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Electronic Arts Up For Sale? 196

Posted by Soulskill
from the take-a-check? dept.
John Wagger writes "One of the world's largest gaming publishers and developers Electronic Arts has quietly put itself up for sale. While there have already been talks with private equity companies, the talks have not resulted in anything concrete. One of the sources is saying that EA would do the deal for $20 per share (currently at $14.02). Over the past year, EA's stock price has fallen 37 percent. Like other major game publishers, EA has been struggling against growing trend of social and mobile gaming."
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Electronic Arts Up For Sale?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 18, 2012 @01:56PM (#41037669)

    EA has a long history of pressuring developers to rush out projects before they are ready. If they claim they are struggling to compete with social gaming, it has way more to do with people not having to download 3 additional patches a game to get a finished product than social gaming being more popular.

    • by arth1 (260657) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @03:05PM (#41038299) Homepage Journal

      EA has a long history of pressuring developers to rush out projects before they are ready. If they claim they are struggling to compete with social gaming, it has way more to do with people not having to download 3 additional patches a game to get a finished product than social gaming being more popular.

      With EA, the customer pays for patches and a finished game through DLC.

      Releasing unfinished products and then using DLC to extract even more money from customers who have already started hating you isn't exactly a recipe for continued success.

      As for "social gaming" (which really means casual gaming, because there's not much social about playing Angry Birds), that isn't a competitor. It's not like people buy a simple game instead of good games - it's an addition, played under different circumstances and times.

      I'm not going to play Flight Simulator X, L4D2 or Borderlands during my lunch break. (Those are social games, by the way.) But I may play a game on my phone/tablet/PSP.

      • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Saturday August 18, 2012 @03:22PM (#41038453) Journal

        Jim Sterling at Zero Punctuation [escapistmagazine.com] spells out in this videos EXACTLY why EA is in the shape its in, and it all comes down to screwing the customers. day one DLC, online passes for single player games, overdone DRM crap, watch the video because he gives a list of just one douchebag practice after another with EA. he says they are a perfect example of the bloated, overblown, grey sludge spewing corporate game publisher. Everything the industry does wrong? EA does it worse and I have to agree.

        Once upon a time EA was a great gaming house, now they just spit out one more generic POS after another and like Symantec and MSFT just destroy any company that is stupid enough to be bought by then instead of using that talent to make even better games. Bullfrog, Westwood, the list of companies gutted by EA is a long one and in each case EA lost what could have been another great team making great products. So yeah no surprise here, company puts out overpriced garbage and treats its customers like crap, company goes to hell.

        I'd love to see how much Origin cost them, my guess is that was the final boat anchor that sunk them as I know a LOT of people, myself included, that were lined up to buy a product for them and when we saw it was Origin said "fuck that!" and bought something else. I learned after GFWL that if it requires anything other than Steam to avoid like the plague, and the rep EA got for banhammering any customer that dared to complain about bad service was just the shit icing on the fail cake.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 18, 2012 @04:08PM (#41038799)

          What frustrates me is this: the specific people who are responsible for these bad decisions will all ride out on golden parachutes. The punishment for their failures, and the near-universal hatred they earned, will be a life of wealth and luxury and (probably) another chance to pull the same crap again at a different company for even more wealth and luxury.

          One thing is clear: humans are not very good at justice.

          • by NatasRevol (731260) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @05:19PM (#41039431) Journal

            It's not that hard to name them, is it?

            http://www.ea.com/executives [ea.com]

            • I like how, according to that page, they're all busy playing video games instead of giving a crap. (And a few are even playing multiple games at once!)
            • by Man On Pink Corner (1089867) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @07:20PM (#41040551)

              I love the CEO's bio:

              Prior to joining Electronic Arts, he served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the worldwide bakery division at Sara Lee Corporation. He also served as President and CEO of Wilson Sporting Goods Co. and held executive positions at Haagen-Dazs, PepsiCo, Inc. and The Clorox Company. Mr. Riccitiello holds a Bachelors of Science degree from University of California, Berkeley. Mr. Riccitiello lives with his wife and children in the San Francisco Bay Area.

              I guess he decided to apply at EA after he made his mark on the ice cream, bleach, sugar water, and coffee cake industries.

              Sounds like a real gamer's gamer. I wonder where he'll end up next? Monsanto? Amway? JC Penney? General Motors?

          • I used to work for an asshole that made stupid decisions I didn't agree with. Rather than keep screwing customers needlessly I quit that job. I have no sympathy for the drones. They know where they work.

            If you hate the machine but love every little sprocket, bolt and nut, then you should be glad to see them torn apart and used to make something better.

      • Not entirely correct with the "paying for patches" angle, in my experience at least. Within a month of buying Battlefield 3 I had to download a patch, then another a couple of months later, then a third a month after that. Each patch was in the 2Gb range because it included all of the new maps and DLC, the patch itself was only around 50Mb. You couldn't access the DLC without paying for it, although the patch did work. You did, however, have to download it.

        Not that any of this is relevant to my lif
    • by Dunbal (464142) * on Saturday August 18, 2012 @03:39PM (#41038549)
      Not only that but perhaps people are finally getting fed up of "Last Decade's Popular Title XIII" and such iterations. But hey, blame piracy, right? The sweetest thing is that while there may not be any more Electronic Arts games once this leviathan goes down, there will always be new and innovative games. Ubisoft should be next. SSI was great. Ubisoft showed promise but committed suicide.
      • by hairyfeet (841228)

        Here's the thing about piracy that nobody ever seems to mention. I've known a ton of guys that would pirate "modern shooter crapfest of the week" but were they actually playing it? Good God no, its total crap unless you are into the MP and you can't get the MP from a pirate copy. No what they were doing was using it for benchmarking because that is what all the other gaming sites were using for benchmarking. Once they had the scores to see how their PC stacked up they'd just toss the poo. So I have to wonde

  • Oh, totally. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 18, 2012 @01:56PM (#41037671)

    Yep, it's totally the market and not the universal hatred that EA has garnered from the gaming community.

    Meanwhile: http://www.gamesradar.com/valve-reports-seventh-year-100-sales-growth-steam/

  • by DayTradingYankee (2694393) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @01:58PM (#41037691)
    Or perhaps they are struggling with the repercussions of how they treat their customers.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Or developers.

      • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdo ... org minus author> on Saturday August 18, 2012 @02:41PM (#41038093)

        I'm most familiar with Maxis, which they bought years ago, and from what I hear it's been a long, slow, EA-style attempt to strangle their creativity and success, which eventually worked. More and more formal management, accounting for your time, meetings, etc.

        Most of the good developers that used to be there have left as it got more corporate: Chris Hecker [chrishecker.com] went indie (working on SpyParty), Richard Evans [wikipedia.org] went indie too (since acquired by Linden Labs, working on Cotillion), Chaim Gingold [levitylab.com] went indie and then went back to grad school, etc.

      • by flimflammer (956759) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @03:11PM (#41038361)

        I still miss Westwood Studios... Once EA got their hooks into the Command & Conquer series, it all went down hill.

        • It wasn't just that they bought Westwood out. They bought Westwood out and then laid off a large portion of their developers while they were consolidating the offices of the various places they had bought out. It was pretty obvious that they had bought them out for the IP, and I will never forgive them for that.

          The last EA title I bought was C&C Renegade. They pushed it out so far before it was ready that there was only one multiplayer mode of the ~6 that were planned. This being before DLC was a thing,

    • Wishful thinking. Or did you miss the double- and triple-digit millions of dollars worth of new AAA games they're selling?

      Customers, unfortunately, don't care. Those who actually take the time to talk about it here and elsewhere are the vocal minority.

      • by peragrin (659227)

        He trick with publishers is while EA may beon the box it isnt always easy to spot until after you buy it

        Publishing companies live in a strange isolated world. Isolated from mouthy end users( people who use product). Because of that it takes a long time to feel the pain of users screaming.

    • by symbolset (646467) *
      This. I had a recent unpleasant experience with their customer service. Never again.
  • Don't go it alone... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 18, 2012 @02:00PM (#41037713)

    Maybe they should have partnered and kept their products on Steam rather than trying to compete against Gabe. Lord knows I haven't played a PC game from EA since they took all their products off Steam.

  • Reasons for trouble (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 18, 2012 @02:01PM (#41037727)

    I would like to imagine that any financial problems EA is seeing are also a result of their shockingly poor handling of developers, unethical treatment of customers, misguided use of DRM, and famously incompetent management.

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @02:17PM (#41037879) Journal

      I would like to imagine that any financial problems EA is seeing are also a result of their shockingly poor handling of developers, unethical treatment of customers, misguided use of DRM, and famously incompetent management.

      Famously incompetent you say? We should probably award them a lucrative retention bonus immediately, lest they abandon ship to mismanage somebody else.

      • by jd2112 (1535857)
        Let's start making golden parachutes out of actual gold. And then let executives use them after being thrown from the corporate jet.
        • Are you familiar with the (almost certainly apocryphal; but pretty excellent) treatment given to one Marcus Licinius Crassus after his management career came to an abrupt and sticky end? That might also serve as an interesting model...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 18, 2012 @02:04PM (#41037765)

    It's got to be someone with the same sets of goals, primarily being evil. There are only a few companies I can think of that are evil enough to possibly buy EA.

    First off, in the games arena, there's already Zynga. A ZyngEA merger would create the ultimate evil games company.

    Next up, in media, would probably be ComcastNBCUniversal. They've got wide coverage in the world of entertainment, and would definitely have some evil synergy with EA. ComcastNBCUniversalEA would also provide 30 Rock with some new material.

    Finally, if mobile is where they see themselves lacking, why not AT&T? They're regularly hated by their customers, yet manage to prevent most of them from leaving. EA could definitely benefit from this sort of customer lock-in. EAT&T could really screw with quite a few customers. Dropped calls could become a new game, for example.

    • In the year of 2012, in order to combat the growing number of mergers resulting in astronomical losses to shareholders and terrible customer service, the US Supreme Court reversed an earlier decision declaring and breaking up Ma Bell. In a matter of weeks, the super-corporation had reconstituted itself, marking its enemies for death, and dealing ruthlessly with those who had imprisoned it.

      The aftermath, of course, is that all telephone companies are now Bell, and service, which costs $20 / month, is now man

      • by Sipper (462582)

        ...

        The aftermath, of course, is that all telephone companies are now Bell, and service, which costs $20 / month, is now mandatory.

        Heh.. I loved the movie Demolition Man.

    • I'm hoping that Valve might do it and maybe set the developers free from the evil reign of EA.
      • The problem with that is that the developers are like the doves they sell in front of Buddhist temples in Thailand. As soon you set them free they're trained to fly right back.

    • Oracle comes to mind.
      • no wrong type of evil.
        Company evil type 101
        EA is kinda of a general bastardy evil,
        while Oracle is more along the lines of lex luther evil. their ceo lives on a private island and probably has a hairless cat and set on chair above an tank of sharks (possibly with lasers that he won't share the source code to)
        Facebook and zynga and like the master and torgo form manos hand of fate, both evil but there true horrer is not from being evil but from being forced to watch them.
        telecoms are like the sith slowly gain

    • by KiloByte (825081)

      Next up, in media, would probably be ComcastNBCUniversal.

      Or even, AOLTimeWarner.

    • It's got to be someone with the same sets of goals, primarily being evil.

      Ubisoft? They're just as evil and incompetent, with the exact same goals and attitude as EA.

      • Nah, Ubi has a special level of disdain for their customers.

        EA, thinks you are a stupid mouth hole who will eat anything, but they also think of themselves as professional mouth hole feeders.

        Ubi thinks you are a stupid mouth hole, but they also resent you for being fat.

    • by hairyfeet (841228)

      Well it would have to be evil AND incompetent to truly do EA justice so I propose...MSFT. Ballmer has shown he has no problem pissing money down a rathole and with EA he could kill Origin and move it all to GFWL, where every attempt at purchasing a Windows game would be while trying to fight your way through a maze of X360 offers.

      They could then move Madden to the Kinnect so that all the players could have the "fun" of Kinnect trying to guess badly WTF they are trying to go in the game, replace every in g

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      ESPN, 80% owned by Disney, is the logical buyer. ESPN gets EA Sports and Disney uses what's left to make disney-based titles.

  • the revenge of DRM (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Gravis Zero (934156) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @02:06PM (#41037779)

    anyone who plays games that use EA's "always connected" DRM are going to be screwed shortly.

    • by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Saturday August 18, 2012 @02:39PM (#41038083)

      The state of computer games - inability to own and resell, the whole DRM diarrhea including "always connected" - is a shame, but clearly the customers are so addicted that even as they complain, they continue to fork over dump-truck loads of cash. There is *NO* incentive for game companies to behave any other way.

      • by Osgeld (1900440)

        They really dont, most of their audiences are children who dont give a shit and their customers are the parents who dont know anything else but to buy game X so their little shit quits screaming. That is the majority of game sales in a sentence.

      • by kesuki (321456)

        kickstarter, google play, iphone app store... there are as many (mostly garbage) games coming out as when the console market crash of 1983. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_American_video_game_crash_of_1983 [wikipedia.org] and facebook games are all alike and none of them are fun unless you got a million dollars to blow on speeding up the worthless by design model. in one game i've played you could easily pass 1 million dollars worth of uber items, fast leveling, fast resource gain, etc etc.

    • "And we told them it was a license good for their lifetime! Lol!"

    • by ArhcAngel (247594)
      Figures...I have always been a single player game kinda guy. I finally come across a multiplayer I am getting into (Mass Effect 3) and it'll be shut down in a few weeks. I even agonized about getting ME3 at all since I couldn't purchase it through STEAM. I'm truly sorry everybody. It's obviously my fault.
  • Dear Gaben (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dyinobal (1427207) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @02:09PM (#41037803)
    Dear Gaben, please use some of that money you keep in your money pool to buy EA, and then make it awesome.
    • I...I think I second this.

    • by agrif (960591)

      Dear Gaben, please use some of that money you keep in your money pool to buy EA, and then make it awesome.

      I thought this too, for about a second. There's a lot of good IP that EA holds that could do with a very long and loving Valve-style update. But this would be a very dangerous move to make.

      Valve is flat. Everybody decides for themselves what to work on. This is a hard environment to maintain, and so their hiring process is extremely important. It would be almost impossible to work in former EA employees without causing a major upset in Valve's company culture. The other option would be buying them but runni

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @02:16PM (#41037867) Journal

    EA certainly has a lousy reputation; but it strikes me that video game publishers in general would be a very odd thing to purchase whole if they are selling because of hard times...

    Presumably there is the back catalog; but most games don't hold their value that well over time(not necessarily a serious issue if the game still runs on current versions of Windows and you can just shove it out as a download at impulse-purchase prices; but if the game is bitrotten or encumbered in some contractual issue, you probably aren't going to be able to charge enough to make it worth fixing...).

    There are also likely some developers/artists/etc. but the demographics of game industry workers seem to skew toward young and mobile. Especially if the ship is sinking you can probably hire them piecemeal, and you can't necessarily retain them if you buy the whole thing.

    Would you be paying for the various franchises? How much is it worth to legally sell "Command and Conquer: Kane Cashes It In" vs. selling an otherwise equivalent grim-near-future-warfare-and-alien-minerals RTS?

    Surely "Origin" can't be worth much more than the precious metals in the servers it runs on, minus the cost of extracting them.

    Again, EA seems like a particularly unpalatable purchase; but I'm a bit confused about the idea of buying any down-at-heel publisher. It seems like being down-at-heel suggests that the whole is not greater than the sum of the parts, and that most of the parts are either optional, not very valuable, or available for purchase either by offering them a bigger paycheck, or by bidding on a chunk of the publisher's corpse...

    • by Dyinobal (1427207)
      Presumably you'd be buying all the IPs that EA owns, EA after all for the longest time has been buying developers and consuming their IPs.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Consuming is 100% the proper verb; after all, what comes out of that process is complete and utter shit.

    • by alen (225700)

      They have lots of awesome IP, just idiot management who seems unable to execute.

      There are hundreds of millions of mobile devices out there and mobile gamers don't seem to care about ultra realistic graphics and seeing every drop of blood. Mobile gaming is all about gameplay.

      A good buyer will make a killing selling the old games for $10 or less

      • There are hundreds of millions of mobile devices out there and mobile gamers don't seem to care about ultra realistic graphics and seeing every drop of blood. Mobile gaming is all about gameplay.

        False dichotomy. Just because you're playing a game on a device that's incapable of decent video resolution and frame rate doesn't imply that "it's all about gameplay". Far from it, actually, since any notion of good gameplay on mobile devices is hamstrung by horrid touch screen interfaces and an expected price of $1.

        Let's try your analogy on food: "There are millions of consumers of fast food and they don't seem to care about the frills and atmosphere offered by real restaurants. Dining at McDonalds

      • by starfishsystems (834319) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @05:24PM (#41039477) Homepage
        They have lots of awesome IP, just idiot management who seems unable to execute.

        I think I can attest to this.

        I'm a computer scientist who's done a lot of development over the years, as well as large-scale system and network administration. A few months ago, I responded to a job posting for a senior technical position there. The fit seemed great. The description could have been summarizing my career. I spent a whole day in job interviews at EA, having already been phone interviewed with a hiring manager and the VP of the group I'd be working in. The VP and I had gotten along great. We talked about architecture and operations and what each of us saw as emerging paradigms. Before the site visit, I'd also spent a hour answering a detailed technical questionnaire and several hours writing a programming test. (I don't regret this effort: there was an interesting problem to solve and I was quite pleased with the elegance and correctness of my solution.)

        But not once in the entire day of meetings was the programming test ever mentioned, much less my technical qualifications, much less anything about the position for which I'd applied. Everybody I talked to wanted to talk about management style and politics and who reports to whom and what would I do in various hypothetical management situations. I seriously thought that they'd made a mistake and scheduled the wrong candidate that day. But no, it was a case of management seeing the world exclusively in terms of management.

        Apart from that stunning aspect of cognitive disjunction, the day ran very smoothly. I don't know quite how to describe the mood. It was a bit like being at Club Med or on a cruise ship or at a Las Vegas casino. Polished, courteous, competent, friendly, and yet somehow lacking. A bit soulless, a bit careful to not do or say anything even mildly distinctive or controversial. Corporate.

        No surprise, they turned me down for the position, saying they were looking for someone with more of a management orientation. Yeah, well, cool. How would like to put that somewhere in your job posting? We could have all saved ourselves a lot of time. But you see, that's exactly where EA is in trouble. There's a disconnect, and it's stratified. People at the top and in the trenches think EA is one thing, but meanwhile all the middle management are having a fine time carving out turf for themselves and sniping at each other and thinking that's reality.
    • by UnknownSoldier (67820) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @02:38PM (#41038077)

      > Presumably there is the back catalog; but most games don't hold their value that well over time

      Uh, do you know about an effect called "the Long Tail" ?

      Did you also miss all the sales Valve has on Steam or GOG has?? While old games (5+ years) may only sell for $2.99 - $9.99, there are getting to be a lot of older games that don't mind spending $4.99 to buy a legal copy of that "oldie" -- I know I certainly do as many of my steam friends. A $2.99 or $4.99 to own a classic Bullfrog game (Populous, Magic Carpet, etc.) is well worth it. Hell, sell *all* the original Ultima series.

      Don't understand estimate the worth of nostalgia ... IF old games are cheap enough there will be a long trickle of "loose change" for us old geezers.

      • Steam sales are great values for recent games. I picked up a copy of Portal 2 for a nephew for 5 bucks. It's also a great introduction for multiplayer gaming. Just over a year old game for that cheap is a great deal. I can see why steam is doubling their revenue every year.
    • by Trepidity (597)

      EA still has some good development studios; they're not a pure publisher. For example, EA Tiburon develops the quite profitable Madden series. Maxis also has some good talent, although EA's mismanagement means it has less good talent than it used to.

      But probably the franchises are the biggest win, yeah. They have a lot of high-profile ones: Medal of Honor, Dragon Age, The Sims, Dead Space, and the whole EA Sports line.

      • by FSWKU (551325)

        EA still has some good development studios; they're not a pure publisher. For example, EA Tiburon develops the quite profitable Madden series...

        By "develops" you mean "changes the roster, tweaks the icons, and releases a 'new game' every year", correct?

    • by Dan667 (564390)
      I disagree. ea has great IP, but they are so hostile to their Customers they chase away business. If someone that loves gaming bought them and fired all the upper management, put them on the path to mend fences with their Customers their profitability would return. Unfortunately, those who have the cash to buy ea would more than likely be more of the 14 year old MBA crowd that has run ea into he ground.
  • I mean, they probably don't have enough cash, but if they do I'd be quite happy with that outcome. The more 'bad' companies that consolidate under one name, the better. Make it easier to know when to drop a title and run.

    Besides, I'd just love to see what Zynga could do with SWTOR. Integrate with your facebook friends? Add 67 more friends to be able to buy a light sabre from the store, OR buy credits directly from Zynga. Just about $900 a month or a few thousand friends should make sure you have a pleasant

  • by sr8outtalotech (1167835) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @02:41PM (#41038099)
    This part made me laugh, "EA has been struggling against growing trend of social and mobile gaming." You can only exploit a hit game for a few iterations before you have to get off your ass and come up with something new. But, it's hard to come up with something good when the talented developers get wise to your project [mis]management and either leave or won't work for you. http://ea-spouse.livejournal.com/274.html [livejournal.com]
  • by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @02:42PM (#41038105)

    [Blue] Control. You get $14 dollars a share and YOU WILL LIKE IT!
    [Red] Destruction. Go bankrupt.
    [Green] Anti-synthesis. Split apart, releasing all the developers you gobbled up back to their formerly creative ways.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      [Shoot the boy] Nothing happens; EA may or may not be bought out in the next cycle.

  • Social and Mobile gaming appeals to a very small overlap of EA's traditional core audience: invested gamers. Moreover, EA has its own mobile gaming arm.

    EA is tanking because it has tried to cover ALL the bases (Xbox, Playstation, PC/Mac, iPhone, Android, Kindle, Facebook...) and has thus lost the ability to accurately and reliably cater to a single audience. EA has become so big that, like an octopus that has too many arms, can't manage to feed itself.

    If they want to survive and be genuinely profitable, the

    • by Dan667 (564390)
      ea is tanking because they are treating their Customers badly. You only get a short term boost in profits the way ea is running their business and after you damage your brand as badly as ea it is more or less ruined. I see ea on game and just skip it without learning anything more about it.
  • WRONG (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Osgeld (1900440) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @02:50PM (#41038191)

    "EA has been struggling against growing trend of social and mobile gaming."

    wrong, they have been struggling with overpriced shitware

  • investors led by Lord British. That would learn them for messing up Origin Systems.
  • You mean people find it easier to use other games than their crap DRM-laden game stuff like MASS Effect III which I've yet to get to run on my machine -- and am have been unable to contact their customer support because my email (ea@) is now "illegal" to contact "ea" with? (Still has my MEII and Dragon-AGE player records under that login, but now it's an illegal login for customer support.

    Complete and utter Aholes. Hope they get 20c/$.

  • If either Microsoft or Apple buys it i am going to cry.
  • by perlith (1133671) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @03:50PM (#41038651)

    EA has a rich 30 year history behind it. In the past 5-10 years, more power has been put into the consumers hands and has negatively affected their revenues. This is a general trend for the entertainment industry, where a movie/game/etc. can be killed within a day or two of being released. Not defending EA here, instead I'm saying they haven't responded well to this change in the industry.

    Annual report is an interesting read:
    1) High costs
    - $4.1B revenue, $76M profit. Marketing was 21% of net revenue, General/Administrative was 9%, R&D was 29%. When the cost to sell the product exceeds the cost to develop it, there's a major problem.
    - There's also a "cost or revenue" which ate into another 39% of the revenue. Other than third-party royalties which can't be avoided, this item looks really suspicious to eat up that big of a chunk.

    2) Digital and mobile
    - The report admits the current models of AAA console games needs to shift. The risk+cost is too high. Digital and mobile games at a lower overall cost and via direct sales to consumers works better. The acquisition of PopCap will hopefully gain them a strong brand to start in the mobile space. The Sims will continue to dominate the social space.
    - I personally think Origin has a chance with PC gamers. However, it has started out really really poorly. You don't take a AAA title and throw a half-baked Beta digital distribution platform against it. For console games, I think digital distribution COULD work if done right. I'm not confident in EA's management to pull it off though given how poorly Origin started out on PC.

    3) Work with your Customer
    - Of all the things the annual report is missing ... focus on the customer. I see absolutely nothing listed for how they plan to incorporate their customers into their business model. You can't go into the digital or mobile space and expect to succeed without this incorporated into your strategy. Steam, Facebook and Apple all have gotten a LOT of things right in this regard, like them or hate them, they've gotten it right.
    - EA needs to work with their customers, not against them. Do not pull another Command and Conquer 4 and introduce radical change in gameplay to completely destroy one of the best and longest running game series. Do not announce / force a specific release date for a game ahead of time if it needs more polish ala Mass Effect 3.
    - Do not focus so much on the short-term, you are destroying your brand equity longer-term by doing so. The tinfoil hat part of me suggests the Extended Cut for Mass Effect 3 was planned all along, but would have taken too long to release ... after the end of EAs fiscal year (March 31st). This would have resulted in a huge loss for the year rather than a small profit.

    A private purchase may return EA to profitability. It needs some significant changes and this may be the ticket to do so. Really feel sorry for the employees of the company ... they were already putting up with 60-100 hour work weeks ... this will just make things a lot worse. Probably better than the company folding, but not by much.

  • This time, there isn't even a question, and the editors are still putting a question mark in the title. They're in a rut.

  • Remove the DRM bullshit and my wallet will open MUCH more widely to game publishers. I do not want MY resources to be used to help you maintain exclusivity of distribution. Yes, I know that it is critical for your business to maintain exclusivity of distribution... but it will not be my problem. I used to buy lots of $30 games back in 2002 or so. Most sucked in some way so when prices doubled, I said, "screw it", and stopped buying games. I did buy Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare a few months ago but then, I

  • by lennier1 (264730)

    Just merge it with Ubisoft and move their new headquarters to Mordor.

  • by ledow (319597) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @06:06PM (#41039813) Homepage

    Compare and contrast:

    1990's titles:

    Desert Strike
    System Shock 2
    Start of NHL series
    Start of Wing Commander series
    Start of FIFA series
    Start of Need for Speed series
    Ultima Online
    Start of NASCAR series
    Start of Command & Conquer series
    Start of Dungeon Keeper series
    Start of SimCity series
    Start of Medal of Honor series

    00's titles:

    American McGee's Alice
    Start of SSX series
    Start of James Bond series
    Start of Harry Potter series
    Start of The Sims series
    Start of Burnout series
    Start of Battlefield series
    Dark Age of Camelot
    Start of Crysis series
    Start of Rock Band series
    Start of Skate series
    Start of Mass Effect series
    Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning
    Start of Spore series
    Start of Army of Two series
    Start of Dead Space series
    Mirror's Edge
    Start of Dragon Age series

    2012 (expected) titles:
    Madden NFL 13
    The Sims 3: Supernatural
    The Sims 3: Seasons
    NHL 13
    FIFA 13
    NBA Live 13
    Medal of Honor: Warfighter
    Need for Speed: Most Wanted
    Ultima Forever: Quest for the Avatar

    EA have some fabulous games and series on that list. Trouble is they are all pre-2010, and all either introduced new genres or built upon existing titles well. The 2010+ titles? Just yet-another-iteration of some of their worst series.

    Come on, EA, you bought up Bullfrog and any number of fantastic developers / franchises and then milked them to death while inflicting horrible DRM and pricing on your customers. How about doing what you USED to do, which was START series of games, not run them into the ground?

  • I wish bioware would buy them and start making games I would buy again.

A committee is a group that keeps the minutes and loses hours. -- Milton Berle

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