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49 comments

Looks great but (1)

BeoCluster (995566) | more than 7 years ago | (#18167334)

Can I make a Beowulf Cluster of CEO's ?

Re:Looks great but (0)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 7 years ago | (#18167500)

Sure, but the power drain would be tremendous and it would cost you more than the gross domestic product of South Africa to replace them if they failed to perform up to your standards.

His successor (5, Funny)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#18167342)

EA have high hopes for their new CEO, Jeff Probst II.

Re:His successor (1)

The Zon (969911) | more than 7 years ago | (#18167456)

Or maybe they could hire Larry Probst instead. At least he's in the game industry. I have no idea what they were thinking when they made the host of Survivor their CEO.

Re:His successor (3, Funny)

nacturation (646836) | more than 7 years ago | (#18168534)

Okay, that's gotta be one of the most well delivered comments I've read in a while. I'm glad I wasn't drinking coffee at the time!
 

Who will be voted off - Larry or Steve.. (1)

BattleHawk (773905) | more than 7 years ago | (#18167354)

The article mentions Larry Probst as CEO. Jeff Probst is host of Survivor.

Get his name right. (2, Informative)

grub (11606) | more than 7 years ago | (#18167362)

Headline says "Probts", story says "Probst"

Re:Get his name right. (4, Informative)

Ctrl-Z (28806) | more than 7 years ago | (#18167408)

And... shouldn't it be Larry [wikipedia.org] instead of Jeff [wikipedia.org]?

Re:Get his name right. (1)

richdun (672214) | more than 7 years ago | (#18167982)

From the Wikipedia article on Larry Probst:

He is to be replaced by his successor...

Does no one know how to edit these days?

Re:Get his name right. (1)

Ctrl-Z (28806) | more than 7 years ago | (#18168134)

You too can be an editor! Be bold [wikipedia.org]!

P.S. I changed that sentence for you. Is that better?

Re:Get his name right. (1)

richdun (672214) | more than 7 years ago | (#18168220)

Yes, very nice, thanks. I was just being lazy - not lazy enough to not post on Slashdot, but still enough to not edit on Wikipedia. :)

Re:Get his name right. (1)

techstar25 (556988) | more than 7 years ago | (#18169812)

Apparently they are telling us the the EA CEO has been voted off the island by the tribal council.

Re:Get his name right. (1)

skis (920891) | more than 7 years ago | (#18167412)

Headline says Jeff, TFA says Larry.
Isn't Jeff Probst the host of Survivor?

Re:Get his name right. (1)

sir_larrikin (1020447) | more than 7 years ago | (#18169470)

I actually laughed out loud and shared this verbally with everyone around me. Can you imagine Jeff Probst's software pitches? "This game is not going to production. The tribe has spoken." Hahaha.

Re:Get his name right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18169626)

Isn't Jeff Probst the host of Survivor?
They voted him off of the EA island.

Manage it like a Stock Portfolio (4, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#18167444)

This is definitely *interesting* news, but it's questionable whether it will change anything. Even the best intentioned CEOs have a hard time risking their cash cows on untested brands and genres.

Truth be told, I think EA needs to manage it like a stock portfolio. Have X amount of high risk, Y amount of medium risk, and Z amount of low risk. The actual percentages of those items can vary depending on the market climate and the status of the company.

The advantage to a mixed strategy is that EA can continue to provide fans of a series with some sequels, but dial back the number in exchange for developing new genres and brands. Developing those brands could potentially provide EA with a sizable library of IP without having to stripmine the small development houses. That gives them a mixture of low and high risk. Something that can guarantee a positive cash flow when properly handled.

For the medium risk stuff, EA should pull out some of their old IP and see about doing proper updates or sequels to them. Rather than just mining the name (as they have done in the past), they should give the development team a free hand to develop a game in the true spirit of the original. For example, Wing Commander is a series that is sorely missed by fans. It never really died, having been killed off by EA's strip mining procedures. What they need to do is go drag Point of No Return Entertainment out of their pit, and get Chris Roberts to direct a new WC game. The costs would be significant, but there is a significant market that would purchase the game just because it's Wing Commander. That mitigates the risk some, and provides EA with a chance to make incredible sums of money off the title.

I suppose we'll have to see whether this new CEO shows the inititive to take his company in such a direction.

On another topic, who thinks that Wing Commander is ripe for a reboot? :D

Re:Manage it like a Stock Portfolio (1)

alphaseven (540122) | more than 7 years ago | (#18167720)

For example, Wing Commander is a series that is sorely missed by fans. It never really died, having been killed off by EA's strip mining procedures.
EA is bringing back Wing Commander, and it looks awful [joystiq.com].

Re:Manage it like a Stock Portfolio (2, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#18168032)

EA is bringing back Wing Commander, and it looks awful.

That's not Wing Commander. That's just EA slapping the name on a quicky XBox Live! game to drive up sales. They do the same thing with their Pogo.com games. Take a look sometime and you'll find such gems as:

- Generic Chopper Game -> Command & Conquer Attack Copter
- Generic Racing Game -> Need for Speed Top Speed
- Generic Golf Game -> Pebble Beach Golf
- Generic Soccer Game -> EA Sports Soccer

What I'd *like* them to do is stop mining their IP, and start building it. Like I said, dig Chris Roberts out of whatever hole he crawled into, and get a proper Wing Commander game done. And if they retell the story, we can go back to the beginning with the Tiger's Claw (note the 's) and the Kilrathi. None of this boneheaded Niphilim "story".

Having heard EA execs talk numerious times... (1)

ObligatoryUserName (126027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18168320)

That's actually how they manage it now.

They do a ton of market analysis to help them make decisions and they do put out original work. Their problem with originality is that when it fails it fails big. (See Superman for the XBox 360 - it's not fun, but it's not fun in part because it's trying something new that didn't work out.)

If they're in a bad spot now, I think it's because they classified everything for the Wii as "high risk" and managed accordingly.

Re:Having heard EA execs talk numerious times... (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#18168586)

That's actually how they manage it now.

If they think that's how they manage it now, then they need to rethink what they're doing. Their games are sameness stacked on top of uniformity wrapped in a blanket of mediocrity. Case in point:

See Superman for the XBox 360 - it's not fun, but it's not fun in part because it's trying something new that didn't work out.

The only "high risk" was that they spent millions of dollars on a movie tie-in license. Otherwise it's just your basic Beat'Em Up with snazzy graphics. Whoop-de-doo. In all reality, the Superman game should have been negotiated so that it would be a low risk title. After all, big movie tie-ins are not usually a good place to be innovating.

The problem must be somewhere in their mindset. From an SFGate interview [sfgate.com] with Probst (emphasis mine):

Q: I wonder if you can think a little further out. Give us your vision for the gaming experience say, five or 10 years from now.

A: I can't give you a vision 10 years out. Anybody that pretends that they can, get as far away from them as you can get because they're making it up. Five years, in terms of what are the products going to look like, imagine Nemo-like graphics with much more realistic characters and animation. What I think is going to be important to the future of this business, in addition to better graphics and better sound and smoother animation, is that we have to be better storytellers and that we start to create characters that people care about. I think that, longer term, (it will) help to broaden the demographics where we get more women into the demographic and even broaden the age demographic.

No wonder they've got a bad reputation! They've bought into the idea that better graphics == better games! Which is exactly what is visible in the Superman Game [youtube.com]. It seems that no one really stepped back and thought, "what is it that would make this game fun?" They apparently thought they already knew the answer: Better graphics & a story from a movie tie-in.

If they're in a bad spot now, I think it's because they classified everything for the Wii as "high risk" and managed accordingly.

Truth be told, their sudden dedication to the Wii surprised me. The Wii is the antithesis of the types of games they've been making for the last decade. The games focus less on graphics and more on innovative and "fun" gameplay. I suppose we'll have to see if EA shows actual creative ability in the days to come, or if they will attempt to target the Wii with the same gameplay they always have. Cross your fingers.

Re:Having heard EA execs talk numerious times... (1)

JoelMartinez (916445) | more than 7 years ago | (#18169430)

dude, you're such a fud-spreading hoser, you intentionally added emphasis on the wrong part:

... What I think is going to be important to the future of this business, in addition to better graphics and better sound and smoother animation, is that we have to be better storytellers and that we start to create characters that people care about. I think that, longer term, (it will) help to broaden the demographics where we get more women into the demographic and even broaden the age demographic.
For what it's worth, I was on the superman tools team for a short while (few months). At no time was the vision for the game a "Beat'Em Up with snazzy graphics" ... That's just unfortunately how it turned out after they cut feature after feature for time and technical reasons.

Re:Having heard EA execs talk numerious times... (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#18169878)

dude, you're such a fud-spreading hoser, you intentionally added emphasis on the wrong part

No, I added emphasis to the part that has actually shown up in most EA games. The "story" gobbledegook is just that: gobbledegook. Games are not about their storylines. A storyline can do a great deal to improve a game, but it can also detract from it. Most of the "great" games of times gone by never had anything more than a token plot. (e.g. Sonic the Hedgehog, Street Fighter II, Pacman, Doom, Commander Keen, Duke Nukem, Asteroids, Unreal Tournament, etc.) There were exceptions (e.g. Wing Commander, BioForge, The Dig), but those were usually in addition to being a really great game.

At no time was the vision for the game a "Beat'Em Up with snazzy graphics" ... That's just unfortunately how it turned out after they cut feature after feature for time and technical reasons.

In other words, EA management never took the risk. They talked up a storm to each other about how their game was going to be a "big risk", but when push came to shove, it didn't happen. Which in the case of a Superman game is not suprising. You don't bet movie franchises on risky games unless you're completely willing to miss the target date. Innovation takes time, patience, and a lot of wrong turns/backtracking.

Honestly speaking, the more I learn about the inside of EA, the more I'm glad I didn't end up working there. The management sings up praises of innovation and great gaming experiences, but they consistently make decisions that run counter to those promises. Unfortunately, I think that management really believes that they're making the great games they keep promising they're making. :(

Not too surprising since profits went in the tank (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 7 years ago | (#18167662)

This isn't too surprising because profits went in the tank last quarter, even though EA sales went through the roof. However, the next few months may be the time to buy: as the new management team dumps over-valued assets and generally cleans house, reported profits may go negative for a while, even though the general trend is that the company is making money.

Zonk really cleaned this article up!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18167756)

Way To Go Zonk.....

tell me again why Digg is worse than this place?

Re:Zonk really cleaned this article up!! (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 7 years ago | (#18170580)

tell me again why Digg is worse than this place?
Because Digg is like that all the time. And whilst Slashdot is far from perfect, Digg has all the same problems squared, and a whole load of others besides.

EA = too big for its own good (3, Interesting)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 7 years ago | (#18167844)

the giant publisher had become over-reliant on sequels
What? They do something else than sequels of sports games?

EA has become to gaming what MS is to operating systems. And no, that's not a good thing(TM).

Re:EA = too big for its own good (1)

Deag (250823) | more than 7 years ago | (#18168734)

I like their sports games, sorry but I just do.
I know people don't like how they don't change drastically every year, but I kind of like the slow iterative process by which they improve. Eventually they should shut down the game play completely and only improve graphics, interface and how the leagues work.
It would be nice if I could learn say Madden this year and be able to pick it up in ten years and be able to play it. How chess is played isn't drastically changed every year so something staying the same can be a good thing. And real world physics tend to stay the same, so real life sports tend to also remain fairly constant.
On the flip side of this I should be able to play someone with the newest version of the game with an older version, but I don't ever see that happening.

Re:EA = too big for its own good (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 7 years ago | (#18176172)

You can like their sports games, and I do agree that sequels should at least be comparable in at least some way to the previous games.

However, my point was, and still is, that EA only seems to make sports games. And they keep buying out smaller game companies, and the innovation dies a little every time.

We need more Katamari Damacy and Loco Rocco type games. Otherwise, I'm still thinking we're heading for another game market crash.

That, or videogames have become so mainstream that it's become like everything else (books, movies, music, etc). We need to dig in the pile to get to the 1% of good stuff from the 99% of crap.

I wonder...do people actually think anymore (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 7 years ago | (#18168976)

So the guy steps down from EA. The summary strikes me as a load of crap. You are telling me this guy got hurt feelings because people said they make too many sequels? Yeah, fine, I know this is just playing the typical Slashdot audience that cries constantly at the lack of innovation..but come on. EA makes games that sell very well (regardless of quality). Sequels have allowed them to make bundles of cash with less effort than starting from scratch. Is that good for the gamer? In this case, no. But from a business perspective it is like printing your own money.

It just strikes me as filler text that has nothing to do with the real reason. I didn't bother to RTFA because, seriously, who cares about this guy? But he probably found a better paying job or wants to spend time with his family. He isn't going to go throw himself off a bridge because he feels guilty that more people bought Madden 2012 instead of Okami.

But keep SSX! (1)

jkeegan (35099) | more than 7 years ago | (#18169754)

...yeah, but we STILL want SSX sequels.. THOSE were ok, ok?

Let me play SSX 4 on xbox live and race against friends..
I'd kind of like it on the wii as well, but in this case I've been pining for online play for too long, and I know more people with xbox 360s.

EA Soundtracks and Load Times (1)

The Orange Mage (1057436) | more than 7 years ago | (#18172294)

Please, EA. Stop with the (mostly) shitty game soundtracks, the real-time video backgrounds on menus which cause massive load times, and your generally long load times in general. I don't want to hear anymore goddamn Yellowcard or Fallout Boy, I don't want to wait 30 seconds to retry a race (after about 30 seconds in because I wreck) in Burnout Revenge, and I don't want to have to wait over A WHOLE MINUTE between races in Revenge's Multiplayer. However, SSX is exempt from the soundtrack rant because of the game's general funk, and the fact that loading times in that game are long, but don't happen nearly as often.

Don't get excited; routine changing of the guard. (1)

EWAdams (953502) | more than 7 years ago | (#18174794)

Larry told me personally about ten years ago that he was starting to think about a successor. It just took a while to find one. His departure isn't in response to news stories, stock prices, or anything else. The man just wants to put his feet up. Considering how much money he has made for his shareholders, he's earned it. EA is very strong, and unlike the console manufacturers, doesn't have to spend colossal amounts of money bringing out a new platform every five or six years, with the huge risks that that entails. Where's Sega nowadays?

Suspicious (1)

Avatar8 (748465) | more than 7 years ago | (#18182298)

FTA: "Probst will stay on with the company as the executive chairman of the board of directors."

Doesn't that mean he gets more of the company's profits but he doesn't get a regular paycheck?

At first I thought this was just a publicity stunt by EA to show the customer's that they are listening about "sequel-itis." Now I'm thinking it may be more of setting Riccitiello up as a scapegoat in case "Spore" doesn't produce on time, as expected, etc. et al.

Either way looks like Probst definitely isn't hurting nor has he suffered any shame for leading the least imaginative company in the world.

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