Posted by King9999 (615 posts) -

The infamous publisher we know as Electronic Arts has (unsurprisingly) made headlines again, for all the wrong reasons. EA has been hated for so long, it's getting harder to remember that they used to be a respectable company. Despite our various grievances, however, I say leave them alone.

Before you start sending angry comments, hear me out. From birth, most humans are taught to learn from their mistakes. Making mistakes is how we grow and shape our character, and the lessons we learn can be passed on to the next generation. The same can be said of EA, except other companies need to learn from EA's missteps, and avoid those pitfalls lest they too want to be reviled. Here is what I think we can learn from EA's past and present mistakes:

1. Don't get too big.

From what I've observed of current publishers, the bigger you get, the more unrecognizable you become. Kind of an ironic statement, don't you think? Traditionally, having a large business is seen as a sign of progress, but the reality is that when you become a multinational corporation, you identify with your consumers less and less. Employees become more expendable. The business becomes more about pleasing the shareholders rather than creating great products.

What can other companies learn from EA's mistake? Don't grow so large that your loyal fans don't know who you are anymore. Atlus has been around for decades, but because of how they do business, they've maintained a small-mid size. And thanks to that, they pay more attention to their tightly-knit fanbase. If they adopted EA's practices, they would cease to exist. They can't afford to make EA's mistakes.

2. Don't get bought out.

I'm cheating a bit here. It's not a mistake for EA to attempt to buy out a studio; it's a mistake if the studio accepts the offer. If you were an independent developer that made a string of hit games, ask yourself this: is it worthwhile to get bought out by someone like EA? Ask someone who worked at Westwood or Bullfrog for their opinion. Now, it is still possible for some studios to thrive under new ownership (Naughty Dog is a great example), but at the end of the day, you no longer have creative freedom, and the IPs you created are no longer yours. Even worse, those IPs you owned may never get used again. Or, they will, but not in a way you would approve of had you still been running the show.

Read this for some inspiring words from a studio that values their work and their ownership of said work.

3. Don't underestimate demand.

Many times, I've seen launches for persistent online games not go as planned due to server issues. Perhaps I'm just not knowledgable enough on the subject, but wouldn't it make sense to have redundant servers for the (often likely) event that the servers can't handle all the traffic? Diablo 3's launch was the same way; Blizzard should have anticipated that the demand for a game like D3 was going to be huge.

If you cook food for a bunch of guests, it's always better to make more food than necessary, rather than risk not making enough. Publishers and developers should be the same way with online games. If you think you have enough capacity, chances are you need more. Especially if your game is highly anticipated! Have a contingency plan in case things go sour.

The above points are just some examples of what we can learn from EA's blunders. While they're not the only company to make them, they are the ones putting out fires more than any other publisher. Hating on EA is a pastime that isn't going to fade away anytime soon, as long as they remain as they are. But I think we should let them be, and allow them to keep making the mistakes they've been making. EA serves as a great example of how not to operate if you want to be respected in this industry among your consumers, peers, and employees. EA has an important role to play--not a desirable one, mind you, but an important one all the same.

#1 Edited by JasonR86 (9729 posts) -

Hah.

#2 Edited by KaosAngel (13764 posts) -

Someone explain what EA did this time like I'm a 4 year old.

#3 Edited by GERALTITUDE (3508 posts) -

1. Peeps love money. If you stay mid-size you can't make big-size bucks and that is just fucking disgusting and unacceptable. What are you, a communist? Like I should just be happy with what I make and not constantly strive to make more?

2. Peeps love money. See above.

3. Peeps love money so much that they will not spend 1 penny more on their server structure until they are 200% sure it is necessary. Blizzard and EA just don't care enough about that 1st week of game time. They know they've got the money coming in, so why set up a flawless service from the get go? Especially since your money man has convinced you you don't actually truly know the servers will overload, right? If you want to make money, you know not to open your check book until the last minute.

#4 Posted by mcmax3000 (290 posts) -

@king9999 said:

If you cook food for a bunch of guests, it's always better to make more food than necessary, rather than risk not making enough. Publishers and developers should be the same way with online games. If you think you have enough capacity, chances are you need more. Especially if your game is highly anticipated! Have a contingency plan in case things go sour.

I've seen a lot of people saying stuff like that, but that kind of stuff costs fairly significant money, for a problem that won't last very long.

Lets face it: In a couple of weeks, a lot of people will have moved on from SimCity to whatever the next new shiny thing is. That would be the case regardless of how the launch went. That's the way a lot of gamers are.

From a business perspective, it makes more sense to weather the early storm, and plan for what that demand will be shortly after launch when a lot of people have already moved on, because that's what you're going to be dealing with for the vast majority of the product's life cycle.

It sucks for those of us that want to play a new game day one, but it's hard to justify the business expense of over spending on servers to solve a problem that will ultimately be temporary.

#5 Edited by Blu3V3nom07 (3791 posts) -

I like EA, so cool.

#7 Edited by HerbieBug (4208 posts) -

Developers need to be very very careful about retaining creative control when signing on with a company like EA. That is the thing that is turning promising series into over focus tested, over publisher micro managed, dreck.

#8 Edited by shivermetimbers (793 posts) -

I'll give them a break. I'll break them off a piece of my kit-kat bar.

#9 Posted by Pr1mus (3952 posts) -

I got a better idea. How about not giving a break to companies about their terrible business models, the way they treat customers and having non-functional games?

I don't care what's the name of the company, if you do shit like this you don't deserve a break. When people start giving companies a break is when these companies stop fixing problems.

#10 Edited by King9999 (615 posts) -

@mcmax3000 said:

@king9999 said:

If you cook food for a bunch of guests, it's always better to make more food than necessary, rather than risk not making enough. Publishers and developers should be the same way with online games. If you think you have enough capacity, chances are you need more. Especially if your game is highly anticipated! Have a contingency plan in case things go sour.

I've seen a lot of people saying stuff like that, but that kind of stuff costs fairly significant money, for a problem that won't last very long.

Lets face it: In a couple of weeks, a lot of people will have moved on from SimCity to whatever the next new shiny thing is. That would be the case regardless of how the launch went. That's the way a lot of gamers are.

From a business perspective, it makes more sense to weather the early storm, and plan for what that demand will be shortly after launch when a lot of people have already moved on, because that's what you're going to be dealing with for the vast majority of the product's life cycle.

It sucks for those of us that want to play a new game day one, but it's hard to justify the business expense of over spending on servers to solve a problem that will ultimately be temporary.

I figure it's better to make a good first impression rather than intentionally start fires that you'll eliminate eventually. The issue is only exacerbated when you can't get a refund, so not only do we have to put up with a game that we can't play, the publisher won't demonstrate goodwill by giving back our money. So let EA make that mistake, and hopefully others won't do the same.

#13 Edited by King9999 (615 posts) -

@gonna_get_you said:

@shivermetimbers said:

I'll give them a break. I'll break them off a piece of my kit-kat bar.

You fucking paid employee of Kit-Kat. I outta kick your fucking ass.

EA is my Caramello.

Does that still exist?

#14 Posted by FunkasaurasRex (847 posts) -

How about I just don't buy games from companies that I think are treating consumers like crap? That's working pretty well for me right now.

#15 Posted by punkxblaze (2990 posts) -

I don't think I will, no.

#16 Posted by JasonR86 (9729 posts) -

@king9999 said:

@blu3v3nom07 said:

@gonna_get_you said:

@shivermetimbers said:

I'll give them a break. I'll break them off a piece of my kit-kat bar.

You fucking paid employee of Kit-Kat. I outta kick your fucking ass.

EA is my Caramello.

Does that still exist?

I just had one last week and it was fucking amazing.

#17 Edited by Blu3V3nom07 (3791 posts) -

Why did I get moderated? I like Caramellos'... : /

#18 Edited by MariachiMacabre (7100 posts) -

@punkxblaze said:

I don't think I will, no.

This is my position as well. They seem to do significant damage to every property they touch, so I'll continue calling them out on it and refuse to buy their games. And to think, they were doing so well in the first half/second quarter of this generation.

#19 Edited by Cold_Wolven (2295 posts) -

I'll give a break when they publish more games like Mirror's Edge, Alice: Madness Returns and Shadows of the Damn and not for coming up with schemes like micro transactions as well as running franchises into the ground.

#20 Posted by Subjugation (4741 posts) -

@king9999: I'm sorry people are giving completely worthless, non-contributive answers. While I may not completely agree with what you have said, I respect the care that went into the post.

EA has messed up pretty royally and they won't change unless there are repercussions for what they did. You can just let it slide unless you want it to happen again. However, that doesn't mean you have to act like a depraved lunatic like some people are doing. They make me embarrassed to share a hobby with them.

#22 Posted by joshthebear (2700 posts) -

#23 Posted by TooWalrus (13258 posts) -

Someone explain what EA did this time like I'm a 4 year old.

Say you're thirsty... so you go to a lemonade stand and buy a cup of lemonade. The mean boy takes your money, but can't get you any lemonade. So you wait patiently for the lemonade for two days. Then, the boy decides that lemonade would be easier to make without sugar, so he gives you lemon juice instead. It doesn't matter though, because you've already died of dehydration.

#26 Posted by kitsikitsi (9 posts) -

The way this works is that companies who learn from mistakes SURVIVE and the companies that made those mistakes DIE.

So yeah, the sooner EA dies, the better.

#27 Posted by TangoUp (314 posts) -

No.

#28 Posted by Zebracal (74 posts) -

@pr1mus:

I guess that will never change as long as these kind of business models still exist and this kind will stay for a long long time.

They don't really care about our gripes, all they care is how to milk out more money out of us.

#29 Posted by Ubersmake (754 posts) -

How about not? EA certainly doesn't deserve all of the hate that gets thrown their way, but to give them a break? That's just irresponsible. The relationship between the producer and the consumer is just that, a relationship. It works both ways. For all the consumers who bought a game, expecting it to be playable and not getting what was expected, to simply turn a blind eye to how they were treated, is silly and unrealistic. It happened to me with Diablo 3 and Half-Life 2. I'm incredibly wary about always-online functionality as a result of the latter, and was reminded of it relatively recently because of the former.

The real tragedy here is that no one outside of EA is going to know what really happened at launch, and thus, no one's really going to learn from it. The pattern's the same, sure. There weren't enough servers. But the devil's in the details. The most likely scenario I can think of is similar to what might have happened with the recent Aliens game, but this is all speculation, like with that one. Maxis needed to launch a game in order to stay around. The game's infrastructure wasn't ready, but the game had to launch or else people wouldn't be getting paid. And so it did, and SimCity is in the mess that it's in now.

Maybe this is what really happened. Maybe I'm way off the mark. We'll never know, and that's a shame. Maybe the game could've been pushed back, and an open beta started, in order to gather more data. Maybe estimates were way off. Maybe processes weren't followed as well as they should have been in regard to building up infrastructure. Who knows?

While I am truly sympathetic for the people who are putting out fires over there, this sounds like a tale of bad management through and through. Someone's going to get fired, a postmortem will occur internally, and things will continue. And if people do give EA a break, a real break, then none of that will ever occur. Why try and improve your processes if you can fling rubbish at people who will happily buy it? So that's our job, as people who buy games. To not give developers and publishers a break when they really don't deserve one, when a situation like this could have been avoided, and wasn't due to some freak act of nature, like a storm plowing through multiple server farms.

#30 Posted by EpicSteve (6499 posts) -

Don't care. If I buy something it should work as intended.

#31 Posted by coakroach (2492 posts) -

If you're going to make a case for not hating on EA maybe you shouldn't also provide a list of things that EA has done that are fucking terrible.

They're greedy and incompetent. Fuck them.

#32 Posted by Leptok (942 posts) -

the problem is that they are all about the money and the games end up suffering because of it. the people calling the shots want to make mone. not games. look at da2 and me3. they lowered the bar too low on system specs and ended up with gimped cities. and some exec probaqbly told them to "make it more like The Sims, that made us a lot of money"

#33 Edited by Kaiserreich (742 posts) -

EA is a big boy, he can handle a little criticism.

#34 Edited by triple07 (1198 posts) -
@pr1mus said:

I got a better idea. How about not giving a break to companies about their terrible business models, the way they treat customers and having non-functional games?

I don't care what's the name of the company, if you do shit like this you don't deserve a break. When people start giving companies a break is when these companies stop fixing problems.

I just wish people would spend half as much time trying to fix problems with companies with much worse business practices than EA will ever even be capable of doing. I mean if you think EA is screwing you over you probably have never looked at your cell phone bill or your cable bill.

Also I will continue to buy games from EA when they make games I like. I hold no grudges against them since I know better than to buy games before launch.

#35 Edited by Nictel (2441 posts) -

I love EA, that is, their stock. Not the whole thing they're doing with games.

#36 Posted by King9999 (615 posts) -

Looks like some people missed my point and thought I was defending EA.

#37 Edited by hwy_61 (943 posts) -

I'll give them a break. BREAK MY FOOT OFF IN THEIR ASS.

#38 Edited by Example1013 (4807 posts) -

@blu3v3nom07 said:

Why did I get moderated? I like Caramellos'... : /

Carmanjello? My name is Steve. You just assume all black people have crazy names huh?

#39 Posted by iam3green (14390 posts) -

no, i don't think we should give EA a break on their mistakes that they have done. they should kind of expect a lot of people to buy the game. they saw what happened to blizzard.

#40 Edited by Dalai (7074 posts) -
LEAVE EA ALONE!!!

#41 Edited by pweidman (2364 posts) -

With a business model so obviously broken as theirs, no. They deserve all the grief they're getting and more. Heh, maybe someone gets fired and someone else gets a clue and changes the way they do business.

#42 Posted by AiurFlux (902 posts) -

Yeah. Give a break to the multi-million dollar corporation that has throughout it's history abused their customers and treated them like walking dollar signs. They have terrible customer support, suck the life out of every franchise they have, and are completely reprehensible in the face of the worst launch that has ever happened. Give them a break guys! Come on. Anybody? Hmmmm...

Well this went nowhere.