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Electronics Arts CEO Ousted In Wake of SimCity Launch Disaster

Unknown Lamer posted about a year and a half ago | from the onward-to-ruin-the-next-company dept.

DRM 427

mozumder writes "The disastrous launch of SimCity took its first major toll, with EA CEO John Riccitiello being fired from his position and removed from the Board of Directors. It is unknown what effect this may have on the SimCity franchise or any future DRM of EA games, but clearly someone didn't think their cunning plan all the way through when they decided to implement always-on connections for single-player gaming."

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Let me be the first (maybe) to say: (4, Informative)

neminem (561346) | about a year and a half ago | (#43208495)

Yay!

Also more likely the first to say: its != it's. Yay for slashdot editors.

That was a fast ouster (4, Funny)

sarysa (1089739) | about a year and a half ago | (#43208585)

I guess John Riccitiello couldn't get past Turbo Tubes...

Finally! (4, Insightful)

Shoten (260439) | about a year and a half ago | (#43208497)

Someone at a high level paying the price for DRM-incurred failure. Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out, asshole.

Re:Finally! (1)

ddegirmenci (1644853) | about a year and a half ago | (#43208527)

Probably paying the price by grabbing millions in various dismissal fees?

Re:Finally! (4, Insightful)

Shoten (260439) | about a year and a half ago | (#43208565)

A one-time payout at departure...particularly departure for failure...is less than the cumulative pay over time. And it's something he was going to get sooner or later. It's not like departing under good conditions pays worse than departing under bad ones.

Re:Finally! (5, Insightful)

GumphMaster (772693) | about a year and a half ago | (#43209151)

Yes, but he still gets the "pay over time", just from some other company, because he's a member of the endlessly rotating pool of CxO/Director/Board Members.

Re:Finally! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43208577)

Better to pay millions in dismissal fees now than to pay for bankruptcy later.

Re:Finally! (5, Insightful)

pipatron (966506) | about a year and a half ago | (#43208643)

I think this is much more a PR move than it is a financial move.

They want to show that they have "solved" the problem and that it will not happen again, by letting a manager walk. I'm pretty sure the full board of directors knew perfectly well what was going on with Sim City, and it is not likely that the CEO was the only one driving this through.

Re:Finally! (5, Informative)

jbolden (176878) | about a year and a half ago | (#43208909)

A board of directors is generally responsible for things like regulatory issues. They may not even know what Sim City was until it became a PR disaster.

Paul Vivek -- from GE
Leonard Coleman -- from Heinz and baseball team owner (probably helps on sports licensing)
Jay Hoag -- finance guy
Jeffrey Huber -- adverting
Maffei -- media
Ubinas -- Ford
Simonsian -- mobile expert
3 ex EA guys

Re:Finally! (4, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | about a year and a half ago | (#43209079)

The buck has to stop somewhere. If the Chief Executive Officers can't take responsibilty, what are they being paid for?

Besides, DRM for a single game sounds way more like a CEO decision at best and not a board decision.

Re:Finally! (4, Funny)

darkwing_bmf (178021) | about a year and a half ago | (#43208805)

I offer my services as CEO. I might fail, but I'd be willing to do it at half the price.

Re:Finally! (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#43208853)

I offer my services as CEO. I might fail, but I'd be willing to do it at half the price.

I honestly have to wonder, at this point, why somebody hasn't caught on to the 'get random Indian H1Bs to fail at leadership for 40k/year and pocket the savings' strategy...

Re:Finally! (2)

plover (150551) | about a year and a half ago | (#43209001)

What makes you think they haven't? There's nothing about a Senior VP job or a CIO job that requires the executive to live full-time in the USA. If a board is serious about their outsourcing, even those jobs go to the lowest bidder.

Now, should it go to a contractor? Different question. They certainly could not do worse than most of the non-engineering MBAs I've seen in the corner offices.

Re:Finally! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43209015)

Probably worried that the resulting mismanagement would cost the company more than the savings would balance out.

Re:Finally! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43209089)

Adobe did that and look what happened.

Re:Finally! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43208785)

Yeah, he's certainly getting his. Totally not being paid ludicrous money and totally won't just go do the same kind of shit elsewhere. And the customers are completely vindicated now. A complete and utter victory.

Re:Finally! (5, Insightful)

Fluffeh (1273756) | about a year and a half ago | (#43208841)

... and totally won't just go do the same kind of shit elsewhere.

Actually, I think you might underestimate how "big companies" look to other "big companies" to see what to do and what not to do. If this was some little dev house, no it wouldn't make a difference in the world. Given that it is such a large company, others might actually take some notice.

Also, there is a good chance that given such a negative dismissal, he is going to find it harder to get into the next position. Not to say that he won't, but it likely won't be as good as he had hoped for.

Re:Finally! (1)

murdocj (543661) | about a year and a half ago | (#43208941)

I wish it were true but it seems like having been a big time CEO counts as good job experience, even if you have a disaster. I suspect he'll land on his feet :(

Re:Finally! (4, Insightful)

Guppy06 (410832) | about a year and a half ago | (#43208889)

Someone at a high level paying the price

Golden parachute.

Re:Finally! (5, Insightful)

atheistmonk (1268392) | about a year and a half ago | (#43208987)

Too bad this didn't happen with Blizzard after Diablo 3 as well. Fuck this always-online NWO bullshit.

Re:Finally! (5, Informative)

jest3r (458429) | about a year and a half ago | (#43209135)

Riccitiello's 10-point plan to Success

1. Buy Franchise
2. Water Down Experience for Casual Players
3. Add Online
4. Add Co-op
5. Add Gritty Camera Filters
6. Overwork Developers
7. Pretend Game is Finished
8. Add DLC / Make Old Features New by Converting Them to DLC
9. Pay for Good Reviews
10. Hype the Fuck Out of The Game

Guns don't kill... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43208515)

DRM does.

Is this a first? (4, Interesting)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about a year and a half ago | (#43208519)

Serious question... is this the first time an exec was ousted for a mistake with DRM?

Re:Is this a first? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43208629)

Serious question... is this the first time an exec was ousted for a mistake with DRM?

This isn't necessarily about DRM. EA is going to miss the financial projections they made at the end of Jan. He's leaving before the board and shareholders come after him with pitchforks.

Re:Is this a first? (2)

rwa2 (4391) | about a year and a half ago | (#43208799)

Try to be more cynical, will you? If anything it won't be due to the DRM, but from poor capacity planning to go with the launch. Actually, even that is too technical, the official reason will probably have something to do with "PR management".

Re:Is this a first? (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#43208891)

Serious question... is this the first time an exec was ousted for a mistake with DRM?

If memory serves, one of the more plausible reasons posited for SimCity's ill-conceived launch was that it was right before EA's financial year wrapped up. I don't think that anybody who mattered gave a damn about DRM; but mangling the DRM-induced server hooks so badly that total non-techie rags like Forbes were writing articles about it... That just doesn't look competent.

If anything, DRM(as a lock-in and market segmentation strategy) is something that team management would probably earn points for; but only if they can pull it off well enough to win more than it costs them. People like Apple and Valve, yes. EA, not so much.

Re:Is this a first? (5, Insightful)

jxander (2605655) | about a year and a half ago | (#43209049)

He wasn't ousted for DRM, but failing to execute the DRM properly.

If the servers had been even REMOTELY close to sufficient for a day 1 load, the manager would still be onboard and the DRM would be proven successful. As that was not the case, the problem is the manager failing to properly plan for launch day activities. The DRM is still successful and will be implemented in subsequent EA releases.

Fired? What? (4, Informative)

Mashiki (184564) | about a year and a half ago | (#43208525)

The guy tendered resignation. [polygon.com] The letter he wrote is in that link there. Besides of that EA has been all over the place in terms of performance for awhile. I picked up a few hundred shares at $12 ~6mo ago and sold them at $18.50, which while not a spectacular turn around was decent enough.

Re:Fired? What? (5, Insightful)

Dan East (318230) | about a year and a half ago | (#43208601)

When a board member calls up the CEO and says that it's unanimous, it's time for you to leave, the CEO can either save face and "resign", or let the board officially vote them out. Regardless of what they're calling it, "fired" is probably an accurate description.

Re:Fired? What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43208761)

Speculation, nothing more.

Re:Fired? What? (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | about a year and a half ago | (#43208873)

Speculation, but very likely. These sort of folks have to do something basically *criminal* to be fired. Anything else is a note saying you have [insert number] days to tender a resignation. Firing someone at that level generally looks bad on the company doing it, so they prefer to let the person resign themselves - and it most often works in favor of the person as well, so they take up the offer.

Re:Fired? What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43208975)

Speculation. Got it!

Re:Fired? What? (1)

jxander (2605655) | about a year and a half ago | (#43209063)

These sort of folks have to do something basically *criminal* to be fired.

From what I've seen, criminal activities tend to get people promoted at that level. Not fired

Re:Fired? What? (3, Informative)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year and a half ago | (#43208885)

When a board member calls up the CEO and says that it's unanimous, it's time for you to leave, the CEO can either save face and "resign", or let the board officially vote them out. Regardless of what they're calling it, "fired" is probably an accurate description.

Yep, at that level you're rarely publicly 'fired'... You just come back to the office after lunch and find on your desk the equivalent of a pistol with a single round in it. Everyone (involved) knows what that means.

Re:Fired? What? (0)

mark-t (151149) | about a year and a half ago | (#43208907)

When a board member calls up the CEO and says that it's unanimous, it's time for you to leave...

Where had you heard that had happened, or is this just more speculation?

Re:Fired? What? (2)

plover (150551) | about a year and a half ago | (#43209183)

Because that's how these things are done up and down Big Corporate America. Being quietly offered the chance to "quit or be fired", most executives choose the resume-preserving path. They are then unctuously thanked for their many contributions, and wished well while they go on to pursue other interests or spend more time with their families.

It's a professional courtesy. Sure, the board could fire him, but once they start down the paths of firing executives, other executives find themselves uncomfortably on the firing line. That way lies chaos, so instead, the Old Boys Network has unwritten protocols that govern the whole process, keeping it "civilized."

The thing about executives is that their contracts make clear they're holding a "future scapegoat" role. In a larger company it's just a matter of time before some big project goes bad, and heads need to roll in order to slake the bloodlust of the stockholders. The guy in the corner office knows up front that he's going to be sacrificed if such a thing happens on his watch. When it does, it's not a big deal. The other Old Boys at The Club will say to him "too bad, old chum, your subordinates obviously let you down. Don't mind that, same thing happens everywhere, they're all incompetent. Have a drink. How would you like a nice cushy job being our scapegoat for a while?"

If your company isn't already being run by these kinds of self-serving bastards, I suggest you quit reading slashdot, and go back to work. That's a boss you want to keep, and not a job you want to lose.

Re:Fired? What? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43208723)

"In the biz" this has been expected for a long time, and no, it's probably not a direct reaction to SimCity (though that probably didn't help).

Re:Fired? What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43209213)

Normally at that level you are not outright fired. You are informed its time to move on, so you can save face by resigning. Same result, same intent but looks different on the resume. And cheaper for both parties.

Submission Facts Fail (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43208533)

Poster "Unknown Lamer" lives up to name.

Schadenfreude (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43208539)

Well, hopefully his golden parachute will only be accessible if he maintains a continuous online connection to HR for the next three years.

Re:Schadenfreude (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43208703)

Excellent.

Odd (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43208547)

The press release doesn't mention anything about SimCity. Could it be other causes and you're just trying to bend the message to your own personal fantasies? In any case, I doubt it'll have any real effect on the user of DRM.

Re:Odd (4, Interesting)

DrGamez (1134281) | about a year and a half ago | (#43208741)

I would -love- if this was because of SimCity, but this entire summary is pretty suspect. It smells really bad of wanting to push forward the idea that "Simcity is a failure, and with it, takes EA".

Like I said, I'd love if this was true - but there are many other reason for the CEO to step down outside of SC5. Not saying the whole mess didn't help him/the board finalize on the decision - but lets not turn into Kotaku levels of terrible summaries here.

Re:Odd (2, Funny)

Hatta (162192) | about a year and a half ago | (#43209047)

Obviously he just wants to spend more time with his family.

Re:Odd (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43209017)

EA is unlikely to ever admit that they made the wrong decision with SimCity. They *might* try to quietly fix the issues, if we're lucky -- like the Mass Effect 3 ending -- but admitting fault is something that companies rarely ever do.

Re:Odd (1)

chill (34294) | about a year and a half ago | (#43209081)

How about this one...

Despite connection problems plaguing the opening days after launch, city-building simulation SimCity has sold more than 1.1 million copies, publisher Electronic Arts announced. -- USA Today, March 18.

Amazon lists it for $60 and has a release date of March 4. So it grossed $66 million in two weeks.

I doubt the SimCity launch was the reason for this guy leaving.

Re:Odd (1)

shentino (1139071) | about a year and a half ago | (#43209271)

The press release's timing is strongly suggestive of it.

How about SWTOR? (3, Interesting)

Billly Gates (198444) | about a year and a half ago | (#43208551)

I still play that game and it was sooo fucking close to a Wow killer. They rushed it without dailies and raids to meet Christmas projection marks in some accountants spreadsheet and they killed the game cards and the expansion at the store and gave up too early.

I do not care what other say about SWTOR it is not failure and much better. Bioware did great things and they got rid of great people too quickly. Another 6 months when SWTOR had the dailies, raids, and fixes it would have 3x the amount of subscribers.

What a shame and I am irritated as I do not want to go back to Wow.

Re:How about SWTOR? (1)

armanox (826486) | about a year and a half ago | (#43208667)

You think they would have learned not to do that after so many people complained about KOTOR2's dropped content.

Re:How about SWTOR? (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about a year and a half ago | (#43208859)

They have.

It was close but the good employees have been let go. Making it F2P kills profits so I assume it will be killed soon 90% done without a chance.

On the plus side... (4, Funny)

Bookworm09 (1321243) | about a year and a half ago | (#43208553)

... this does give him more time to play SimCity.

Severance Pay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43208555)

And the next video game you buy from EA will include a golden parachute tax. Thanks free market.

Tipping point ... (5, Insightful)

jest3r (458429) | about a year and a half ago | (#43208559)

SimCity was the tipping point.

Remember, EA was recently ranked as the Worst Company in America [gamespot.com] . Gamers have been complaining about EA way before SimCity. Like when EA negotiated an exclusive rights deal on all NFL games and then churned out the worst NFL games for years and years to come. They have ruined many, many franchises.

Re:Tipping point ... (5, Funny)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about a year and a half ago | (#43208635)

Since they had exclusive rights didn't they also thus turn out the best NFL games for years?

Also, we're nerds here. What's a good NFL game in the first place?

Re:Tipping point ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43208739)

I haven't played a NFL game in nearly a decade but back in the day NFL Blitz was an excellent game. Football was something I didn't care for back then (and still don't today) but I still had a blast with NFL Blitz. This can be attributed to it's focus on game play and fun than on accurately modeling teams, players and rules. Some impossible players were amazing fun, throwing the ball the length of the field only to have the opposing team jump up 20 feet, intercept it mid air, catch on fire, run the length of the field and dive something like 10 yards for an interception touch down.

Re:Tipping point ... (2)

darkwing_bmf (178021) | about a year and a half ago | (#43208893)

The last football game I really got into was Tecmo Super Bowl. Damn I'm old.

Re:Tipping point ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43209155)

QB BILLS MUTHAFUCKAAAAA. haha seriously though, I'm always the Giants. LT gets sacks like crazy.

Re:Tipping point ... (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about a year and a half ago | (#43209253)

Also, we're nerds here. What's a good NFL game in the first place?

Any one the Patriots lose in. Oh, you meant a video game.

Re:Tipping point ... (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | about a year and a half ago | (#43208913)

SimCity was the tipping point.

I sincerely doubt it. Ultimately, EA's problem with SimCity was that they had too many paying customers. That's generally not something shareholders or board members would be terribly displeased by.

There's no real indication that EA's bottom line is hurting regardless, let alone what it would be caused by.

Re:Tipping point ... (2)

jest3r (458429) | about a year and a half ago | (#43209073)

Ultimately, EA's problem with SimCity was that they had too many paying customers.

Uh no. Their shares have been at sitting at all time lows since 2008 and John Riccitiello with whom they brought in to fix things has shit the bed. There is more bad news on the revenue front coming soon (as the press release indicates).

Riccitiello destroyed the NFL franchise, killed almost every other big name game (Command and Conquer, Mass Effect), bet the bank on Spore and lost, and oversaw the launch of a bug-plagued online service that is now shutting down [ea.com] more old games that people purchased than launching new ones.

 

Re:Tipping point ... (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about a year and a half ago | (#43209157)

I sincerely doubt it. Ultimately, EA's problem with SimCity was that they had too many paying customers.

In general yeah, too many customers caused problems. But maybe when they had to rush to add additional servers and hardware, someone along the chain of command decided that it's pretty stupid for EA to be paying monthly bills to run an online requirement of a pay-once game. Customers only have to pay once, EA gets a monthly bill for it.

Re:Tipping point ... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43208945)

Take off the Gamer Goggles.

The world through Gamer Goggles: EA is an evil company that kidnapped NFL execs' pets until they signed a usurious contract and churned out crap NFL-branded games.

The world through Reality Goggles: The NFL approached EA about a licensing deal in the first place, and the Madden series has continued to be one of the strongest sports game franchises.

Sorry guy, not everything is a huge conspiracy on a corporate level to put out bad games. Just because you happen to dislike them doesn't make millions of other games' experiences any less positive.

... and nothing of value was lost. (3, Insightful)

Verminator (559609) | about a year and a half ago | (#43208571)

Good riddance. Now kindly proceed rolling heads throughout all upper and middle management, until you get to the first employee who indicated that the always-online feature was an indescribably bad idea. He or she is new CEO.

Poor guy will be living on the streets (5, Informative)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year and a half ago | (#43208573)

He'll somehow have to scrape by on 24 months of full pay (and stock vesting):

http://www.polygon.com/2013/3/18/4120344/ea-ceo-john-riccitiello-quits [polygon.com]

As part of Riccitiello's separation agreement, he'll receive 24 months of salary continuation and continued vesting of unvested stock options until Nov. 30, 2013, with those options exercisable until Feb. 28, 2014.

Re:Poor guy will be living on the streets (1)

pclminion (145572) | about a year and a half ago | (#43208965)

Douchebags all over the planet make a lot of money. At least he ain't running EA anymore.

Pure speculation (4, Insightful)

blarkon (1712194) | about a year and a half ago | (#43208591)

While it's nice to speculate that the guy was fired for reasons that suit the average slashdotter's predilection's about DRM, there is no evidence that this is the case.

Re:Pure speculation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43208743)

Correct. I speculate that he was not fired for the DRM, but for the way the market and media reacted after the Sim City release.

Re:Pure speculation (3, Insightful)

DRJlaw (946416) | about a year and a half ago | (#43208795)

While it's nice to speculate that the guy was fired for reasons that suit the average slashdotter's predilection's about DRM, there is no evidence that this is the case.

In the real world, and even in the legal world, circumstantial evidence [wikipedia.org] is still evidence. You're welcome to offer direct evidence to the contrary... but direct evidence has never been a requirement for criminal convictions, much less individual opinion concening massive business failures followed closely by executives seeking more time with their families.

"No evidence" is usually a euphamism for "LALALALA I CAN'T HEAR YOU LALALALA." You're welcome to offer a better explanation, but there is certainly evidence that this is the case.

Re:Pure speculation (3, Interesting)

mark-t (151149) | about a year and a half ago | (#43209113)

Except there's not enough circumstantial evidence to really come to any conclusions here in that regard. What we have here is a story submitter who read far more between the lines of a story about a recent event than was actually published, most likely as a result of something that they wanted or already had expected to be true. Scientific skepticism demands that all the evidence be considered... not just that which might serve a particular desirable outcome, and that might mean waiting a little while to see what happens.

It stands to reason that if the submitter's proposed reasons for the "resignation" are accurate, then eventually the truth should come out about that matter. At the very least, if those reasons are accurate, then it seems that EA should start taking measures to prevent the situation from repeating. So... wait. And see.

Otherwise, it's just a conspiracy theory.

Re:Pure speculation (2)

ron_ivi (607351) | about a year and a half ago | (#43208819)

Perhaps he was fired because the DRM wasn't strong enough and some hacker proved it was technologically capable of running off-line.

Re:Pure speculation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43209035)

No.

I know this is /. but still... (3, Informative)

Anonymous CowWord (635850) | about a year and a half ago | (#43208597)

Good God.

I know this is /. and no one RTFA and all but seriously, at least try to search for key words like "Sim" or "City" before submitting an article with a moronic sensationalist headline like this.

His resignation has nothing to do with Sim City. Dream on.

Re:I know this is /. but still... (2)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about a year and a half ago | (#43209223)

The headline is strictly correct. He was ousted from his position (in his letter he cites accountability for missing financial targets, which probably means he didn't decide to quit on his own - which CEO would?), and this did in fact happen in the wake of SimCity's launch (which was, in fact, a disaster). The summary obviously tries to conflate his being fired with SimCity's DRM, but the headline seems fine to me.

Re:I know this is /. but still... (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about a year and a half ago | (#43209235)

Think of it this way: if the SimCity launch had been a smashing success, do you think the CEO would be stepping down?

My first experience with EA (1, Interesting)

dfn5 (524972) | about a year and a half ago | (#43208609)

Pinball Construction set for the Mac 512. The 800k floppy disk was DOA. Was I ever pissed. Got a free hat for my trouble, though, so...

I doubt it was just over SimCity (5, Insightful)

eksith (2776419) | about a year and a half ago | (#43208611)

It may have more to do with the fact EA stock went from $40 to $20 since he took office and there are plenty within and without the company that want to move into mobile gaming more and he's in the way. The board may also believe fresh blood will bring in a new way of doing things in the gaming sphere. I hope they take this opportunity to actually do some worthwhile changes; first being getting rid of or at least finding a better DRM mechanism (since I'm sure there are some dinosaurs who think DRM is still a workable system) and branch out.

They should learn a lesson from Atari. Inheritence isn't how you hold on to the throne. If blood must be spilled, then so be it.

Re:I doubt it was just over SimCity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43209021)

Right, they should learn from the company that went into bankruptcy. If you look at the history of EA's stock prices, they took a nose dive along with everyone else back in 2009. If the stock price was the reason then they would have dismissed him back in '09, not five years later.

However, I will agree this may not be over SimCity at all, the press release that /. links to doesn't name any specifics, though another poster linked to his letter of resignation [polygon.com] stating that they weren't going to make their mark this quarter. While SimCity might get reported for this quarter, I doubt the fall out of the bad launch has yet hit their books. That "free" game offer they're giving might hurt them a bit, but given the timing I wouldn't be surprised they can make that run on next quarter's reporting, thereby possibly giving them a chance to soften the blow on their earnings report.

Can I dream... (2)

mlts (1038732) | about a year and a half ago | (#43208625)

Perhaps the next EA CEO might see about some of the IP they are sitting on and make something decent that isn't just the same junk over and over.

Wing Commander, Ultima (I know there is are games in the works, but it would be nice to see Ultima 8 stricken off the books, and a "real" 8 and 9 made. Heck, I'd love to see a modern rendition of "Cybermage" just for the surreal aspect that mixes magic and technology, and not being Shadowrun or steampunk.

Re:Can I dream... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43208687)

Will Wright for CEO!

Re:Can I dream... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43208815)

Over scoped and over budget. He'll be a perfect CEO!

Schadenfreude (1)

hduff (570443) | about a year and a half ago | (#43208671)

It's all good.

BWAHAHAHAHA!

Re:Schadenfreude (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43208833)

No one cares what you think hoytduff@gmail.com. Not a single fuck is given.
 
hoytduff@gmail.com
hoytduff@gmail.com
hoytduff@gmail.com
 
SPAM THIS BITCH!!!!

Restoring Trust (2, Interesting)

onyxruby (118189) | about a year and a half ago | (#43208679)

When the spokeswoman for Electronic Arts stated that they would try to restore trust with their users I never fathomed that they would actually follow that up with action. I cannot begin to overstate my congratulations to the board of Electronic Arts for doing the right thing and ousting a CEO that had declared his customers the defacto enemy.

When the lies came out that the online requirement was for server processing I took it as yet another BS statement from a company that held it's customers in contempt. When customers showed how easily you could play offline the lie was exposed and Maxis / EA was forced to admit the truth. I never expected that action would come out of this, and must say I am surprised by this as anything in technology in twenty years. Congratulations to EA for taking a step in trying to restore the trust of your customers.

Re:Restoring Trust (2)

Gel214th (827454) | about a year and a half ago | (#43208767)

If you believe this, though, then shouldn't the head of Maxis that actually made the statements that their servers were doing critical processing for the Single Player experience also take some blame?

If I recall the first position from Maxis was that this was their responsibility, and their design choice, implying it had nothing to do with DRM but was a "design decision" that the team made to enhance the user experience.

Hold your applause till the end... (2)

HaeMaker (221642) | about a year and a half ago | (#43208897)

We have no idea this was the reason and I would bet EA does NOT blame DRM for the failure. Especially given the fact that the servers do little processing (as we now know). I am sure they blame server engineering for being unprepared, or the guy who didn't sign the big server check, or the team responsible for forecasting. I can almost guarantee they do not blame DRM, since your gamer brethren BOUGHT THE GAME knowing DRM was in there.

Only if DRM disappears from EA games in the future, can you declare victory.

Same guy? (1)

grilled-cheese (889107) | about a year and a half ago | (#43208681)

Wasn't this the same guy that killed single-player only games from EA?

Have they actually learnt? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43208715)

Is there any actual confirmation that he was let go because of the DRM failings specifically and not just because of simcity's general failure.

We know why it failed but it's bad reporting to say that's EA's reason.

Re:Have they actually learnt? (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year and a half ago | (#43209009)

I wouldn't expect there to be.

This story is just a nerd-fantasy take on a recent event, without any objectively verifiable proof to substantiate it.

Its first major toll (2, Informative)

GrahamCox (741991) | about a year and a half ago | (#43208803)

"The disastrous launch of SimCity took it's first major toll

Look, I'm getting sick of this. Just leave out the fucking unnecessary apostrophes OK? What are you, 7? How hard is it to learn the bloody rule and use it? Not hard at all - I've known it since I was seven!

I do not expect to see this happen ever again. Thankyou.

Re:Its first major toll (5, Funny)

mrclisdue (1321513) | about a year and a half ago | (#43208931)

It's a shame you don't feel the same way about code tags....

cheers,

They could have expanded their market with Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43208935)

I wonder if they would have just spent that money to expand the market into Linux then they could have picked up an additional few percent on sales. Then they would be much closer to being able to port to new devices and platforms in the future to extend the sales out for longer. Basically they could have spent that engineering cost on expanding the market instead of locking down the existing one.

Spare me (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43208985)

> It is unknown what effect this may have on the SimCity franchise or any future DRM of EA games, but clearly someone didn't think their cunning plan all the way through when they decided to implement always-on connections for single-player gaming.

Your comments imply that always-on connected DRM is the reason this guy was fired. If EA is like any corporation I've ever worked for or with, that issue isn't even close to being on the radar. I'm sure the reason the board thinks it's firing him are as follows:
* Poor release and capacity planning for such a major launch
* Failure to mitigate the emergency before it became a catastrophe
* Need a scapegoat, the higher on the totem pole the better. I guess in this case, VPs of engineering or QA weren't enough.

I'd be shocked if anyone above manager level at EA was thinking about releasing the next game without "always on connected DRM". They're thinking about capacity planning and performance testing instead. Why? They think DRM makes them money. This was fundamentally an execution problem. It's unfortunate, but I think the days of big budget games that didn't require a network connection are over.

#irc.t8olltalk.com (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43208997)

OUTER SPACE THE

Greed greed greed, control control control (1)

erroneus (253617) | about a year and a half ago | (#43209033)

Sometimes the best way to get what you want is to give a little and let go a little.

It has never been a question of "can they" but of "should they." I think most of us agree they should not, and now perhaps a few more agree as well. Interestingly, there have been ample examples of why such practices are bad. Blackberry outages should have taught this to executive types over the years. But there have also been DRM servers which have gone down in the past I seem to recall with large amounts of attention on the matter of DRM and always online gameplay.

"This time it will be different." Perhaps not.

Fans are more valuable than customers... and customers more valuable than consumers. Hubris.

If only he'd been a banking CEO.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43209039)

US taxpayers would have been happy to fund a large performance bonus for him!

so... (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year and a half ago | (#43209053)

Why are the marketing and IT departments still there?

It's Kind of a Shame... (1)

Akratist (1080775) | about a year and a half ago | (#43209055)

I remember the good ol' EA days, when they had nice fold-open packaging complete with campy pictures of the development team and some other neat odds and ends. In a way, it kind of symbolizes the direction that gaming has gone, from being very much a novel and experimental field, into something which has become ruled by focus groups and boardroom politics (I guess that parallels movies, too). I don't think that firing this guy is going to make much of a difference to EA's business model in the long term, but seeing the titan stumble a little bit may at least signal to indie developers that there is still plenty of room to grow and capitalize on the paralysis at the AAA level. Come to think of it, the last AAA game I played that really screamed "Wow!" was Red Dead Redemption. Since then, I've found things like FTL to be far more compelling. Anyway, get off my lawn, EA execs!

Not just DRM (2)

Ogive17 (691899) | about a year and a half ago | (#43209167)

Anyone who pre-ordered through origin (like me) received $20 off coupon for a purchase of $30 or more through origin. Not a bad deal, I could pick up C&C franchise for $29.99 and add a $5 or $10 filler to break that threshold.. sure I'd be giving them a bit more money but every C&C game ever made for $20 seemed like a good deal. However the fine print says the offer expired today at 10am PDT. I don't recall seeing the limitation to the offer until after I had purchased the game.

Today I got the email telling me I'll get a free game due to the Sim City fuckup. It's not fine print this time but the email says that eventually we'll be able to choose our game (doesn't say when exactly) but we have to have it downloaded by March 30th. They want to limit their "losses" by making the instructions difficult to understand and leaving a very short window to "cash in".

EA are a bunch of dicks (I knew it already, just felt like reiterating).

No support for under ocean/lake cities (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43209195)

Well, of course the 'always online' requirement was ridiculous. But I am commenting on a more important point. The future.

The future will require society to embrace new living situations. Small communities moving below ground and below water, and ultimately to space.

SimCity concept as a game is fun. I played the demo, when I could get on the server - that is. SimCity could be a dream for design ideas that require count of people, water, pollution, air, transportation, etc. What a better system for designing cities built into cliffs, along and in the shore, below lake, underground, could you have? It could have been perfect.

My (and your) poor grandchildren need our help. SimCity - Please, just think of the children!!

MCO too? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43209287)

I hope he was responsible for the demise of Motor City Online too.... best game ever.

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