Which EA is better?

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bitbat

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Poll Which EA is better? (111 votes)

Early Access is better! 64%
Electronic Arts is better! 36%

I recently noticed that some sites refer to Early Access as EA so my question is this: Which EA is better?

Early Access:

Funding model brought to the forefront by mildly popular game Minecraft. It is hard to say definitively but it has probably enabled the release of a number of good indie games that would otherwise have not existed and allows for player feedback and community interaction during development (Game of the Year Hades being a good example). While extensively used, it is sometimes abused by selling unfinished games that are never completed.

Electronic Arts:

Much maligned publisher that has been connected to numerous controversies including acquisition of studios that are left to die, treatment of employees, loot box abuse and others. That being said, they have published a very large number beloved games and long standing franchises including Mass Effect, Need for Speed and Command & Conquer and have been going at it since the early 80s making them a staple of the industry.

It initially seemed like an easy question, seeing as how Electronic Arts have been doing lately and how much Early Access has done for smaller developers but its hard to ignore the history of the publisher, they are connected to so much good stuff and Early Access has its fair share of criticisms. So what does everyone think, who deserves the EA crown?

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LapsarianGiraff

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At least with Early Access, it's just a method of releasing a game with positive and negative examples you can point to. When Early Access sucks, it's when it's implemented poorly.

Electronic Arts, on the other hand, is a company with a death-grip on several of my favorite game series -- most of which will never see the light of day again due to mismanagement after hasty, poorly thought out acquisitions. RIP Mirror's Edge, Dead Space, Command and Conquer, SSX, and others I'm probably forgetting. I like some of their games a whole lot, but I attribute those to the individual studios and devs, not the publisher as a whole. I'm not going to go into hyperbolic "EA IS THE DEVIL" rhetoric, there are absolutely companies with worse practices, but I also don't have a lot of love for 'em these days. 2008 was probably the most positive I've ever felt about them.

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frytup

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#2 frytup  Online

I don't have a problem with the concept of early access, but I rarely have much interest in participating.

I have several problems with Electronic Arts, but in any given year I'll probably end up giving them money.

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Hayt

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#3  Edited By Hayt

EA the company definitely has a mandate to always fuck up whatever they are given but I voted against Early Access. Early Access in the hands of a competent dev is basically fine, Hades used it and came out in a timely manner. Early Access in the hands of many devs seems to end up being a shortcut to selling a game that is okay on the gamble it one day may eventually be good. A lot of the time the difference between Early Access and what ends up being called 1.0 is much much narrower than what the people buying it early are expecting. There is no real accountability when it comes to supporting the game or hitting their goals.

I am maybe being unfair but letting people pay money for what is basically a game that isn't good enough to pass the sniff test as a full game with an illusory suggestion it might radically change down the line seems bad.

I want more games to be finished when they're sold, not fewer.

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sparky_buzzsaw

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#4 sparky_buzzsaw  Online

Early access has the potential to make games good eventually.

EA doesn't.

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plinko

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The only problem I have with early access games are that the well made ones usually hit big and get popular right off the bat and I feel that "FOMO" whenever it happens, but I'm a person that likes waiting until the 1.0 release to try it out. Usually it means waiting a year or two while seeing everyone talking about it and share their experience and I feel a bit left out and tempted to get it right away.

I have many more problems with Electronic Arts...so yeah that loses.

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Shindig

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I've went with the Electronic Artists. Ultimately, they have things I might one day want. Early Access is merely a stage of development. I don't get into games whilst they're early access. I get them when they're done.

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judaspete

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I don't hate Electronic Arts. They churn out a lot of crap, and have a few questionable business practices, but will put out something cool when conditions are right.

But Early Access is a cool thing. Some take advantage, but ultimately it allowed quite a few excellent games to happen that may not have been possible otherwise.

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Nodima

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Early Access is not really applicable to me as a console gamer, and EA has been responsible for thousands of hours of fun in my life, from SSX, NBA Street, Skate, Madden and NCAA Football in high school to Mass Effect in college and Apex Legends and Star Wars Jedi in the past couple years.

Then the Wikipedia deep dive that reminds you of the Triple Play baseball series on PSX, when Need for Speed was novel, that they made console versions of Future Cop and SimCity, were responsible for the Desert Strike series back when that was a classic elementary school timekiller sort of game, they allowed a licensed Volkswagen Beetle game more fun that it had any right to be, helped kickstart the console FPS revolution with the Medal of Honor series and brought Omaha Beach to gaming for the first time with Allied Assault (this game single handedly convinced my family to switch from Apple to PC for an otherwise dreadful 4 year period), revolutionized hobby gaming with the publishing if both The Sims and Bejeweled...deep breath...

Enabled Molyneux to shoot his shot with Black & White, kickstarted the modern ARG via Neil Young's Majestic (which my dad played and was wild in its time), had it in their hearts to let AKI program American hip-hop stars to piledrive each other, solved video game boxing not once but twice (Knockout Kings and Fight Night), brought the Rock Band dream to the world, and plenty more things I left out that didn't have an impact on my personal gaming life like Battlefield and Dragon Age.

They've had a rough decade in PR and, granted, many of the developers attached to these properties have been shuttered, renamed, or forced into doing things they didn't want to do by EA at some point in their histories, but I've always felt EA was a net good for gaming and especially as a counterpoint to the creatively braindead vision of their closest comparison, Activision.

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bitbat

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With Electronic Arts, the question for me is whether the good games that they publish exist because of them of in spite of them.

You could argue that games with higher budgets would never get that kind of financial backing if the developer was on their own (Bioware for example). So was Mass Effect good because Electronic Arts supported the studio and gave them creative freedom or was Bioware good enough to slog through the corporate swamp and come out the other side with a gem?

For smaller games it becomes a bit more shady in my opinion. PopCap is a good example of a developer that was making beloved indie titles for a while (Peggle, sweet sweet Peggle) and after the acquisition turn some of them (Peggle at least!) into a microtransaction nightmare. I don't see why PopCap could not also exist as an independent studio, the talent is clearly there. Of course, maybe Garden Warfare would have been outside their scope as a studio but I am not sure how liked those games are.

The way I personally see Early Access is as a way to support smaller developers that mainly benefits them rather than the people buying the games, which I don't mean as a bad thing. If you believe in the developer and their ideas (like Supergiant for example) you can support them independently of what game comes out in the end and I think that that's a good thing to do. If you get a good game to boot, then great! What worries me a bit about early access is how it influences the development of games, how it can potentially influence development based on public opinion and away from the original intent of the developer. This is especially evident when one looks at the amount of Early Access games that look beautiful before they play well, I am assuming to drum up support before being in any way playable.

Then again, I personally find imperfect games with rough edges but with a clear vision coming from fewer brains more exciting than focus tested perfect spheres but that is a huge generalisation, I know.

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GTxForza

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#10  Edited By GTxForza

@judaspete said:

I don't hate Electronic Arts. They churn out a lot of crap, and have a few questionable business practices, but will put out something cool when conditions are right.

But Early Access is a cool thing. Some take advantage, but ultimately it allowed quite a few excellent games to happen that may not have been possible otherwise.

I remembered EA's previous DRM (Origin) had a lot of complaints so I'm unsure will I able to trust them on PC gaming currently.

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FacelessVixen

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Electronic Arts, with the most amount of reluctance that I can possibly convey through Arial typeface on a message board.

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Electronic Arts, with the most amount of reluctance that I can possibly convey through Arial typeface on a message board.

I hope they won't close Codemasters, if they do then I'm so going to be sad.

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FacelessVixen

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@gtxforza said:

@facelessvixen said:

Electronic Arts, with the most amount of reluctance that I can possibly convey through Arial typeface on a message board.

I hope they won't close Codemasters, if they do then I'm so going to be sad.

Yeah, it just occurred to me that EA acquiring Codemasters just to close them down would be a very EA thing to do as grim reapers of the gaming industry, and that Code going to Take-Two instead would have at least entertained the slim chance of a new Midnight Club, as opposed to the reality of Underground 1 and 2 fans like myself wanting Need for Speed or a new street racing franchise to pick up where Midnight Club LA left off.

...I didn't actually vote yet, so that will go to early access.

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Haz_Kaj

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Electronic arts are shit. Awful company.

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WickedCobra03

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@haz_kaj: I don’t even know what EA is anymore, but I also think that has always been EA too! EA has morphed every 5-7 years into pivoting to a new dynamic or tone.

90’s: Growing, had some innovative games coming and generally fairly good quality.

sports, Orgin (developer, not storefront), road rash, need for speed, Strike Games (Jungle Strike, Soviet Strike, Urban Strike), Sim City 2000 / 3000.

00’s: I think this was where they really became a crazy power house. Ports to every freaking system possible.

Sims, Sports (it felt like they were going hard on sports in the early to mid 2000’s, especially with how they bought NFL licensing and basically killed NFL2K. Madden turned into an annual event with release tournaments and parties, licensed soundtracks everywhere), SSX, Black and White, Battlefield, 007 games, Medal of Honor, Simpsons Games, C&C, Need For Speed (couple of the best titles and ranged from Hot Pursuit 2 to underground), Sim City 4, Harry Potter, Disney), Burnout, Black.

Transition to the 10’s: Not that quality wasn’t good, but seemed like they were in a phase or their teen years. Old EA vs. new EA (trying to show they are not a giant but still cool and trying to be indie, and the “no meddling” years of Ricatello which produced a lot of great indies). Seemed like a lot of rushed and unfinished games.

Old EA: Trying to keep pump legacy content out at a breakneck speed and lots of franchises suffered for it. NFS Carbon and Prostreet were garbage, Maddens seemed like they sucked pretty hard in 05-08, Sports (all kind of mediocre during this time), C&Cs (got kind of long in the tooth)

New EA: Stake (let’s do indie), Rockband (their alternative to GH), spore, Boomblox, Mercenaries 2, Dead Spaces, Mirrors Edge, Mass Effect, etc.

10’s: EA felt their version of indie / “no meddling” games didn’t sell and tried to transition back to great games! Origin (online store front sucked), the Sim City (2013) sucked. Mass Effect 2 was amazing, Mass Effect 3 was not great after which it seems like EA had more influence over, Battlefield Frontline (tried to show how authentic their beards were). And who can forget the BS around Dante’s Inferno!

20’s: EA Pass seems better, but I have no idea what is coming out from them.

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fisk0

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#17  Edited By fisk0  Moderator  Online

I'll say I have been burned more often by early access than by Electronic Arts. Some of my all time favorite games came out of Electronic Arts in the 80s and 90s, but these last 20 years have been kinda rough. Darkspore and C&C4 have been the only EA titles I've actually spent money on and felt incredibly disappointed by though, for the most part they've clearly advertised their products as something I don't want and thus just don't buy.

Conceptually I think early access has some promise, but after about 11 years of kickstarter, Minecraft and Steam EA I'm struggling to think of many games aside from Minecraft that really seemed to benefit from that model.

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Kunakai

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I've spent more time playing and enjoying Early Access games in general. over the last year the split has been between Satisfactory/Valheim/KSP vs replaying Mass Effect/Dragon Age Inquisition/Crysis/Squadrons.

As much as I'd regret any falling into a black hole I feel the thousands of hours enjoyment I've had with Early Access titles far outweighs the couple of hundred hours of enjoyment (and few dozen hours of bored fetch quests) I've experienced with EA.

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Kunakai

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@fisk0 said:

I'll say I have been burned more often by early access than by Electronic Arts. Some of my all time favorite games came out of Electronic Arts in the 80s and 90s, but these last 20 years have been kinda rough. Darkspore and C&C4 have been the only EA titles I've actually spent money on and felt incredibly disappointed by though, for the most part they've clearly advertised their products as something I don't want and thus just don't buy.

Conceptually I think early access has some promise, but after about 11 years of kickstarter, Minecraft and Steam EA I'm struggling to think of many games aside from Minecraft that really seemed to benefit from that model.

KSP, Satisfactory, Besige, ARK, Valheim, Dyson Sphere Program, Astroneer are all pretty phenomenal games.

I started playing Battlegroup VR a few days ago, an Early Access game made by one individual which feels more compelling than the majority of the VR experiences I've tried.

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wardcleaver

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@shindig said:

I've went with the Electronic Artists. Ultimately, they have things I might one day want. Early Access is merely a stage of development. I don't get into games whilst they're early access. I get them when they're done.

This. I will play the game when it is finished. I gladly let others be my beta tester.

Electronic Arts is a mixed bag, like most AAA publishers. However, it does have its fair share of titles I like: the recent Star Wars games (Fallen Order and Squadrons) to the Battlefield series and, occasionally, the NFS games.