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The 'EA Image' Tarnished

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the it-was-really-great-to-begin-with dept.

Businesses 134

Gamespot reports that Pacific Crest Securities analyst Evan Wilson has gone on record saying that EA is wrecking its good name, with questionable business decisions and dropping game quality. From the article: "'Reviews of all of EA's annualized titles, its primary source of profit, have declined over the past two years,' Wilson noted. 'Although market share has not declined dramatically to date, in years such as 2007, which promises to have tremendous competition, it seems likely if quality does not improve. EA's aggregate review has also declined significantly in the past two years.'" 1up has the word that, in support of this, EA is still very proud of their 'paying for cheat codes' policy with Need for Speed.

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Good name? (5, Funny)

ToxikFetus (925966) | more than 6 years ago | (#17068574)

The parent post has a minor error. Let me see if I can fix it.

EA is wrecking its "good name"

Much better.

Errr... (1, Redundant)

Swervy_a (934054) | more than 6 years ago | (#17068602)

What good name?

Re:Errr... (2, Funny)

rjung2k (576317) | more than 6 years ago | (#17068784)

The one they had back in the days of Archon, Pinball Construction Set, Seven Cities of Gold, and M.U.L.E.

'course, that was a long time ago...

Re:Errr... (1)

mikeabbott420 (744514) | more than 6 years ago | (#17069018)

I had all of those for my Atari 800! Yes it was a very long time ago ;) In those days EA was a name I looked for.

Pinball Construction Set: Mac? (1)

KlaymenDK (713149) | more than 6 years ago | (#17073554)

I had Pinball Construction Set for the Mac (128K/fat), but I don't recall the maker. Could that have been EA, or is this just a clash of names?

Man how I loved those 'hardwarey' cling-clong sounds, so much better that modern blippety-bloop ones. :p

Oops, showing my age. Sorry.

Re:Errr... (4, Insightful)

HappySqurriel (1010623) | more than 6 years ago | (#17069276)

I hate to be a dink (well, honestly I don't hate it) but when someone says that EA doesn't have a good name they're essentially sitting in their ivory tower of video-game elitism like food critics before them. EA is the Large Chain restaurant of the videogame industry and doesn't get the respect they deserve. Sticking with the food analogy, EA produces a meal that looks good, tastes good, has good portions, had good service, and you don't get the shits after eating it; it may not be the best meal in the world, and you may not want to eat it all the time, but they still have a good reputation.

Re:Errr... (5, Funny)

PingSpike (947548) | more than 6 years ago | (#17069344)

I take it you haven't played BattleField 2. It might taste good at first, but later that night when your ass is exploding you'll wish you'd stayed home for dinner.

BF2 is NOT a game (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17071942)

BF2 should be sold as a language development software instead of a game. I've strung together various new profanity phrases that's never been uttered before by myself and that have never occurred to me prior to its installation. Frankly, that's quite impressive.

BF2 as corporate retreat (1)

GreenSwirl (710439) | more than 6 years ago | (#17072174)

I've wondered if any small companies have tried to use BF2 at the office to build teamwork skills. I think the kit you choose probably says a lot about the type of worker you are and the way you are most comfortable contributing.
BR> For example, I do PC support at work and I find myself most often playing as an Engineer.

Re:BF2 is NOT a game (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 6 years ago | (#17072644)

Yeah when I talk about EA it tends to sound like I've got tourette's syndrome. I really don't think they could make me hate them anymore if they tried. I'm wondering if there's some potential profit in having millions of potential customers hate you -- A lot of companies seem to be very big on that these days. They also occupy a special place on my shit-list as the company that single-handedly destroyed many perfectly good MMORPGs.

Maybe someone could convince them to go into a field they'd be better at before they do any more damage to the video game industry. Do you think someone could talk them into writing, say, tax software instead? Hey EA, Tax Software is Big Business! And over there it's OK to write the same boring and forumlaic software year after year! just stop buying up good game companies and infecting them with your special brand of suckitude, for God's sake!

Re:Errr... (4, Insightful)

Perseid (660451) | more than 6 years ago | (#17069456)

If I dine at a fine restaurant I expect fine food. If I go to McDonald's I expect a Big Mac. I consider this OK. You know why? McDonald's is cheaper than the $50 a plate restaurant. EA's mediocre games are still $50, now even $60. EA's games(and, to be fair, games in general) are deteriorating in quality while increasing in price. This is bad.

Re:Errr... (1)

PoderOmega (677170) | more than 6 years ago | (#17071812)

And don't forget it you are on XBox Live EA will charge you for the ketchup

The Price of Games... (1)

Chordonblue (585047) | more than 7 years ago | (#17078674)

Is $50 that bad for a game? I mean, I remember in 1979 paying $49.95 for 'Thunderball', a game cartridge for the Magnavox Odyssey 2. I thought it was excessive then, but of course, that didn't stop me from wanting to play a pinball game on my O2. Take a look at the 3K cart today and you just can't believe how expensive that was - especially considering the fact that it was $50 of 1979 dollars!

And yet, development time of the earlier games also took time. Just because today's data files are gigabytes instead of bytes doesn't mean that there's any more effort being made by the programmers. Today we have graphic artists (both 2D and 3D), motion capture people, even soundtrack people. But back then, it was all on one guy to take six months to write a 3K masterpiece. It's all relative isn't it?

Re:The Price of Games... (1)

Perseid (660451) | more than 7 years ago | (#17078706)

To me it isn't about how many bytes the game is or how long it took to make it. It's all about how fun the game is. If you had fun with the little 3K Odyssey 2 game, then it may have been worth $50 to you. Some games are worth $50 today. Many are not.

Re:Errr... (2, Insightful)

rwven (663186) | more than 6 years ago | (#17069480)

EA traditionally hasn't gained hate because of their game quality. A lot of people already hate EA, in the necessary evil sense, because of the absolutely putrid way they have been treating their employees over the past few years. The suffering quality of their games very probably has to do with that very fact.

EA has turned out some of the greater games that we've all been playing over the past few years, but part of me feels guilty doing so, knowing the ways they've treated their employees to get that job done.

Re:Errr... (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 6 years ago | (#17069364)

What good name?

1985 called and wants its story back.

KFG

Sure but... (2, Interesting)

tha_mink (518151) | more than 6 years ago | (#17068610)

Sure but, cmon, how much better can Madden really get without smell-o-vision? Seriously, I like the EA games, and have noticed less improvement over the years, but all in all, they're still great games that are fun to play. I even like their stupid "Big" games and wish they'd release them on PC.

Re:Sure but... (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 6 years ago | (#17068674)

Yeah, how can game quality really be called dwindling when its the same football game every year? If they aren't talking about the sports games, that's fine, but EA is definitely known for the sports games. Just the fact that I can imagine a better football game shows that they aren't thinking outside the box. For example, integrate a wii-powered wireless football for completing passes to your friends in the living room, not a shocking idea but we'd be talking a different story here.

Re:Sure but... (1)

AcidLacedPenguiN (835552) | more than 6 years ago | (#17068804)

but how would the wrist straps break and ruin my TV if I was meant to fire it across the room?

Re:Sure but... (1)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 6 years ago | (#17069630)

We need an updated Mutant League Football. I still remember, after a good hit: "His Momma used to call him sonny boy! Now she calls him 'Smudge!'" And you could late hit an opponent into a firey pit or a hole in the icy asteroid the game was taking place on. Good times.

Madden (1)

Shrubber (552857) | more than 6 years ago | (#17072016)

Madden doesn't have to get better each year at this point, most of us would settle for it NOT REGRESSING. They're not even adding new stuff, they're removing features. I'd settle for it even staying the same with new names instead of removing things like coop play, and fantasy drafts, and everything else that they ripped out of the last two versions. That is why people are angry.

Ways to improve Madden (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 7 years ago | (#17078912)

1. Online career

2. More realistic career team management

3. Draft

4. Arms shouldn't pass through people's chests anymore

5. Commentary shouldn't be asinine

6. Consistent deep passes shouldn't be the best strategy.

7. Strategic decisions in the middle of the play. Need a hole opened? Ask for one.

8. A punting mechanic that isn't boring and gamey.

9. A passing game that isn't "press X to bring up a menu, press Y to pass to player Y."

Wasn't it tarnished before? (5, Insightful)

amuro98 (461673) | more than 6 years ago | (#17068624)

So...the huge employee-driven lawsuit against EA for its draconian work environment, unpaid overtime, etc. didn't tarnish their image?

Lackluster re-releases of (American) football games after EA secured exclusive right to all things "NFL" didn't tarnish their image?

Re:Wasn't it tarnished before? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17068768)

The Madden series just sped the process up.

"Let's get an exclusive license and then release the same crappy game year after year with minimal extra effort on our part. We'll be billionares!"

I think that is the gist of EA's buisness plan, and has been for the past like 5 or 6 years.

Re:Wasn't it tarnished before? (1)

gt_mattex (1016103) | more than 6 years ago | (#17068798)

The average consumer not realizing any of these things happened...didn't tarnish their image.

That, my friend is called 'spin' control.

Re:Wasn't it tarnished before? (1)

oc255 (218044) | more than 6 years ago | (#17070316)

I dunno, I saw a comedian [wikipedia.org] do an impression of Madden (an amazing and 100% perfect impression) on 2006 Thankgiving football (primetime of sorts). It was brilliant, hilarious and jaw-droppingly good. He's replaced Madden on the radio and fooled me ala War of the Worlds (Why is Madden saying crazy things on the radio, has he gone mad?)

He said something to the effect of:
[Madden Voice]
"Heh, umhh I'm just amazed that people uh *heh* pay money year after year uh *heh* for the same video game from me *heh*!"

It was pretty subtle (maybe most people didn't get it) but "spin control" didn't apply to FOX primetime football on Thanksgiving. Hilariously on-topic.

Re:Wasn't it tarnished before? (1)

IntergalacticWalrus (720648) | more than 7 years ago | (#17076578)

Normal people don't read or care about employees suing their employers, or exclusive rights contracts. They just want to play games, and as long as EA provides them what they want, EA won't get lower sales.

You're stuck in Slashdot's reality distortion field, where people give a damn about game companies doing unethical things.

Westwood. (3, Insightful)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 6 years ago | (#17068658)

'nuff said.

But because such a short post won't explain to the uninformed: The debacle that was C&C Generals should tell you just how bad EA's influence is on a proven game series. After all the great work that Westwood did defining the C&C series, EA released C&C Generals as a wannabe StarCraft with horrible netcode and next to no support.

Re:Westwood. (1)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 6 years ago | (#17068966)

Well, here's one gamer who got everything you meant by "Westwood. 'nuff said." And I couldn't agree more. I'm still waiting for a successor to RA2. Sadly, I doubt I'll ever see one.

Re:Westwood. (1)

SpaceballsTheUserNam (941138) | more than 7 years ago | (#17078850)

heres another ::mourns westwood::

Re:Westwood. (1)

SpaceballsTheUserNam (941138) | more than 7 years ago | (#17078882)

I don't know what I'm more bitter about, C&C or NFL2Kx. but either way EA must die a slow painfull excrucuating death.

Re:Westwood. (1)

PingSpike (947548) | more than 6 years ago | (#17069022)

Westwood is just another notch on EA's bedpost. They've been buying companies and sucking the blood out of them before discarding their withered corpse as a matter of course for some time now.

Re:Westwood. (1)

c_forq (924234) | more than 7 years ago | (#17078446)

I'm still waiting for the real Ultima VIII and IX.
RIP Origin.

Re:Westwood. (1)

DDLKermit007 (911046) | more than 6 years ago | (#17069662)

Westwood still exists, just as Petroglyph Studios now (do yourself a favor and check the Star Wars RTS out). They may end up having quite a bit to do with C&C3, but thats still up in the air. C&C Generals was pretty craptastic to me too. Then again I worked at WW before they canned the Las Vegas office so my views may be skewed a little.

Re:Westwood. (1)

Durrok (912509) | more than 6 years ago | (#17071938)

The out of sync errors are inexcusable. Hey jackasses, kick the guy out who is out of sync, don't end the friggin game.

Other then that though, my favorite RTS of all time. I like all the sides, I like the rush vs defense decisions you have to make, I like the maps, I like the units... overall a great series. If you didn't play it online again after the ZH expansion you are missing out.

Re:Westwood. (1)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 6 years ago | (#17072186)

I play it online a bit because it's one of the few games that everyone has at my LAN parties. Since they're "my" LANs, I have to keep my edge in the game so that I'm the best there. I've got hundreds of online games to my name, and dozens if not hundreds of LAN games.

Re:Westwood. (1)

Durrok (912509) | more than 6 years ago | (#17073580)

Wasn't trying to compete with your e-p33n, just saying my opinion of the game. That being said, I bet I could still whoop ya ;)

Re:Westwood. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17078884)

I've always wondered where people get "hundreds" of games. Where do you keep the disks? The packaging? How do you afford such an expensive habit?

Ever considered rehab? Because with "hundreds" of games, methinks you might be having some issues.. And assuming you're not an adult, you must be a teenager. And unless you're pulling down some serious cash on the side while going to high school, there's no way you could afford all those games.

Unless, of course, by 'hundreds' of 'online' games you mean NES roms. And, I have 2200 of those alone! So, ha!

Re:Westwood. (1)

Mex (191941) | more than 6 years ago | (#17072788)

Well, you're certainly doing them a favor comparing Generals to Starcraft.

Starcraft, beyond having very refined gameplay mechanics, had a very compelling story to keep you playing singleplayer. Generals doesn't even bother with that.

Re:Westwood. (1)

Sigma 7 (266129) | more than 6 years ago | (#17073866)

In my opinion, the series went out the window earlier - at Red Alert 2.

Here's my opinion:
- In Tiberiun Sun (and Firestorm), even though the AI is weak, it gave the illusion of being strong enough to withstand everything other than a massive zergling rush. There are debates about game balance - of course, these can't really be fixed in the main code without having a potential disruption to gameplay. While it may be possible to nibble away the base with long range attacks, it either takes a while or there's more than enough time to respond.
- In Red Alert 2, the AI is weak and it shows. Most people know how to counter 2-3 prism tanks destroying your base - and the AI doesn't seem to really notice.

Generals seemed to show that the game series lost it's fame.
- In Tiberiun Sun and Red Alert 2, you will notice some lines showing the current orders of units - when an attack order is finished with the target being destroyed, the lines move from the target unit to just outside of the range of the unit (as most sane soldiers would do.) In Generals, the units unconditionally stop in their tracks even if it means standing 3 inches from the barracks they were deployed from.

Re:Westwood. (1)

Admiral Frosty (919523) | more than 6 years ago | (#17074698)

For me, the whole Generals thing comes down to one element: The only thing it has to do with C&C is that they're both RTS games.

Nothing else! Not the interface, not the mechanics, not the units, not the music (oh gosh, how can you dump the music?) not the story, NOTHING!

Calling it C&C Generals was just a marketing ploy, and an insult to C&C.

Re:Westwood. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17075860)

Generals should not have been C&C, but you could have argued the same about "Red Alert". Like the parent says, there are also many flaws, from some poor AI, weak story, and some of the dubious political overtones.

However, its still the RTS i play the most for a quick "skirmish" game. The sides are unique, lots of different units and strategies, many different maps, and its fun. The AI can make bad decisions, especially at a unit level, but its not too bad strategically. Its also a good builder and will attack in many different ways.

I think the SAGE engine is a good one, and am looking forward to C&C 3.

"wrecking it's good name"? (5, Funny)

Mandorus (948130) | more than 6 years ago | (#17068672)

I think almost a decade has passed since EA actually had a good name.

Re:"wrecking it's good name"? (4, Insightful)

Telvin_3d (855514) | more than 6 years ago | (#17068894)

More accurately, I think almost a decade has passed since EA has had a good name with those who pay attention to the industry

The vast majority of gamers don't care. All they know is that on a lot of the games they play, they have to sit through the same 30 second logo at the beginning. Almost no one goes to the store to specifically buy (or not buy) a game from EA or any other developer. They go to buy a title or series.

Re:"wrecking it's good name"? (1)

MeanderingMind (884641) | more than 6 years ago | (#17069094)

I think it's wrong to say the vast majority of gamers don't care. I know a number that don't pay attention to the industry who lobbied me to boycott EA after they found out on their own about EA spouse and later the microtransaction fiasco. The vast majority of gamers are uninformed or ignorant.

If they don't care, that would indicate they were aware the EA was making and selling piss poor products but had accepted that as okay.

Semantics I know, but it's an important distinction I think. I doubt that if you made your uninformed friends aware of what EA's been doing they'd say, "That's cool."

Re:"wrecking it's good name"? (1)

Drooling Iguana (61479) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075930)

If you can tell me what I'm going to do, I will give you a million dollars.
You are going to tell me that my prediction was incorrect (exact wording may vary.)

Re:"wrecking it's good name"? (1)

MeanderingMind (884641) | more than 7 years ago | (#17078670)

The joy of the situation is that I both must and cannot give you a million dollars, as your prediction is simultaneously correct and incorrect.

Sophisms and paradoxes... so fun.

Re:"wrecking it's good name"? (1)

Jartan (219704) | more than 6 years ago | (#17069142)

Almost no one goes to the store to specifically buy (or not buy) a game from EA or any other developer.


No offense but that's obviously false. A few companies like Blizzard and Bioware can get a lot of people to show up to buy a game just because they made it. People give them the benefit of the doubt.

I'll agree EA never had such a status to "lose" though.

Re:"wrecking it's good name"? (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 6 years ago | (#17070098)

> I'll agree EA never had such a status to "lose" though.

Yes, they did. They simply lost it a long time ago. As others
have pointed out, back when EA made titles like Pinball
Construction Set, Archon, M.U.L.E., Yeager's Flight Simulator,
and so on, it was a name to be looked for.

Chris Mattern

Re:"wrecking it's good name"? (1)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#17070692)

No offense but that's obviously false. A few companies like Blizzard and Bioware can get a lot of people to show up to buy a game just because they made it. People give them the benefit of the doubt.

I'll agree EA never had such a status to "lose" though.

Dont' forget Square-Enix, the guys at Valve and bungee. Ubisoft is no slouch either.

Tarnish? (1)

doi (584455) | more than 6 years ago | (#17068690)

I know you can't polish a turd, but I can't see how you could tarnish one either. Unless they change EA to mean Extraordinary Assholes. That would polish it somewhat.

Re:Tarnish? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#17072364)

I know you can't polish a turd, but I can't see how you could tarnish one either.

EA, back in the box-ball-cone [wikipedia.org] days, used to stand for quality. Now it stands for McMediocrity.

Thanks, Captain Obvious! (2, Funny)

vonPoonBurGer (680105) | more than 6 years ago | (#17068796)

What other shocking truths will these crazy journalists uncover next! I hear they're working on a piece regarding new evidence that water is apparently wet. Mind-blowing!

EA Image Tarnished? (1)

Hubbell (850646) | more than 6 years ago | (#17069016)

They tarnished their image when they took over Ultima Online and added Trammel and all the other 'carebear hold my hand' updates.

Can you? (0, Redundant)

HiredMan (5546) | more than 6 years ago | (#17069134)

I thought you couldn't polish a turd.

Oops, that's says tarnish ... same principle though, really.

=tkk

I wish it were 1984 again! (5, Informative)

Great Beyond (872699) | more than 6 years ago | (#17069158)

I weep for the early to mid 80's, where *EVERY* single title coming out of Electronic Arts was pure gold. M.U.L.E., Mail Order Monsters, Dr J vs Larry Bird, Racing Destruction Set, The Seven Cities of Gold, Archon - the list of quality, addictive games coming from them kept me and my Commie 64 busy for ages and ages.

Re:I wish it were 1984 again! (1)

The Real Toad King (981874) | more than 6 years ago | (#17071900)

Still, I'd take EA's current state over being haunted by Big Brother again...

how to get modded insightful (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17069186)

Anytime a company is brought up in any context on /. simply shout "they suck" with absolutely no meat to your post. Very insightful. At least insightful as to what kind of turds get mod points here.

Good idea, Bad idea (4, Insightful)

MeanderingMind (884641) | more than 6 years ago | (#17069272)

Good idea: Offer players new and exciting content to download through online services, allowing your video games to generate extra revenue without having to develop an entirely new game that will vanish off the $60 shelves and into the $30 bargains in three weeks.

Bad idea: Gut half of your $60 game and redistribute it claiming that your customers will want to pay extra for what they originally got for free.

When I interact with a company I want to feel as though we are mutually benefitting each other. I give them my hard earned money, and they give me a product born of their own sweat and toil. I don't want to feel like I'm some resource they're trying to find new and more fiendish ways to exploit.

Re: Good idea (2, Informative)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 6 years ago | (#17069830)

If you look elsewhere, you will find that Valve is doing the Good Idea (except for the have-to-hope-Steam-won't-shut-down factor, which I still dislike). So it can be done. If EA is too stupid, tough luck ;-)

Re: Good idea (1)

Duggeek (1015705) | more than 6 years ago | (#17073026)

Werd.

From all of the Quake-clones, only a few really stand out. Unreal branched to make their own engine, (recently licensed by EA Games [ea.com] , in fact--NOTE: link downloads PDF file) so did Half Life (the first) [valvesoftware.com] . (partly responsible for the industry movement to "skeletal" modeling [wikipedia.org] ) Of the two, Source engine is truly the more powerful. (even if not the more ubiquitous)

Steam resembles a constant hack-in-progress, and the "Content Servers" are what get my goat every time. (2 megabit pipe and I'm still downloading at 80kbps?!?!) Let's join hands and pray for it's quick emergence into robustitudity. (yes, I made that up... what, you don't invent any words? [askoxford.com] )

In all, it only amounts to the partly-bruised banana in an otherwise delicious arrangement of delights in the gaming industry.

'click' ... purchased ... 'click' ... installed ... 'click' ... start game -- nobody else has that

Re:Good idea, Bad idea (1)

Brunellus (875635) | more than 6 years ago | (#17069956)

I wish gamers would quit whining about micro-transactions and simply stop funding them. Someone is buying those "extras," and so long as they can be sold at a profit, they will continue to be offered. Upset by micro-transactions? Then DON'T BUY THEM. Don't buy the games, buy the micro-transactions, and complain.

Re:Good idea, Bad idea (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 7 years ago | (#17076336)

If you can tell me what I'm going to do, I will give you a million dollars.

You're going to post to slashdot some time in the next 12 months.

Re:Good idea, Bad idea (1)

MeanderingMind (884641) | more than 7 years ago | (#17078680)

I'll give you a point for capitalizing on a overly general statement. Let me respond by assuring you that I will give you a million dollars. Unfortunately I can't give you an estimate on when at this time. But rest assured that at any moment, I could appear on your doorstep with a million dollars in hand.

Trouble ahead for international turd factory! (2, Insightful)

PingSpike (947548) | more than 6 years ago | (#17069284)

'Although market share has not declined dramatically to date, in years such as 2007, which promises to have tremendous competition, it seems likely if quality does not improve...
What competition? I thought they'd finished buying and gutting every company that had a semi successful title in the last 5 years. And when they couldn't buy them, they obtained exclusive franchise licensing so they could torpedo their ships before they even left port.
I have no idea what the future holds for EA. But I wouldn't be so sure that they won't continue to get away with releasing half finished products, humping and dumping young developers and double charging their customers. It seems like plenty of people have continued to buy their products.
I'm just bitter they swallowed some of my favorite little development houses in the late 90s.

Re:Trouble ahead for international turd factory! (1)

hurfy (735314) | more than 6 years ago | (#17069578)

That does bring up a point.

Their marketshare is not declining much sounds like it has dipped a tad.

Would this not be a bad thing since they bought half the competition by now?? If you get rid of competitors and still don't gain any ground on who's left you failed. So they spent a bunch of extra $$ buying out people to simply hold their ground. Sounds like when there is noone left to buy up they will be in deep doo-doo to me.

RIP Westwood Studios (2, Interesting)

liak12345 (967676) | more than 6 years ago | (#17069368)

Watching EA run my favorite franchise into the ground was all the evidence I needed. It took EA about 9 months to come out with a patch for C&C Generals which could have been done with about 15 lines of code involving unit changes. I always hoped for more games like Red Alert.

Re:RIP Westwood Studios (4, Informative)

Hubbell (850646) | more than 6 years ago | (#17069502)

No offense, but Red Alert was one of the prime introducers of the bane of RTS's, tank rushing. It's true that the C&C games up until Generals were fun, but by no means groundbreaking or original other than C&C95. If you want a truly original and good RTS, try Total Annihilation. [wikipedia.org]

Re:RIP Westwood Studios (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17069598)

Sorry, but the posts about EA ruining the Westwood game "C&C Generals" are not correct. "C&C Generals" was developed by a team in Irvine and was not developed at all by Westwood.

this isn't the start (2, Informative)

krotkruton (967718) | more than 6 years ago | (#17069554)

EA lost their direction a long time ago. I used to play Ultima Online until EA bought it out. EA realized that getting two new customers was more profitable than keeping one veteran customer. That's true in the short run at least, which seems to be all they are thinking about.
They seem to adopt this policy to non-subscription based games, although it is slightly modified: selling two almost completely similar (or two shitty) games is better than selling one original (or quality) game. The 2007 annual sports game lineup that EA released were barely an upgrade from 2006 (and 2006 wasn't that much better than 2005, but I'll give it credit for being relatively significant). They should have just put it off until they worked out their issues with the next-gen consoles, or pulled their heads out of their asses. If they started thinking more about what the customers want instead of maximizing profit in the short run, they might do a lot better. I know a lot of people are going to get into the "companies only care about money" rant, but a lot of the time, caring about your customers will lead to more money.

Re:this isn't the start (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 6 years ago | (#17070672)

EA lost their direction a long time ago. I used to play Ultima Online until EA bought it out.

Which of course has the order of events exactly reversed... Because EA bought Origin Systems [wikipedia.org] in 1992, while Ultima Online [wikipedia.org] was launched nearly five years later - in 1997.

Re:this isn't the start (1)

krotkruton (967718) | more than 6 years ago | (#17072558)

I was unaware of that and was obviously mistaken. I just remember getting an update one day and then seeing the EA logo appear as I loaded the game, so I assumed it was bought out by EA at that point. After reading the wiki page, I think the time I am referring to is right around when EA cancelled most of Origin's products and Richard Garriot left. To me, that was the point that "Ultima was bought out by EA", although its more like EA took over Ultima in Garriot's absence.

That's what you get with a monopoly (4, Insightful)

L-Train8 (70991) | more than 6 years ago | (#17070152)

The article says that reviews for EA games have been getting worse since two years ago. That's about when EA started signing exclusive licensing agreements with professional sports. Without an NFL 2K7, why does Madden 07 have to be any better? If you want to play as your favorite NFL team, you have to go wtih Madden.

The article also cites alot of movie and comic book license games as proof of declining quality. But again, EA has the inside track on a lot of that IP. They are one of the few companies big enough to lock up the pricey licenses. There is a reason that Rare never made another James Bond game after their biggest hit, GoldenEye. EA is a giant, multi-platform developer who could pay Universal Studios a lot of money for exclusive rights to James Bond.

And when a kid goes to the store, he doesn't say "That game is an EA game, so it must suck," he says, "That is a Superman game, so it must suck." EA's reputation doesn't get tarnished when Superman Returns sucks. What gets tarnished is the reputation of Superman games (already pretty bad).

Right now, EA has the money and clout to get a lot of exclusive licenses. They can sell a lot of mediocre games with a great license, especially if they are the only ones in town with a game of your favorite series.

Re:That's what you get with a monopoly (1)

Mindspider (993974) | more than 6 years ago | (#17071546)

I've personally made it a goal to never buy another EA game, no matter how much I've been looking forward to it. Once you buy an EA game it doesn't matter how much you complain, you've already given them your money. However, there are plenty of great games out, old and new, and I don't have the money to buy all of them... therefore I'm not going to support EA with the money I do spend.

(Offtopic: grammar note) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17076820)

Just a quick grammar note. It's "a lot" not "alot". Remember, you wouldn't say "thelot" either. This is only for your benefit. Enjoy!

DON"T BUY FROM THEIR ONLINE STORE !!! BUYER BEWARE (5, Informative)

TheBouncer2006 (978273) | more than 6 years ago | (#17070362)

My friend is a big Superman fan and pre-ordered "Superman Returns" the video game direct from the EA store. This was in April, the game then got pushed back to a November release date. In the meantime he had already been charged for the game. The game was supposed to be released on November 20th. As of November 24th my friend still did not recieve his game.


The only way to contact someone at the EA store if their is a problem is by logging in and sending a support e-mail which they say someone will get back to you in 24 hours. Three days later my friend still heard nothing after sending a support email and asked if I could help him somehow. I tried to find a phone number for the EA store - no luck, checked their main website etc... still no numbers got the address for EA games and googled it which gave me the corporate HQ number and location in the U.S. Called long distance to California to try to get it sorted out and the secretary instantly put my friend into an automated computer response system that did not have any options for the problem he was experiencing it then took a survey from him and hung up on him.



We called back a second time and got the same secretary again who transferred us to some guy that just went by the name of "Mike" he would not give his ufll name badge number nothing... I asekd him how my buddy could just get a refund since he went out and bought the game at the store since no one had gotten back to him. The guy said "Their is no one you can contact at the EA store the only way to contact someone is through their webmail form" I asked for a supervisor he said "I don't have the name of one to give you" I asked well who do I contact if this is not resolved ? He had no answer. I asked for his information in case this wasn't taken care of he just gave me his first name and refused to give me any other information and just kept saying it will be corrected I have let a supervisor know.


The morale of this story I would NEVER BUY ANYTHING DIRECT FROM EA EVER.

- He paid ahead of time

- They have no customer service except for email

- They have a don't call us or contact us if you have a problem policy

- They have a VERY SHADY way of doing business with customers.

- You can't talk to anyone live if you have a problem. Unless you call corporate HQ in which case you might get a Janitor for all anyone knows named "MIKE".

Re:DON"T BUY FROM THEIR ONLINE STORE !!! BUYER BEW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17072402)

chargeback

Re:DON"T BUY FROM THEIR ONLINE STORE !!! BUYER BEW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17072704)

Call the credit card company and explain the situation. Specifically that they charged the card without shipping the product and have not returned contacts through the channel they told you to use on the phone. You don't need to mention that you bought it elsewhere. The CC company may be willing to simply remove the charge and deal with them directly if you have good credit and a good history of paying on time. Especially because charging well in advance of shipping is generally not considered ok.

Re:DON"T BUY FROM THEIR ONLINE STORE !!! BUYER BEW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17073950)

I'd say EA did your friend a favor. It's bad enough he actually paid for that game, he shouldn't have to play it too.

here is their address (1)

cheekyboy (598084) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075408)

EA STORE
Attn: RMA Department
5000 Commerce Crossing Parkway
Louisville, KY 40229

Google map

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=5000+Comme rce+Crossing+Dr,+Louisville,+KY+40229&ie=UTF8&z=15 &ll=38.10157,-85.680313&spn=0.02006,0.049739&t=k&o m=1&iwloc=addr [google.com]

Now call the local council/city hall or sherrifs office and ask for a phone # to the building owner etc...

Re:here is their address (1)

TheBouncer2006 (978273) | more than 7 years ago | (#17079050)

Thanks for that info on EA's dark and mysterious do not call us business. I appreciate it

Will they believe US now? (3, Informative)

Avatar8 (748465) | more than 6 years ago | (#17070400)

For years gamers have known that EA was on the decline. Like a bad sequel to a movie, they just kept pumping out the same crap with new bells and whistles; no real development or innovation in sight.

Now that a business analyst looks at it, we see evidence that EA is rotten to the core, not just bruised on the surface. They're apparently doing everything wrong, game-wise, development-wise and business-wise. The only thing they seem to do correctly is take over, assimilate and ruin a game studio in just such a manner as to manipulate the market share and keep their piece of pie the same size.

I'll never forgive EA for how it has ruined numerous studios (Origin was my favorite), several (former) employees' lives and the games that we loved to play.

...in May EA told investors that it was "prioritizing game quality higher than making that date,"
Something familiar about those words....

Oh, yeah. That has been Blizzard's policy for a decade now. "It's done when it's done." Go figure that it only took EA 10 years to adopt the one practice they should have been doing from the beginning.

Too little, too late. I feel extremely sorry for all of the lives it would affect, but I seriously hope EA bites the big one, goes down the toilet and either gets bought by a REAL game company or is taken apart and sold for scrap.

Re:Will they believe US now? (1)

Duggeek (1015705) | more than 6 years ago | (#17072414)

Can you say VaLVe [valvesoftware.com] ?

Revolutionary 3D engine. Online direct-to-drive purchasing and net-play platform. Open door to the community to modify their products, and turn-key partnering for smaller developers to release new and innovative titles. (2D/3D/RPG... you name it)

Often remembered for their "just in time" releases, they have always put quality at the forefront.

If EA has any lessons to learn, they could far worse than learning from VaLVe's example.

There is one saving grace (3, Interesting)

Workaphobia (931620) | more than 6 years ago | (#17070690)

There is one reason why I have not yet dumped my EA stock: Spore. I'm not expecting it to save the company or anything, but I feel like I'd be a fool to sell before it's released.

Actually, the only reason I even bought EA shares several years ago was because I was a Will Wright fan.

Re:There is one saving grace (1)

rdwulfe (890032) | more than 6 years ago | (#17071892)

I completely agree with this one. However, I worry like mad that EA's going to absorb Maxis completely before Spore comes out, and the beast will consume all of the potential that is there before it bears fruit. Wulfe

Re:There is one saving grace (1)

Fulminata (999320) | more than 7 years ago | (#17076330)

EA has absorbed Maxis completely. They shut down the Maxis offices a couple of years ago and moved everyone but Will over to the other side of the bay onto their main campus. Several Maxis employees decided that changing from a twenty minute to a two hour commute wasn't for them and left shortly after. I wouldn't be at all surprised if Will is the only one left from pre-EA Maxis.

EA's bungling (1)

Phusion0 (665359) | more than 6 years ago | (#17070708)

I totally agree, I can't believe what's happened to EA over the years. I think Battlefield 2 was the beginning of the end, endless map exploits and game bugs, followed by late patches that came in at 400-500MB's a piece. Give us a break EA, do you think we're going to buy 2142 after all the bullshit you put us through? Unfortunatly, every game I play these days has the 'ol EA tramp stamp of approval when you load up.. BAH! DIE! DIE DIE DIE!

This is news? (1)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 6 years ago | (#17070758)

Electronic Arts have been the scourge of the gaming industry for years. Every single time I've seen an article on here talking about a "current slump," I've found myself thinking, "Look no further than EA for the reason why, guys."

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Art can not and must not be produced on an assembly line. EA's biggest fault is their attempting constantly to do this. Their other enormous problem is that the *only* thing they as a company (or at least the management) care about is money. This is transparently obvious, and anyone who knows anything about them also noticed it years ago. The management's blatant, all-consuming lust for cash is deeply repugnant to the rest of us...especially when it overwhelmingly trumps all other concerns, such as product quality or the welfare of their employees.

EA's other problem is that consumers have been exposed to game companies (many of them in fact) for whom money was *not* the overriding priority...people who made games because they loved being creative in and of itself...not purely because they wanted to become billionaires.

EA are an evil company, and their customers know that they are evil. When that happens, any such company is going to start sliding towards their demise.

Re:This is news? (2, Informative)

HeavenlyBankAcct (1024233) | more than 6 years ago | (#17072678)

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Art can not and must not be produced on an assembly line. EA's biggest fault is their attempting constantly to do this.

I'm a former EA developer myself, and I poured a lot of my own blood, sweat, and tears into titles that I never had much faith in to begin with -- but that is the nature of being a small cog in a very large machine. The bolded point up here is very valid, though. By tying so much of EA's commercial viability into pre-existing IP like movies and real-world sports, EA saves tons on the R&D costs on the actual creation of new concepts and ideas. However, they've also built themselves into a box where almost every title they release has a built-in "expiration date", which both increases the pressure on the developers themselves, and shortens the time available to develop a quality product.

I personally have always found this to be a counter-productive and short-sighted way to do business. The best-selling titles in gaming history were not slapped together in deference to a deadline instead of a standard of quality, and the assembly-line nature of developing iterative titles that must be released on a consistent yearly schedule does nothing to encourage innovation. Regardless of the effects, EA has made this their business model by choosing to base games on items that coincide with 'real world' events (the start of the NFL season, a movie release) and that will be continue to be the lynchpin of how they do business until the moment where they're confronted with a very real financial reason not to do so, which will require a far more significant backlash than rhetoric from hardcore gamers -- like a tangible decline in perception from the MAINSTREAM consumer.

That being said, though, I think the attempts to categorize EA as an 'evil empire' are missing the boat. EA is a corporation, like any other, and as such, its business is moving units. While smaller companies obviously are able to personify the individualistic ideals viewed as more honorable and dignified in a free market, EA's massive corporate structure has relegated it to ultimately being a "bottom line" company as opposed to the type of entity that can engage in 'prestige' work. This is a huge corporate monolith, there's no doubt about that, but to think that the company is operating from an "us against them" perspective is fairly inaccurate. Regardless of what the general consensus may be, the people making games at EA do care about creating a quality product, it's ultimately the business issues and the inflexible nature of such a gargantuan company that creates disasters -- not any ill-will towards consumers or the industry in general.

It's also become fashionable for gamers to rationalize their dislike of EA's products and stature by falling back on the "EA Spouse" claims and returning to beat the war drums that EA treats their employees inhumanly. This, I think, is at its heart a flawed argument which draws more from conjecture than reality. I left EA because I wanted to work at a smaller company and feel better about the quality products I was involved in, sure, but at no point during my tenure there did I feel exploited or taken advantage of in any way. The hours were long at times, sure, but I've worked in the industry prior to that and continue to do so today and I see little to no difference in the time commitment expected from me in those situations as I did when I was still employed with Electronic Arts. I know that the vast majority of my fellow employees felt the same way. It seems to me that the argument that EA is worthy of scorn because of how they treat employees is a conclusion being drawn far more from conjecture than any real-world experience. The argument that their employee treatment is somehow the motivating factor behind an overwhelming negative perception of the company seems to be a convenient way to mask the true cause of this sentiment, which falls somewhere a few inches to the right of the revolutionary cry of "Stick it to The Man."

That being said, do I think that EA is going about game development the right way? No, sir. Do I agree that EA is in the process of destroying its reputation? Certainly. But I think that this decision should be based almost solely on the quality of the titles that the company releases, not the overwhelming esoteric rhetoric dominating this discussion. Let's be realistic about things -- It's more than logical to dislike EA because of their games, and it's certainly understandable (though much less justifiable) to dislike EA because of their reputation as a cold, inhuman juggernaut. It's when one attempts to apply moral imperatives to describe a business situation that one veers dangerously close to fanatacism, is all.

Shooting self in the foot with a bazooka (1)

GutSh0t (91783) | more than 6 years ago | (#17071460)

I vowed to never buy another EA game after Battlefield 2. Thier draconian, broken copy protection, lack of support, and general lack of insight into the industry have poisoned the well for me. They expect the game industry to bow to them rather then listen to thier customers. They've become too big, no longer innovate, and care solely about the bottom line and not the art of making video games. In short they've become the Microsoft.

I wonder if el cheapo game boxes are part of it (1)

marcelo.mosca (772859) | more than 6 years ago | (#17071576)

Sure they are ruining their image.

Look how crap they game boxes are in Brazil:

BF2 cds came in a plastic bag, and need for speed carbon (collectors edition) came in a cardboard with glued fubber pin.

Too big (1)

BruceTheBruce (671080) | more than 6 years ago | (#17072638)

My last purchase with EA was a BF2 booster pack through their newly christened download service. Didn't work, tech support doesn't know why and will only give me the same answer repeatedly despite telling them their canned answer doesn't work. I looked around, and this problem is experienced by numerous other users besides me but isn't addressed by EA. So of course, that taught me not to buy any more EA products. BF2142 being one I would have bought if not for my problems with the previous iteration. EA is at that point where they think they can comfortably ignore customers' complaints and it won't matter since they have so many -other- customers. Lose a few, who cares, you're still raking in the dough based on marketshare alone. The trouble is, they upset enough people and soon there aren't enough -other- customers left to keep them afloat. Just about any company past a critical size seems to make this gamble, 'saving' money with shoddy customer service in the hopes that people continue to come back in spite of poor service.

Tiger woods (1)

szembek (948327) | more than 6 years ago | (#17073046)

Again, we have to give EA credit for creating the best Golf series ever. Tiger woods is awesome.

An example (1)

VoltageX (845249) | more than 6 years ago | (#17073428)

You get the Need for Speed Carbon Collectors' Edition. 8 hours later you've finished the game (WTF? that was quick!). But you haven't even unlocked all the cars yet as you were meant to get the EA Downloader Edition to get the Pagani Zonda. What is my friend meant to do who bought the game on PS2? That 50+ car list isn't looking so good now, is it?! EA, stop crippling your games. Too late for me though, you won't get another cent out of me ever again.

Re:An example (1)

marcelo.mosca (772859) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075588)

And in my case, the collectors edition actualy came in a box that has nothing to do with collectors.
That box is simple crap [imageshack.us] !

Spore (1)

Kuvter (882697) | more than 6 years ago | (#17073492)

Don't worry Spore will bring it back for a little while. It probably will be the only EA game I buy too.

Re:Spore (1)

DarksideDaveOR (557444) | more than 7 years ago | (#17076954)

More likely, EA will manage to kill Spore by either charging a monthly subscription fee for those who want to download content. That's if we're lucky.
If we're unlucky, they'll charge each time Spore wants to go out and find new content to fill a niche: every time a new lifeform is needed, up comes the credit card prompt.
Imagine how that would look to the suits: People pay to buy our game, generate content for it for free, and then we get to turn around and sell that content too! Every Spore customer would become another unpaid EA content developer.
Hey, I think I just figured out how to make Web 2.0 profitable, too... good thing it's already over.

Re:Spore (1)

Nanpa (971527) | more than 7 years ago | (#17078614)

Don't worry, Spore will put EA in the best of health; They'll charge by the chromosome

The state of EA (1)

CelticLo (575344) | more than 6 years ago | (#17073564)

I was in Hong Kong two weeks ago, which happened to coincide with the PS3 launch and EA's new public space at the top of the Peak Tram route in the new building looking over Hong Kong Island to Kowloon.
So you have thirty PS2s, xbox360s and PCs.
No PS3s.
No Wii.

Carbon so bad (1)

ezwip (974076) | more than 6 years ago | (#17074376)

I loved Carbon, for an entire evening. By the time I had acquired some of the fast cars it occured to me that the competition the computer threw at me was not elevated in any way. I could purchase all of the upgrades, go back to a very early race and the computer still kept up. Well kinda, it was keeping up do to extreme rubber banding. At that point I realized the best way to win a race is hang out with the pack, then only take off at the very end. Otherwise it's going to slingshot right back in front of you. This game has ruined racing games for me. The AI rubber banding stands out here so badly that you will throw it in the trash. I must admit I ripped the game before purchase. Thank god cuz I never played it again.
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