOM!"
          "Ohhhh, it's beautyful."

          Chris Mattern
    • by KDR_11k (778916)
      Wait, first you complain about no new ideas, then they change the C&C series heavily and you call it offensive?
    • Don't forget Bullfrog.
  • Mislabelled (Score:4, Funny)

    by GFree (853379) on Monday June 18, 2007 @11:48PM (#19560677)

    The four groups will be known as EA Games, EA Sports, EA Casual Entertainment, and a label simply called 'The Sims'.

    Those groups don't representative EA well enough I think. They probably should be renamed as:

    The four groups will be known as EA Shit, EA Bullshit, EA Thisissoshit, and a label simply called 'The Sims'.
  • by joystickgenie (913297) <joleske@joystickgenie.com> on Monday June 18, 2007 @11:54PM (#19560721) Homepage
    Other then in internal upper management command chains does this really change anything? EA has pretty much already had these separations in place with few exceptions.

    EA Games: EA Redwood Shores and EA LA
    EA Sports: EA Canada, EA Tiburon, EA Chicago and EA UK
    EA Casual Entertainment: Pogo and EA Mobil
    The Sims: Maxis

    Really what is the difference between what is going no now and what has been going on for years?
    • by RyoShin (610051)
      Their art department gets to make shiny new logos.

      Also, they get to say "The Sims by the Sims", thereby breaking many people's brains.
  • by wbren (682133) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @12:18AM (#19560885) Homepage
    I'd hate to work for that division, unless EA promised to reallocate me within another division when The Sims loses popularity. Talk about putting all your eggs in one basket... People inevitably lose interest in a game over time (even World of Warcraft [gigaom.com] perhaps).
    • by crossmr (957846)
      Yes of all the franchises out there, The Sims looks like its the most likely to lose momentum. They've cross-branded the crap out of this franchise and you can't blink without tripping over a new expansion pack, or port to a new system.

      They have the female demographic pretty much wrapped up. between teeny boppers and bored housewives you couldn't print money this fast.
    • by KDR_11k (778916)
      I would assume the Sims division is not exclusively dedicated to the Sims games, wouldn't be surprising if that was the name for Wright's division since that guy has named most of his games Sim____.
    • Yes, just like barbie and other dolls, the popularity will soon wane...
  • by Bombula (670389) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @12:21AM (#19560919)
    This kind of nonsense from corporations is very revealing. In massive conglomerates, one corporation (i.e.: PepsiCo) may own a subsidiary unit quite different from its original flagship enterprise (i.e.: Taco Bell vs Pepsi). In these situations of acquisition, the challenge is to line up the hierarchy of management with the hierarchy of ownership. It's a challenge, but effective organizations usually manage to get the entire show running as a single, albeit complex and multifaceted, business.

    To take an existing company and split it up into smaller sections - whether spin-offs, labels, or whatever - is basically a bullshit move from the standpoint of management. If it's branding we're talking about, that's one thing. Differentiating among brands to target different markets is fine. But to actually split an organization up into separate operating units and decentralize their organizational structure is the new-age crap of the late 80s and 90s that ended up being a giant fart in the spacesuit of business.

    Properly managed, a single organization can be of any size and any complexity. Good management will implement organizational decentralization as necessary, and as a corollary will also integrate management of operating units at appropriate decision-making levels to ensure optimum efficiency (management-speak would insert the bullshit word 'synergies' here).

    Long story short, if EA was being managed properly in the first place, it wouldn't need to be split apart. The fact that its operating units can't be creative unless they pretend they're separate companies is a sign that the management has no idea what it's doing.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by servognome (738846)

      Properly managed, a single organization can be of any size and any complexity. Good management will implement organizational decentralization as necessary, and as a corollary will also integrate management of operating units at appropriate decision-making levels to ensure optimum efficiency (management-speak would insert the bullshit word 'synergies' here).

      It could happen, but it is very difficult to manage. Sometimes 'synergy' turns out to really be a handicap for individual business units. It is difficu

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Bombula (670389)
        Your points are well made. Just some additions to them: the two points - stockholders losing sight of the big picture when evaluating individual business units, and tax and regulatory benefits of decentralization - are related via the accounting department through what's called 'transfer pricing'. Let me explain by way of example:

        Would you buy multivitamins from China at $850 a pound, plastic buckets from the Czech Republic for $973 each, tissues from China at $1,874 a pound, a cotton dishtowel from Pakis

        • stockholders losing sight of the big picture when evaluating individual business units

          I tend to give investors more credit, its not they lose sight of the big picture, it's that the big picture is murky at best. Is MS losing hundreds of millions of dollars on the Xbox good or bad, it's hard to say in the context of the overall company.
          That also brings up another good reason to split up the company, which is to try and get a return on an investment. For example, MS has invested a lot of money on Xbox &

  • Ratio of each group's developers that quit.

    "I don't get it, Bob. Nobody wants to be in the group that does nothing but the Sims."
    • by Dadoo (899435)
      You're probably right. I picked up "The Sims 2" a while ago. Given its popularity, I assumed it must be a pretty good game. To be honest, I can't figure out how to play it. I don't even know what the object is. I'll probably try again, at some point, but not before I check out a few strategy guides.

      I wonder if the "Sim City" stuff will be in the same group.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by tepples (727027)

        You're probably right. I picked up "The Sims 2" a while ago. Given its popularity, I assumed it must be a pretty good game. To be honest, I can't figure out how to play it. I don't even know what the object is. I'll probably try again, at some point, but not before I check out a few strategy guides.

        I wonder if the "Sim City" stuff will be in the same group.

        Actually, no. Some digital sandboxes still have goals that players regard as the main mission:

        • SimCity Classic: put 500,000 people into one town and beat all scenarios. (The manual for the Super NES version admitted that this was the mission.)
        • Harvest Moon: get a positive evaluation of your farm.
        • Animal Crossing: pay off your house and all expansions (1.4 million bells on GCN, 3.5 million bells on DS) and get a perfect town (about 13 trees per acre).

        The Sims, on the other hand...

      • From what time I've put into it, the main goal is to see how long your Sims can "hold it." Like a long car trip with the kids.
  • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @12:49AM (#19561063) Homepage

    This is really a split based on the needed qualifications of the divisional executives:

    • "Games" division - needs an actual game producer in charge. Most R&D in this unit.
    • "Sports" division - needs a jock, who hires other jocks, to make games jocks like. Ongoing updates and upgrades, but not much innovation needed. Technology comes from games division and outside suppliers.
    • "Casual" division - needs a sales type good at sucking up to cell phone companies. For mobile games, the market is the cell phone company, not the end user.
    • "Sims" division - whoever was running that project at Maxis.
  • Maybe I'm a little cynical, but it seems that when corporate reorganizations end up with one specific product split out from the rest, it means that product is about played out and the new structure will make it much easier to kill that product off. Much tidier, too - Sims, Inc. goes out of business and there's no problems with laid off workers, etc. to deal with.

    EA has had enough "employee problems" over the years so it's entirely possible that they could see this as their golden opportunity to trim the p

  • by goodenoughnickname (874664) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @02:02AM (#19561585)
    EA Pestilence, EA War, EA Famine, and EA Death
  • I can't care less how they got reorganized. Where is my new version of The Incredible Machine!

    If they called the Maxis division "The Sims", looks like T.I.M. isn't coming any time soon :((
    • by Megane (129182)
      It's going to be released under the EA Sports label. And they're changing the name slightly. It will now be called The Incredible Madden.
    • Totally. Or Road Rash for that matter. Forget all the shitty 3D titles and harken back to the golden days of genesis, get Criterion, makers of Burnout, to do an update, profit!.
    • The Incredible Machine was a Sierra game, not EA. I'm pretty sure it would come from Vivendi.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I'm actually hoping that they make "The Sims" division stand for all Sim games, not just the one they've milked to death. That would open up a lot of possibilities. SimFarm,while a horrible game overall, was a lot of fun at times; a decent update could work well. SimCity, SimEarth, SimAnt, etc. could all do well if they would focus resources on them and give them a chance. Then open up new ones, like SimMachine, and I could see things going really, really well for that division.
  • TFA fails to mention that the reason for this is that the EA Bugs division was disbanded because they found out that instead of spending time carefully putting CTDs inn and unbalancing gameplay, they could simplify the whole process of bug development by just corrupting the EXE file so every time on startup it gives out a BSOD.

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