Thoughts on EA; Mistakes, Missteps and Good Ideas

With the recent news of EA's now former CEO John Riccitiello stepping down I felt I would have my next blog be about EA over this console generation.

EA has really been a tale from two different sides this generation. It is no secret that when Riccitiello took over the original plan was to try to revamp the perception of EA by creating some new IP's and doing more to please the consumers. This was a noble idea but one that did not bear the financial fruit that I'm sure EA had hoped. From there EA has consistently had a repeated pattern of good game, bad game, good decision, bad decision, and wrapped it up with one of the biggest financial mistakes of the gaming industry all together in Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Some would maybe call all this karma, but I think for most there is some pity for EA. But keeping the consumer happy, creating quality games, and getting the sales number stakeholders require is a delicate balance. One that isn't easily achieved in this industry by many big publishers. One of the more interesting conversations I had regarding how EA who's reputation has been dragged in the mud specifically with the internet community over the generation is how they differ from other publishers/studios. Some of whom have made many of the same mistakes EA has.

Blizzard a company that is one of the more well respected made decisions a lot of the community despised for Diablo 3 as an example. Activision continues to beat sequels into the ground, as does Ubisoft. Day one DLC, DLC that should be in the main game, and even micro transactions in games all things EA has done are apparent all over the industry.

What I think is the difference setter though is that most of the studios who are generally forgiven for their mistakes are because of a standard. Say what you will about what has become of Call of Duty, but Call of Duty 4 is one of the most well reviewed, respected, and industry setting game you can get. Blizzard still knocks a game out of the park like Starcraft 2 and it's expansion Heart of the Swarm. To me that is the key difference between most who get a pass on these mistakes and EA.

When we look at EA's new IP's and all the good they did. With the exception of Mass Effect 2 which was almost universally accepted as brilliant, all of their game ideas and games in general are usually good...but never great. Mirrors Edge? Some loved it some hated it, most thought it was a neat idea that wasn't executed to perfection. Dead Space? Good survival horror game, fun concept. Skate? Good game. Again...but nothing industry setting.

Anyway I have rambled about that point long enough. I am curious to see what EA does next. We all know their sports games will come out every year despite the effects that has on the game. But I do wonder if the company as a whole may take a new shift towards how they make games as we enter a new era of consoles. We shall see.

What are you guys thoughts on EA and the situation ahead for them?