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Former Exec Says Electronic Arts "Is In the Wrong Business"

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the inspiring-internet-outrage-is-a-bad-business-model dept.

Businesses 180

Mitch Lasky was the executive vice president of Mobile and Online at Electronic Arts until leaving the publisher to work at an investment firm. He now has some harsh things to say about how EA has been run over the past several years, in particular criticizing the decisions of CEO John Riccitiello. Quoting: "EA is in the wrong business, with the wrong cost structure and the wrong team, but somehow they seem to think that it is going to be a smooth, two-year transition from packaged goods to digital. Think again. ... by far the greatest failure of Riccitiello's strategy has been the EA Games division. JR bet his tenure on EA's ability to 'grow their way through the transition' to digital/online with hit packaged goods titles. They honestly believed that they had a decade to make this transition (I think it's more like 2-3 years). Since the recurring-revenue sports titles were already 'booked' (i.e., fully accounted for in the Wall Street estimates) it fell to EA Games to make hits that could move the needle. It's been a very ugly scene, indeed. From Spore, to Dead Space, to Mirror's Edge, to Need for Speed: Undercover, it's been one expensive commercial disappointment for EA Games after another. Not to mention the shut-down of Pandemic, half of the justification for EA's $850MM acquisition of Bioware-Pandemic. And don't think that Dante's Inferno, or Knights of the Old Republic, is going to make it all better. It's a bankrupt strategy."

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Times have changed (3, Interesting)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30777182)

This is a business person commenting harshly mostly about how EA is financially ran, and that they haven't been able to grow as fast as Activision Blizzard (which was a one giant merker - like Microsoft and Google getting together). His bashing about the games isn't about gameplay, their originality, or how fun they are for players - it's just seems to be about business. "Hit" would be a game that makes lots of money, not how good it is.

I actually like the way EA has been taking. They're doing a lot more original, new IP and games than some years ago - last year notably Dead Space, Mirror's Edge, Dragon Age Origins.

The thing is that Activision Blizzard has grown in to a huge competitor with their World of Warcraft franchise, Modern Warfare 2, and Guitar Hero series. All of them, btw, series that have 6+ released games. Every year a new one. And the cash cow that World of Warcraft is.

It seems he was more happy when EA was the company that didn't create much of new IP or games, but just milked the old ones every year with new versions. Now EA has changed it's route a bit and releasing such new kind of games than Mirror's Edge, and such legends than Bioware's roleplaying games. They don't probably hold such a mass appeal, but they're great games and something new.

So is Activision Blizzard now the ones that are mostly after money, and EA trying to do something new?

Re:Times have changed (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30777204)

Activision just said they crossed $1,000,000,000 (over one billion) in MW2 revenues. Just saying..

Re:Times have changed (5, Funny)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 4 years ago | (#30777214)

Mass Effect um, probably holds mass appeal. With the masses. It's going to be massive! And the sex scenes, oh my, some nerds are going to go to mas...

Re:Times have changed (4, Funny)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30777372)

... ter social interactions by utilising in game script choices, with the outcome predicted to be a reduction in mas...

Re:Times have changed (4, Funny)

vivian (156520) | more than 4 years ago | (#30777504)

...sive waist sizes usually associated with them, as gamers will start actually getting out there and experiencing the joys of the real world.
Of course there will always be a need for mas...

Re:Times have changed (5, Funny)

Denihil (1208200) | more than 4 years ago | (#30777590)

terbatation. After all, gamers gotta get off, and someones gotta do it. Definitely not my mas...

Re:Times have changed (5, Funny)

bobdotorg (598873) | more than 4 years ago | (#30777690)

...ters thesis topic. That has to do with the sexual habits of mas...

Re:Times have changed (5, Funny)

Jellybob (597204) | more than 4 years ago | (#30777720)

terdons, which actually have a long, and exciting courtship ritual, involving lots of mas...

Re:Times have changed (5, Funny)

PizzaAnalogyGuy (1684610) | more than 4 years ago | (#30777740)

..terpiece pizzas, because even if these gamers get more social, not all of their old habits are going to disappear. They will still need their crusty big pizzas with pepperoni, italian sausage, green peppers, red onions and mushroom toppings taken down with a big glass of coca-cola while raiding in WoW. Only that way they can ever find mas...

Re:Times have changed (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30777756)

...tication which is necessary for proper digestion of their food and better overcoming the diabetes from those years of sitting on their posteriors. But that does not really answer the questions about their mas...

Re:Times have changed (4, Funny)

mike2R (721965) | more than 4 years ago | (#30777810)

...sively distended stomachs; pizza alone cannot account for that, it must be due to mas...

Re:Times have changed (4, Funny)

FreonTrip (694097) | more than 4 years ago | (#30779130)

...sive disappointment with the world as it is. Rather than work to fix issues with personal appearance and the world at large, a lifetime of video games and distraction - particularly in the world's richest country, where the entertainment industry represents 4% of GDP - have encouraged them to avoid that which makes them uncomfortable, or to gloss over it before heading back to endless diversion.

Sorry, guys, they can't all be funny.

Re:Times have changed (3, Funny)

rcastro0 (241450) | more than 4 years ago | (#30778002)

...sage to the trunks: long vigorous, strokes, growing up in a crescendo. Golly! It was as enjoyable to them as mas...

Re:Times have changed (4, Funny)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30778160)

...ks.

On a completely unrelated note, Natalie Portman is mas...

Re:Times have changed (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30779096)

sive dongs.

Re:Times have changed (4, Funny)

ZarathustraDK (1291688) | more than 4 years ago | (#30777708)

terbatation. After all, gamers gotta get off, and someones gotta do it. Definitely not my mas...

C-C-C-C-Combo-breaker!

Re:Times have changed (1)

TheThiefMaster (992038) | more than 4 years ago | (#30779190)

Clever.

No-one's posted that before.

Re:Times have changed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30777744)

... turbation, amidoinitrite?

EA doing something bad???? (2, Funny)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 4 years ago | (#30777226)

Never! I could never even possibly concieve of EA ever doing anything wrong in their quest to make money by milking IP to death. /end sarcasm

Re:EA doing something bad???? (1)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 4 years ago | (#30777298)

You say this because EA released lots of CRPG's in the last decade?
While I didn't consider DAO a big 'hit', it was definitely innovative from EA's point of view.

Re:Times have changed (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30777278)

This is actually close to the problem EA currently has, when people like him were in control of it all they did was dish out the same game every year with name changes on the models and perhaps a new colour scheme. This was a great way to keep a steady income but has 0 room to expand and increase profits and a good chance of starting to lose them as you get outbid for the contracts by upstart companies that can take risks.

Now the new team have spotted this and have started to branch out but its having to fight the old EA to get it done the games he mentions as disasters really weren't, and pandemic was never really a reason to buy pandemic-bioware seriously it was maybe 200mill of that price which they recouped almost instantly.

The Old Republic (note the lack of the word KNIGHTS) already has enough interest to be classed as a major hit for EA seriously its a SW MMO aslong as they avoid the problems people had with galaxies its gonna be a cash cow with extra cash on the side!

Activision-Blizzard has a problem lack of new properties and Blizzards own self confesed inability to come up with new game ideas and universes (seriously they became famous for games that were quick renames of Games Workshop games with game play ideas stolen from dune 2!)

If players ever start to leave WoW for other games in increasing numbers i can see their income dropping like a rock

Re:Times have changed (1)

Zironic (1112127) | more than 4 years ago | (#30777604)

It's not like they need new game ideas or universes as long as they can provide high quality entertainment.

Re:Times have changed (1)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 4 years ago | (#30777882)

you mean with new game ideas?

Re:Times have changed (4, Interesting)

cgenman (325138) | more than 4 years ago | (#30777946)

Also, once you've milked a single franchise for too long, you can no longer get guaranteed profits from it. Player interest starts to die out, and you start getting smaller and smaller returns from each iteration.

EA's current administration recognized that problem. NFS's underperformance isn't a reflection of a failure of planning, but rather that the series has been milked to death for far too long. The sales curve for NFS had plummeted already, and was arguably long past the possibility of a yearly iteration remaining relevant or salable at previous levels. in 2006, they had pushed so few new IP's that when Medal of Honor started to fade they really had little to bring up in its place.

Of course, with any new series or universe in the gaming world generally speaking the second iteration sells better than the first. You really do build up a lot of awareness and interest on the first go. Mass Effect 2 (one of the new post 2006 worlds they specifically created) looks posed to be one of next year's biggest games. Army of Two 2 is looking to make up ground. Skate has basically stolen "Best Skater Game" from the now officially flopped over Tony Hawk. Even Dante's Inferno has a surprising amount of player awareness at this point. That's a lot of profit potential that they wouldn't have just grinding out Need for Speed sequels twice a year.

Re:Times have changed (2, Informative)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30778256)

Well, Blizzard made also made The Lost Vikings. I thought that was pretty good.

Re:Times have changed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30777288)

Not to mention there's no new "Knights of the old Republic" in the works. It's called Star Wars: The Old Republic. I'm not convinced by the predictions of some guy who can't even get the names right.

Re:Times have changed (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30777310)

Of course he's talking about business! It's no use churning out original titles which cost 10s of millions to make and don't recoup their costs. You don't get more "art" in the market, in the long run, because the company making it will go bust.

There is no dichotomy of companies which are trying to make money vs companies which are trying to do something new. All the games companies are trying to make money. The rest is just PR & marketing.

Re:Times have changed (5, Insightful)

dltaylor (7510) | more than 4 years ago | (#30777344)

If you're in business to make money, open a brokerage, casino, or bank.

Otherwise, while you would like to make enough profit to keep the doors open, you're in the business of producing a product. Make a good (-enough) one keep satisfy the customers and get some repeat business.

In case no one's figured it out by now, Wall Street doesn't know their ass from a hole in the ground about the latter, and will happily destroy the entire US economy (except them, of course) to do the former.

MOD PARENT UP (4, Insightful)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 4 years ago | (#30777434)

One particularly unhelpful wrinkle of the U.S. version of capitalism + culture has been investors' singular motivation to hit it big and rake in the bucks and a general social unwillingness (management, the population, investors, regulators) to believe there is any social good in any business that does not generate massive returns and growth on a quarter after quarter basis.

There are simply many things that we need the economy to do that are not going to generate double-digit returns and result in world domination by a single sexy corporation. Plumbing, for example. Or reference publishing. Or wood milling. Instead of taking sustaining business + paying employees or small but steady growth as good enough within the context of also employing people and providing a necessary social good, we're happy to say "This hospital isn't giving us 20% year-over-year; it's only giving me 1%! I can get that from a damned CD! Fuhggedaboudid." And nobody bats an eyelid, everyone takes for granted that a hospital is only valuable if it's nice and profitable, otherwise it "couldn't compete" and "should" close in a free market economy.

Re:MOD PARENT UP (4, Insightful)

YourExperiment (1081089) | more than 4 years ago | (#30777698)

One particularly unhelpful wrinkle of the U.S. version of capitalism + culture has been investors' singular motivation to hit it big and rake in the bucks and a general social unwillingness (management, the population, investors, regulators) to believe there is any social good in any business that does not generate massive returns and growth on a quarter after quarter basis.

Whilst I totally agree with you on principle, I would take issue with one point. It's not that no-one believes there is any social good in these businesses, it's that no-one cares.

Re:MOD PARENT UP (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30777896)

Thanks to skyrocketing inflation, no one has the option to invest in 1% growth stocks.
If you do inflation kills your nest egg incredibly quickly.

Re:MOD PARENT UP (1)

locallyunscene (1000523) | more than 4 years ago | (#30778526)

Or the press.

Re:Times have changed (1)

Tolkien (664315) | more than 4 years ago | (#30778144)

Wall Street would happily destroy the entire US economy to do their own ass?

Re:Times have changed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30778508)

I know I would.

Re:Times have changed (1)

LordVader717 (888547) | more than 4 years ago | (#30777984)

Believe it or not, there are companies who try to keep a culture of innovation and earn reputation even if it does mean being less profitable. A company with diverse expertise and talented developers is going to have the power to influence trends and create new markets.
I find it extremely questionable how so many people have this fundamentalist belief that companies should devote everything chasing numbers on paper, which are extremely artificial and arbitrary BTW (notice how this guy laments about them "destroying" 11 billion in stock value), instead of encouraging people to be creative and simply make great products.

Maintaining talent and independence also ensures that the company is more robust to trends and can expand new markets.
Nintendo was the dominant games company before the Playstation, but lost out in the following decade. Instead of doing what would arguably have been a sound choice of becoming a profitable software developer on other platforms, they made sure they kept doing their own thing and invested in making hardware. It payed off when they came out with the Wii which has since become the dominant platform.

Re:Times have changed (1)

rwv (1636355) | more than 4 years ago | (#30778514)

I find it extremely questionable how so many people have this fundamentalist belief that companies should devote everything chasing numbers on paper, which are extremely artificial and arbitrary BTW (notice how this guy laments about them "destroying" 11 billion in stock value), instead of encouraging people to be creative and simply make great products.

I'm going to take issue with the claim that businesses should "be creative and make great products".

In my view, globalization has pushed the manufacturing industry away from "great products" and into the realm of "good enough for a couple years" products. Cars aren't what they used to be. Most furniture these days is made from plastic mixtures and particle board. Food is genetically mutated. Even books are being served up as disposable digital bits instead of printed pages.

All these changes comes in the name of being able to provide a broader spectrum of the population with goods and services that they haven't traditionally been able to enjoy, and it can be attributed to lowering quality to cut costs (i.e. by using cheaper (more abundantly available) materials).

The business upside to the decrease in quality, of course, is increased market share because a greater percent of people can afford these products.

To return to the point... businesses don't exist to make "great products". They exist to make "products people want to buy". Since we're such a materialistic society, we want *everything* and that means we're forced to sacrifice quality because the average Joe simply can't afford both expensive furniture and an expensive entertainment system. The compromise is that Joe Sixpack buys relatively cheap versions of the products he wants that fit within his budget. In the process, cost cutting manufacturers are put on a pedestal. Ergo, the rise of Ikea, Walmart, Target, Kia, and Hyundai.

Re:Times have changed (2, Informative)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#30779386)

Food is genetically mutated.

Food has been genetically mutated since humans began farming. Or did you somehow think that previous generations of humans turned those wild plants into the common food plants we know today through magic?

Re:Times have changed (3, Insightful)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 4 years ago | (#30777312)

This is a business person commenting harshly mostly about how EA is financially ran, and that they haven't been able to grow as fast as Activision Blizzard (which was a one giant merker - like Microsoft and Google getting together). His bashing about the games isn't about gameplay, their originality, or how fun they are for players - it's just seems to be about business

You say that like it's a bad thing. His point is that EA's business strategy is unsustainable, and I think he's got a point.

I actually like the way EA has been taking. They're doing a lot more original, new IP and games than some years ago - last year notably Dead Space, Mirror's Edge, Dragon Age Origins.

When you say "way they've been taking", I assume you mean that in the sense of "direction they've chose to head in". As opposed to the way they've been taking money. Personally, I'm not entirely convinced. DA: Origins could have used another six months playtesting on the AI IMHO, and Dead Space sucked like a black hole. Spore was fun however, and I'll concede that I'm not generally representative of the larger gaming community.

The point is, as you rightly point out, he's not criticising the games - he's criticising the business strategy behind them. If Spore, Mirror's Edge, Dead Space and Need for Speed: Undercover were indeed loss makers for EA, then it doesn't matter how good the games were. If they can't make them turn a profit, they soon won't be making any more.

It seems he was more happy when EA was the company that didn't create much of new IP or games, but just milked the old ones every year with new versions

I didn't get that, at all. As I read it, he just thinks the revenue from their established franchises isn't going to be enough to tide them through the changeover to digital distribution. And he thinks that EA are throwing too much money at trying to manufacture blockbusters, and I think he's probably right.

The trouble is that for quite a while now, the big games companies have been throwing money at games trying to raise the barrier to entry. They want to be like Hollywood studios where you have a big investment for big returns. So we things like big name voice actors throughout. Or fully orchestral scores for a game. Hollywood gets away with this by sinking a lot of cash into publicity so they can "buy the gross" - cover the bulk of production costs in the first week. That doesn't appear to be working for EA, assuming bizpunk is right about those games being expensive loss makers.

He's not making any judgements about the games themselves, except that they don't seem to be making enough money to recoup their development costs. Which, if true, would be a problem regardless of the game content.

Re:Times have changed (5, Insightful)

LKM (227954) | more than 4 years ago | (#30777672)

He's not making any judgements about the games themselves, except that they don't seem to be making enough money to recoup their development costs. Which, if true, would be a problem regardless of the game content.

Without taking a risk on new franchises, you won't have established franchises you can milk in the future. Which is exactly how EA got into its current hole. They're doing the right thing now, even if it's not producing immediate profits for them.

Re:Times have changed (4, Insightful)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 4 years ago | (#30778138)

Without taking a risk on new franchises, you won't have established franchises you can milk in the future. Which is exactly how EA got into its current hole. They're doing the right thing now, even if it's not producing immediate profits for them.

Sure, in a stable market. And to be fair, I didn't read TFA as saying "EA should not be taking a risk on new franchises". He's just raising concerns about the budget size vs. the payoff.

I think you have to remember that his comments are all made in the context of a move to digital distribution, which he feels is going to happen a lot faster than EA are allowing for. Reading between the lines a little, I think he'd like to see more, lower budget games aimed at a cheaper price point. That doesn't make sense if your retail is through shops because shelf space is expensive, and with a limited number of titles that you can offer, you need to spend money trying to force a blockbuster. But for digital distribution, you can spread your risk a bit more, develop a range of titles and see what catches the public imagination.

Re:Times have changed (4, Insightful)

Alarash (746254) | more than 4 years ago | (#30777388)

I'm completely with you. Unfortunately video games are not about fun and, well, video games any more. They are about making money, and most of the time that means low innovation/risk taking. Which is sad, because video games should not be about pleasing shareholders, but pleasing gamers. If you please the gamers, you will mechanically make money. But probably not in the 5 to 15% year-to-year growth that investors are asking in our capitalist world.

Re:Times have changed (2, Interesting)

plover (150551) | more than 4 years ago | (#30777742)

because video games should not be about pleasing shareholders, but pleasing gamers. If you please the gamers, you will mechanically make money.

That's not necessarily true at all. It's way more complicated than that. A complex game with all the development, artwork, mechanics, music, actors, promotion and packaging can easily cost over $50,000,000 to produce. At those costs you have to please a million gamers before you make your first dime.

That's a huge risk. You don't know it in advance, and there are no guarantees. When some guy comes in and says "I've got this great idea for a game. We'll have these soldiers who ..." you have no way of knowing if he's pitching the next WoW or the next Daikatana until you build it.

It's risk all along. Anything can kill the game's appeal. Unrealistic mechanics, incomprehensible controls, too easy, too hard, ugly scenery, short levels, long levels, inappropriate music, bugs, etc. The whole time you're pumping tons of money into production, hoping that when it comes out the other side that you can sell at least a million copies to cover expenses. And for every problem you encounter in its production, you have to decide "do I trash it or fix it?" Smart companies have learned to do the smallest investments up front, saving the big costs of things like artwork for the very end. That way if they kill it they've wasted less money.

Once it leaves the factory, it's in the hands of some barely rational people who are not in your employ. Games sell based on their reviews -- nobody will buy a one star game. A bad review by a well respected reviewer can wreck your $50,000,000 investment with the click of a mouse.

Even assuming Wall Street was behaving rationally and not just playing some derivatives market, your company takes a hell of a risk every time they do anything, or nothing. It's impossible to say that games based on "fun" are simply automatic money makers.

Re:Times have changed (1)

Alarash (746254) | more than 4 years ago | (#30777790)

Your argument doesn't fit in the scope of what you quoted. I explicitly said "please the gamers, and you will make money." Then you go about explaining ten different ways a game can fail. Pleasing the gamers means producing good games, avoiding exactly what you described in the process.

No, you are BLATANTLY wrong. (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#30778542)

behold mount and blade, one of the last year's stars http://www.taleworlds.com/ [taleworlds.com]

the creators are a husband and wife from turkey, who left their daytime job some years ago to chase this dream. they didnt have any capital, they didnt have any investors. instead, they made their prototype, gave it as shareware, and asked people to support/contribute. a few years later, you have the game. at no point any investment got involved, and they only sit down with a publisher (paradox) after the game was complete.

the game much less rivals pirates in the hybrid/open ended scope, but passes in a medieval feudal world, with unprecedented (common consensus of all gamers and critics) mounted combat. turns out they also have been able to incorporate strategic, roleplay, and rts elements too.

they got high reviews last year in all prominent online gaming magazines.

this alone proves fun, vision beats the hell out of investment and the 50 million dollar budgets you are talking about there.

gaming died when wall street entered into it. it will reincarnate when enough number of players realize gamers and wall street dont mix well together.

Re:No, you are BLATANTLY wrong. (1)

Vohar (1344259) | more than 4 years ago | (#30778926)

I've watched friends play Mount and Blade, and it looks like a fun little game. It got high reviews though based on the fact that it was done by two people. Taking that into account it's pretty impressive, but it doesn't have any of the polish you'd expect from more commercial games. If the same game had gone to reviewers with an EA tag, reviews would have been far less favorable. Phrases like "decade-old graphics" and "choppy hit detection" would have been used.

It's just a different set of standards for major and indie developers. Finding an indie that "made it" doesn't really prove much.

Re:Times have changed (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 4 years ago | (#30778600)

I'm completely with you. Unfortunately video games are not about fun and, well, video games any more. They are about making money, and most of the time that means low innovation/risk taking.

In the early 80's it was about copying everything Atari did. In the late 80's everyone was making a sidescrolling platform. Cue the 90's, where suddenly mascot sidescrollers and fighting titles were all important.

Personally, I think the early 00's \ PS2 era were the most innovative in gaming in quite some time. But either way, games have always been sold out to business. This is sadly not a new development.

Re:Times have changed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30779364)

Why not make games using the model that keeps Hollywood pumping out movies? A bunch of producers get together with directors and various other crew and search for good scripts, then make a blockbuster and everyone is happy. If the game sucks, no problem it's not a "EA" or "Massive/Blizzard" blunder, it's just this particular game sucked. Better luck next time...

The crappy ones could be easily skipped if the reviews are bad at the "screenings"

Re:Times have changed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30777446)

New doesn't mean good. I don't care if the game is the 10th in a series if it's a great game.

Re:Times have changed (2, Interesting)

pmfa (842853) | more than 4 years ago | (#30777652)

It seems he was more happy when EA was the company that didn't create much of new IP or games, but just milked the old ones every year with new versions.

You completely missed the point of the article. Maybe you're a fan of some of the games and you feel that the guy is attacking those, but he doesn't have a word to say about game quality. His main concern is EA's failure to adapt to digital distribution, and the reshaping of a game as we imagine it. In fact a lot a people are failing to see the point, that's the reason there is a follow up post named Packaged Goods [blogspot.com] to explain game unbundling. It's all about choice. Nowadays instead of spending 60$ on a box and get 40 hours of gameplay, we the gamers, want to select our experience. If I only play on my iPhone during my daily commute I can spend a buck once in a while and I'm happy. The freaks that spend their every waking hour in some corner of a virtual world can pay a monthly subscription and be happy.

Re:Times have changed (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30777728)

Nowadays instead of spending 60$ on a box and get 40 hours of gameplay, we the gamers, want to select our experience. If I only play on my iPhone during my daily commute I can spend a buck once in a while and I'm happy. The freaks that spend their every waking hour in some corner of a virtual world can pay a monthly subscription and be happy.

Well in that case he should probably say that to every publisher on the planet, as everyone does this. In fact, Blizzard charges you for the base game, 2 expansion sets, and a monthly fee. Sure you can buy the earlier ones for $19 now, but that still more than an usual game and with a monthly fee. And lots of people have paid the full prices for those games, because they purchased them on launch.

His main concern is EA's failure to adapt to digital distribution

I think EA has been quite good with this. They sell games on Steam, Direct2Drive and their own direct-download store.

But as he noted in the new post, his blog usually gets 50 visitors who knows him and his background, and in that way directing it at EA isn't so surprising. But now slashdot and other sites picked it up as a rant towards EA, while in fact its more general comment towards whole business.

I agree, Lasky is the cause of EA's current issues (5, Insightful)

LKM (227954) | more than 4 years ago | (#30777660)

I actually like the way EA has been taking. They're doing a lot more original, new IP and games than some years ago - last year notably Dead Space, Mirror's Edge, Dragon Age Origins.

This is correct. What Mitch Lasky does not seem to understand is that these new IPs don't have to be immediate monetary successes. They are investments in the future. To understand how that works, one only needs to look at EAs past. They got into the current situation by not starting enough new franchises. Eventually, yearly updates to established franchises were not enough for EA to sustain their business. Hence, EA is failing because they did not invest in new IPs in the past, not because they invest in them now.

Activision is now going down that same path. They made a ton of money with risky, interesting new IPs such as Tony Hawk's and Guitar Hero. Now that they are on top, they're milking these franchises for all they're worth, but not investing in new, interesting franchises they can milk in the future - they're doing exactly what EA has been doing five years ago, and they will end up in the position EA is right now.

People like Mitch Lasky got EA into the position they're now. These people are the cause of EA's problem, not its solution. They need to shut their pie holes.

Re:Times have changed (1)

yakumo.unr (833476) | more than 4 years ago | (#30777674)

Cash cow really just doesn't seem quite a big enough term any more for a project of such an insane monetary pull

Cash whale?

Re:Times have changed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30778676)

Is whale milk any good?

Re:Times have changed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30777680)

How can you say you liek the way EA is going. I will say they have great games. I am so tired with havign to contact them after buying a game because of their DRM, that I no longer will buy any ES product. With Spore, I got home on a Sunday and hated to wait until Monday to play the game. I then needed to spend nearly one hour on the phone to have them reset something on their end.

Unlike most 11 year olds. I have maybe 6 hours a month to play a game. I do not want to spend that time on a call to the help desk.

Times have changed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30777682)

The game industry is no different than the movie industry. Both prefer releasing sequels to proven cash cows rather than originality. When film and movie historians review and categorize films and movies they will discover a lengthy period of rehashed plots and themes beginning in the 1980s. Given the choice I watch old movies, often in black-and-white, instead of the garbage on the "Big Screen."

Re:Times have changed (1)

Darth Sdlavrot (1614139) | more than 4 years ago | (#30777816)

When film and movie historians review and categorize films and movies they will discover a lengthy period of rehashed plots and themes beginning in the 1980s. Given the choice I watch old movies, often in black-and-white, instead of the garbage on the "Big Screen."

Star Wars (IV: A New Hope) predates your 80s threshold, but it too was just a rehash of old B&W serials from the 30s, right down to the opening crawl. I've tried watching some of those serials -- they're so bad, so corny, they're almost unwatchable.

Kind of like Episodes 1-3.

Re:Times have changed (1)

domatic (1128127) | more than 4 years ago | (#30779032)

That sort of rehashing has been going on since we first started telling stories. The number of premises, themes, and plot lines isn't all that large and would fit in a slim volume. Happily the number of ways those can be combined, sequenced, characterized, and emphasized is pretty much infinite. The OP was complaining of something else. A very limited number of fictional universes and franchises like Star Trek and Star Wars is being rehashed over and over. And when they aren't doing that it is either a "remake" or a "reboot" of something else everyone knows about like SpiderMan. And this happens because the MBAs in charge of the studios want some sort of "guaranteed return".

I don't know if Avatar will turn out to be my cup of tea or not but at least it appears to be an attempt to create a new franchise rather than a respin of an existing one. Though even if I do like it, I'm sure I'll be heartily sick of "Avatar: The New Beginning" 20 years from now.

Re:Times have changed (0, Flamebait)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 4 years ago | (#30777700)

What is it with World of Warcraft anyway? Am I the only person in the world left who hasn't played that game? It looked like some cheap Ultima Online or Everquest clone.

Re:Times have changed (1)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 4 years ago | (#30777960)

I haven't played it either don't worry.

Really? (1)

CountBrass (590228) | more than 4 years ago | (#30778114)

So according to the parent we're on the 6th iteration of World of Warcraft? Even if you count the pre-decessor Warcraft RTS games then WoW is only number 4. If you take Diablo, WoW is really WoD, then we're only on the 3rd iteration. But then the parent also ignored Diablo, Warcraft and even Starcraft so we probably shouldn't take him too seriously.

Re:Times have changed (1)

rwv (1636355) | more than 4 years ago | (#30778202)

Activision Blizzard now the ones that are mostly after money

Activision has always been about money. One thing that's surprised me is that they bought the Guitar Hero franchise IP (from Red Octane, or something) and then let Harmonix get right back in the saddle to produce a (in my opinion) technically superior franchise called Rock Band. But Guitar Hero makes more money because it's got better marketing and not as good support for DLC.

Blizzard has always been about quality games. I'd be very surprised if Activision will try to mess up the money-making machine that turns up hits like Warcraft, Diablo, and Starcraft. That was definitely a great acquisition.

Re:Times have changed (1)

10Neon (932006) | more than 4 years ago | (#30778910)

A common error: the acquisition was the other way around- Activision was bought by the company that already owned Blizzard.

They said DA:O would be the new BG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30777354)

"Spiritual successor to Baldur's Gate" my ass. That quote was thrown around so much it lost all meaning. You can't replace Minsc and Boo.

Re:They said DA:O would be the new BG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30777578)

Thank god it isn't. DA:O beats the pants off the Baldur's Gateses. More fun to play *and* a more engaging story with real characters. Fuck BG and its dull, plodding D&D trappings.

Re:They said DA:O would be the new BG (3, Insightful)

Grimbleton (1034446) | more than 4 years ago | (#30777626)

You shut your lying whore mouth.

Re:They said DA:O would be the new BG (1)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 4 years ago | (#30777970)

I thought NWN was the spiritual successor? That franchise needs another game, i loved them all.

Exec spewing again thats all (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30777362)

You can say anything you like but you should be able to back up your allegations with some kind of fact or you risk sounding a lot like a 12 year old who did not get what they want. The real reporter here would be forced to ask the "EA Executive" what exactly should EA be in the business of then? The problem with the statement above is that as Sopssa pointed out, "It seems he was more happy when EA was the company that didn't create much of new IP or games, but just milked the old ones every year with new versions." Gamers get bored... Gamers are getting tired of since you know... it has been around for nearly 20 years now for example. Sports games are always going to make some money because people love being able to play their favorite teams and whip the hell outa their least favorite teams.

MMO's are going to be hard to break into because Blizzard took an award winning and fun game (Warcraft) and turned it into an online experience with WoW. SWG at one time was the leading MMO out there until Smedley took over the creative side and tried to make it a financial thing instead of an innovative and fun game by copying the best of every MMO he could find. However The Old Republic will do well in the market for multiple reasons such as Bioware's known ability to write extremely good plots in their games added to an already good name in the Old Republic series of games (KOTOR is still on the best sellers list ten years after its release).

Whom ever this EA Exec is needs to look at something along the lines of... uhm... Quake is a good one. It was by far the number one FPS game for a long time. And after Quake III its kind of died out because people are bored with it. ID still does well for themselves doing other great games dont get me wrong, but they are not the power house of FPS's that they used to be. Repackaging the same old game with updated graphics and new maps is what will get you a status quo. EA is trying to come up with something new. Its better than some other gaming companies out there.

Off subject (kind of), Dragon Age sold a ton more than expected, has released three Downloadable Content items for minimal cost (around $5 each), is working on the fourth DLC (should be out sometime in the next week or so) and has announced an Expansion. Not bad for a game thats less than 6 months old. Great job Bioware/EA. And the game rawks.

Re:Exec spewing again thats all (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30778770)

Actually Smedley's problem was that he thought buying movie licenses was going to be their big ticket into awesome profits. Game be damned. So they bought Star Wars licenses, Matrix licenses. If you read the history of game publishing, corporations doing movie licensed games more often than not produce absolute piles of steaming shit of games, and go belly up after a certain time. I mean, one of these games (E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial) even caused the videogame crash of 1983. The minute I heard SOE was going to do movie license games, I thought they were finished. There are reasons why this often happens. The money you need to shell out for licensing is money you do not have to spend on game development.

They should have just improved their existing Everquest franchise, instead of letting it die of software bitrot. They only bothered launching Everquest II around the time WoW was launched, and the machine requirements to play the game were so demanding, I wonder how they ever thought they were going to sell a lot of copies. So they only managed to sustain their existing player base instead of enlarging it. IMO they should have also done an RPG using the same engine in a different, PvP, fantasy setting of their own. Blizzard has always been pretty sensitive about this issue and they usually make games which have non-demanding machine requirements.

I did not have a lot of hope for Bioware after all the employees they lost (KotOR II was done by Obsidian) but Mass Effect seems to have turned out well. They should have just made an MMO out of the Mass Effect world instead of shelling out for a Star Wars license.

Re:Exec spewing again thats all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30779230)

Actually I believe the intention at the time that the initial press release that Bioware was doing an MMO was to base it off of something similiar to either NWN, BG or the Jade Empire games. However it coincided with the release and subsequent unhappiness that Lucas Arts felt for what Sony did with the NGE (which was not officially authorized by Lucas as it did not follow Star Wars cannon at all, something Lucas is known for being anal about). Now since Sony had a license and a contract, Lucas could not break contract with Sony so they have forced Sony since to keep the game running even though it is obviously deader than a door-nail (what 8,000 players actually pay for Galaxies now). However the "Star Wars" brand name has a HUGE cash potential (just like Star Trek has) and with the success of the original KotOR by Bioware, they were a logical choice for a new Star Wars based MMO.

Rather or not that is what really happened will probably never be known. But think of the loss of revenue that Lucas has had from a game that should have been not only one of the top selling MMO's but by licensing to Sony who at the time was much bigger than Blizzard was. Why would they consider a contract with a smaller company (Bioware) when the bigger company who has experience with MMO's (Sony) already has a license that they have already spent millions in legal fees ironing out?

I have not played Mass Effect unfortunately so I cant comment. However I would say that making an NWN game would cause problems since NWN is based on AD&D 4th edition and is also licensed through Wizards of the Sword coast who currently have DnD Online that tanked... BG same thing only edition 3... Jade Empire maybe. So watch Dragon Age since its all new, based on the creative ideas of Bioware, and EA, has public tools available to edit new expansions by the players that actually work, and are electronically distributing nearly everything for the game. Without that pesky Wizards of the Sword Coast licensing stuff and a brand name of their own, making a Dragon Age based MMO is not only possible but IMHO likely. BTW, they released the pen and paper version of Dragon Age if youre really into it.

EA is a battery hen publisher (1)

distantbody (852269) | more than 4 years ago | (#30777400)

the developers are the hens and the eggs are the games

Take Dragon Age: the hen had potential but the farmer didn't give it enough free range and the egg came out bland and clichéd. I won't bother fitting the NPC-ads in to the analogy (is there a mod to get rid of them?)

Re:EA is a battery hen publisher (1, Interesting)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 4 years ago | (#30777534)

Every last Bioware RPG has played straight to cliches. EA may be a bastard to work with (and they certainly are), but put the blame for paint-by-numbers plot writing where it belongs.

Re:EA is a battery hen publisher (1)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 4 years ago | (#30778934)

Really? I enjoyed Mass Effect quite a bit. I've just pre-ordered Mass Effect II

How you grow a business (4, Insightful)

Stan Vassilev (939229) | more than 4 years ago | (#30777454)

It's been a very ugly scene, indeed. From Spore, to Dead Space, to Mirror's Edge, to Need for Speed: Undercover, it's been one expensive commercial disappointment for EA Games after another.

Most startups fail, but this doesn't mean we don't need startups.

An advice I read somewhere said to treat every project in your company like a mini-startup. Of course, many of those projects won't become an instant cash-cow. the secret is in being flexible, quickly recognizing failure, minimizing damage and adapting.

But if the company stops trying to innovate and create fresh products, then all you're left with slow death by milking the existing franchises. And of course, man of the best franchises started small as yet-another-risky-project for the company.

Re:How you grow a business (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30778260)

The problem with EA is the sheer size of the organisation. I mean as the company gets bigger, it gets harder to be adaptive. It seems they got a rep a while back for spinning more sequels to games (not bothering to innovate).

But they seem to have listened to the critisism and started to create better, more origonal games. I thought Crisis was ace when it came out and can't say that people don't like the Call of Duty series - even though they are very short for the money.

There should be a rating for Value for money based on relative costs, Enjoyment factor and average time for completion.

We could then work out some values and actually see that developers are giving us either a great game or good value for money (longer games).

It's life Jim, but not as we know it. (4, Interesting)

GuyFawkes (729054) | more than 4 years ago | (#30777466)

The only thing that I can remember about EA games is the logo and the girl whispering "EA Games", I can't remember what games had that "loading screen", actually the other thing I can remember about EA Games is most gamers seem to hate them.

While the marketing / advertising / PR types will probably point at my memory of the corporate logo and say "See, branding works!" the fact is that it doesn't, because the memory that I have is not a positive one.

I remember 3dRealms for Duke, I remember Raven for SoF, I remember Cavedog for TA, and those are all positive memories associated with good games.

I can't think of a single game that EA released, I can probably sit here and recite 50+ game titles, many of which may have been released by EA, but that's not the point.

Frankly the ex-exec is as out of touch as the CEO, if you are going to measure anything by my experience, but of course they don't do that do they, they measure stuff by the closed feedback loops of market researchers, also employed by EA, drinking their own kool aid.

The problem with EA is that unlike 3dRealms, Raven, Cavedog et al, they tried to make the "house" bigger than the "game", and I suspect that if you dig down to the level of the actual game workers, you will find that same corporate branding ethos at work, sure, you're all working on "Aliens vs Mario 7", but you're all working for EA first and foremost, you're all able to be switched around within EA, to "Mario vs Jar Jar Binks 3" at the whim of a manager.

Re:It's life Jim, but not as we know it. (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30777570)

I remember 3dRealms for Duke, I remember Raven for SoF, I remember Cavedog for TA, and those are all positive memories associated with good games.

I can't think of a single game that EA released, I can probably sit here and recite 50+ game titles, many of which may have been released by EA, but that's not the point.

What you listed were developers of the games, not publishers. It's a lot easier to remember a good developer, because they generally release one game between every 2-3 years and if you like it a lot, you're gonna remember the name. Just the same way as you probably remember what bands or artists you like, but don't remember who is their record label.

Re:It's life Jim, but not as we know it. (5, Informative)

f0rk (1328921) | more than 4 years ago | (#30777658)

The problem with EA (for the studios) is that EA screams louder.

What is the first thing you see in a EA game ? That damn EA logo, then for a slip second, you see some random no name company (the studio).

The game publishing industry is trying to mimic the movie publishing industry by doing the classic " presents... a movie"-introduction.

By sad part is. The avarage gamer is a lot less intrested in who made the game, then the avarage movie enthusiast. So they only notice the EA logo and get reminded to turn off all brain activity for 5sec because, well, every one hates waiting for the game to start.

The movie industry can do this because its more or less part of the build up, and for the enthusiast, its just another reminder that this movie is made by the awesome studio, .

Back in the old days. A game would open with the studio logo, and if the publisher is lucky enought, they get there very own screen to present there name, else they would just have to do with a "published by" in the end credits.

Re:It's life Jim, but not as we know it. (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30777824)

I agree on that somewhat, but Ubisoft is even worse than EA. Ubisoft always puts their always-the-same intro and you cant even skip that. EA usually customizes their intro to fit the game scheme so it's not that boring and you can skip it. Activision one is probably the best, short maybe 1 sec blip and you can skip it too.

Re:It's life Jim, but not as we know it. (1)

BenevolentP (1220914) | more than 4 years ago | (#30778258)

Uhm, really? "New Ubisoft game" is, even for the average gamer, as informative as "New Warner Movie", meaning not at all.

"New bioware game" or "new id game" on the other hand... (though id is both developer and publisher i think)

I'd even say that studios are even less interesting to the average movie viewer, since marketing and interest is mostly centered on the director and actors (trying to come up with an example, i just had to look up that Spielbergs studio is Dreamworks actually)

I really don't understand how you come to your conclusion.

Re:It's life Jim, but not as we know it. (1)

f0rk (1328921) | more than 4 years ago | (#30778510)

I think sopssa (the first guy who replied to me) actually had a good point.

Its a bit depending on what publisher it is, some of them do the best of it and actually integrates the games style into the presentation.

This is almost the always case with movies (shown at the cinema). You rarely see "game-style" introduction to a movie. It's most of the time part of the ACTUAL movie, and the majority of the time elegantly presented, and part of the build up.

(i am aware that there is alot of movies that has both the "game-style" presentation and the more cinematic way)

Re:It's life Jim, but not as we know it. (1)

Mr. DOS (1276020) | more than 4 years ago | (#30778808)

It doesn't help that the EA logo is never skippable, but the studio logo almost always is...

      --- Mr. DOS

Re:It's life Jim, but not as we know it. (1)

GuyFawkes (729054) | more than 4 years ago | (#30777918)

I hear you re developers vs publishers.

But....

The fact stands, the BRANDS that I remember are 3dRealms, Raven, Cavedog, mmm, positive feelings, positive associations...

EA... ummm, errrr, dunno, sucks tho.

Re:It's life Jim, but not as we know it. (1)

YouDoNotWantToKnow (1516235) | more than 4 years ago | (#30777878)

I remember Raven for ruining Quake 4 and it is not a positive memory at all.

Re:It's life Jim, but not as we know it. (1)

jaraxle (1707) | more than 4 years ago | (#30777904)

Much like you, I remember the developers of games as well.

I remember Origin Systems, Westwood Studios, and Mythic Entertainment (granted, still around but "rebranded" to EAMythic). I also remember the publisher that effectively destroyed them and the works that they created; Electronic fucking Arts. Granted, Mythic is not yet destroyed but their latest flagship product, Warhammer Online, didn't truly start sinking until the merger with EA. Take into account the gutting of the studio with last years Q4 layoffs and it's doubtful WAR will recover without some serious TLC.

Let's see how EA handles Bioware now that they've been assimilated. Time will tell of EA forces them to push Old Republic out the door too fast without it being finished thereby guaranteeing MMO failure, or if they actually learned from the mistakes they heaped upon WAR and let Bioware just do their job.

~jaraxle

transparent strategy (5, Insightful)

dickbot (1116661) | more than 4 years ago | (#30777506)

- work for EA for a while, at least until I can find a real job : CHECK

- leave the company with a nice bundle of cash and the appearance of now having insider knowledge : CHECK

- take various SHORT positions on EA stocks with the leverage of my new firm : CHECK

- write a nasty paper about how bad EA is ran, and have it published on /. : CHECK

- take even SHORTER positions on EA stock : CHECK

- wait for stocks to drop, take LONG positions and retire to the caiman islands.

Recommended businesses for EA: (3, Funny)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30777632)

Things that, from what I know about the typical EA manager character, should fit them:
- Weapon dealer / Warlord: Fueling wars by selling weapons to both sides, just to make money.
- Pharma industry: Getting school children on hard drugs sold as medicine, just to make money.
- Competition for Monsanto: genetically engineer slowly killing plants and make the whole world plant and eat them, just to make money.
- Music industry: Artist extortion and media reproduction, just to make money... ...Oh, wait!

Missed his point (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30777766)

I think we've missed his point. EA continues to make very expensive "disc based" titles when things are going to "download only", thus cheaper (take a look at iPhone 1.99 games... Good luck selling a $9.99 app). The article said that EA thinks they have 10 years he thinks 2-3 years. Whether he's right or not, who knows. If he is correct then EA can't keep spending $50mil per title. People pay $60 per game because they can trade them in for $40. What happens when "download only" does not allow tradeins? The price of games will need to drop. (eg. Music Cds used to cost $20 now I find most for $10.). All $ Canadian.

Re:Missed his point (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#30777928)

I've never understood the allure of download only, it does work, but really only for companies like gog that allow you to redownload the games when you want and free them of DRM crap. If I can't do that, then I'm definitely not buying. Which is a shame because several of the games listed in the summary are ones that I would be buying if not for the oppressive DRM scheme.

As my friends used to say about Battlefield 2.... (2, Funny)

Bicx (1042846) | more than 4 years ago | (#30777866)

EA: Patch Everything


Why get it right the first time when you can release a dozen 500MB patches?

Re:As my friends used to say about Battlefield 2.. (1)

f0rk (1328921) | more than 4 years ago | (#30777978)

But now your putting a bit to much blame on EA. DICE is the studio that made it. Even though EA is renowned for putting shit loads of pressure on there studios, DICE are still the once that made an extremely buggy game.
Specially when DICE is the LEAST affected of all EA studios. Fuck DICE is even listed as its own "country" on jobs.ea.com, because of there freedom to move and produce.

Re:As my friends used to say about Battlefield 2.. (1)

Bicx (1042846) | more than 4 years ago | (#30778958)

Although not entirely responsible, EA should be prepared to take the blame when they slap their unskippable "EA: Challenge Everything" logo screen at the beginning of a game. DICE may just have written the code, but EA is the common denominator for games that tend to suck on a technical level, so people will almost always blame EA.

Re:As my friends used to say about Battlefield 2.. (1)

Jaqenn (996058) | more than 4 years ago | (#30778302)

Just so we're on the same page here, would you agree or disagree that Battlefield 2 was astoundingly good when it wasn't crashing?

Re:As my friends used to say about Battlefield 2.. (1)

Bicx (1042846) | more than 4 years ago | (#30778490)

It was a great game that included more aspects (guns, ground vehicles, helicopters, aircraft) than just about any other multiplayer game. The quality of the software and service tried my patience though.

Re:As my friends used to say about Battlefield 2.. (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30778774)

E... A... SPORTS! PC's are lame.

Filter error: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING. Filter error: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.

Re:As my friends used to say about Battlefield 2.. (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30778794)

Fuck, I meant to say "Ports."

HARDFAIL.

I have to agree (1)

eugene2k (1213062) | more than 4 years ago | (#30777954)

EA really is in the wrong business. With their skills they can make more money in racketeering.

EA, god forbid, should you do anything to bioware (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#30778458)

we, the gamer community will make sure that noone buys your games. hear and heed.

You got the power to back that up? (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 4 years ago | (#30779248)

Wow. Someone on slashdot.org makes a threat to EA. I'm sure they're reading it. And that they're terrified. I mean, I'm sure that if they screw up Bioware, MILLIONS of sports gamers who don't give two pennies about the types of games Bioware makes (mostly RPGs), will stop buying their sports games. Fans of The Sims, everywhere, will stop buying any Sims games. Nobody will buy any EA games at all because they screwed up Bioware. All because you prophesied it on slashdot.

Don't get me wrong, I have liked several of Bioware's games in the past, and it seems like EA is already starting to screw them up, and I'm not too happy about it, but seriously, neither you nor I have the power to make sure that no one buys EA games.

EA terribad? I can't believe it! (1)

castironpigeon (1056188) | more than 4 years ago | (#30778806)

So after churning out a decade's worth of craptastic software somebody more or less important finally caught on to their scam? This only a few short years after the general public caught onto their scam, causing a drop in sales and consequently bringing on cries of, "Oh noes! PC gaming is coming to an end!" and, invariably, "OMG PIRATES!" I'm guessing we'll see a few more years of EA squandering its IPs, putting out bug-ridden, graphically intense, empty gaming rehashes of previously successful games before all of its investors and high level crooks move on to start the cycle over again somewhere else.
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