Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

EA Reorganizes Into Four Labels

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the too-big-for-its-britches dept.

Businesses 97

Reuters is reporting that the mega-publisher EA will soon be reorganized into four separate labels underneath the company's umbrella. The four groups will be known as EA Games, EA Sports, EA Casual Entertainment, and a label simply called 'The Sims'. All four organizations will be supported by two additional EA groups, which will handle publishing and 'development services'. "The changes, based on the success of a pilot program that placed games based on "The Sims" franchise into their own unit, mean it will require fewer executives to sign off on new games or to approve launching an existing game on a different platform or in a different regions. "We ran an organizational experiment and it was pretty damn successful. The Sims grew aggressively," Frank Gibeau, head of the new EA Games unit said."

cancel ×

97 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

hmm (4, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#19560347)

The four groups will be known as EA Games, EA Sports, EA Casual Entertainment, and a label simply called 'The Sims'.

That's odd. I would have expected the fourth one to be "Madden"

Re:hmm (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19560429)

i hear they're going to start a linux only gaming company called "fun for fags"

Re:hmm (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19560955)

Actually, they just announced that brand for mac at macworld.

Re:hmm (-1, Troll)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 7 years ago | (#19560577)

"That's odd. I would have expected the fourth one to be "Madden""

It doesn't make sense, since Football is a SPORT and there are other sports games out there besides madden.

Re:hmm (1, Troll)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#19560759)

Football is a SPORT
Football [wikipedia.org] is a sport. The sporthood of American football, on the other hand, is disputed.

Re:hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19561243)

Okay, lets hash this out.

We're geeks. We should be able to come up with a good definition of what constitutes a 'sport'.

I'll start the ball rolling:

'A Sport is a competitive activity which improves the physical fitness of its participants'.

Any takers?

Re:hmm (2, Funny)

Smight (1099639) | more than 7 years ago | (#19561659)

What about nerd sports like chess, poker, and robot battling? "A sport is a competitive activity where skill, ability , and strategy determine the victor." football could arguably not qualify

Re:hmm (1)

servognome (738846) | more than 7 years ago | (#19561921)

A sport is a competitive activity where skill, ability , and strategy determine the victor
Perhaps that could be said about football (futbol) which tends to be more heavily dependant on raw athletic ability and individual play, but american football is heavily based on strategy, and skill.
My definition of a sport: "A competitive activity where participants try to achieve a goal, and prevent the opponent from achieving the goal"
 
This would include the major sports, at the same time eliminating competitive activities such as golf, bowling, darts, etc - which I would classify as exhibitions of skill

Re:hmm (1)

LKM (227954) | more than 7 years ago | (#19562483)

"A competitive activity where participants try to achieve a goal, and prevent the opponent from achieving the goal"

Wouldn't that include things like war, or even doing the groceries, in some cases? I think it's a bit too broad.

I think it should include something like "it's self-dependant," e.g. there is no other goal involved in the act itself (obviously, if you look at most sports nowadays, making money plays a big part, but is not part of the actual game itself). Also, there are usually set rules.

"A competitive activity where participants try to achieve a goal within set rules, and prevent the opponent from achieving the goal. The goal is set within the game itself."

A sport's a game, right? (1)

thegnu (557446) | more than 7 years ago | (#19566139)

"A competitive activity where participants try to achieve a goal within set rules, and prevent the opponent from achieving the goal. The goal is set within the game itself."

I think a sport's a game, which I would define as (here we go) "An activity where one outcome is declared as better than another outcome, while involved in the activity"

So a playing with that paddle-elastic-ball thing would be a game (albeit not a very fulfilling one). But it wouldn't be a sport. So here's my definition:

Sport:
"A competitive game."

The skill thing is redundant, because it's in the definition of the game/sport that "skill" is defined. It's not like if you're at the office, people will be praising your ability to get a ball into a ring that's 10 feet off the ground.

For the record, reference.com thinks Sport is:
"an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature, as racing, baseball, tennis, golf, bowling, wrestling, boxing, hunting, fishing, etc."

It also has sub-definitions, but I think the Chess is sort of tacked on as sport to make people feel good. Sort of like calling American football an intellectual activity. Sure.

a note on shooting stuff (1)

thegnu (557446) | more than 7 years ago | (#19566181)

I think that shooting stuff still qualifies, because you are competing against the animal. And if you're shooting at clay pigeons, you're competing against yourself. Actually, that would make the ball attached to a paddle thing a sport.

On second thought:

Sport (n)
See ESPN

Re: a note on shooting stuff (1)

servognome (738846) | more than 7 years ago | (#19568963)

Sport (n)
See ESPN
Spelling Bee + Magic the Gathering = look elsewhere

Re:hmm (1)

The One and Only (691315) | more than 7 years ago | (#19572485)

Perhaps that could be said about football (futbol) which tends to be more heavily dependant on raw athletic ability and individual play, but american football is heavily based on strategy, and skill.

How do you figure? Association football has lots of specific skill (shooting, slide tackles, dribbling, all of which are rather unnatural actions) while American football is based, yes on strategy, but things like raw speed (outrunning a defender) and brute force (blocking a defender or getting past a blocker) are more important than specific skills, unless you're at a specific position (say quarterback or kicker).

Re:hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19573665)

There's a hell of a lot more skill to playing any position in American football than 'me runnum good' or 'me biggum strong'.

Your criticisms are typical of someone who hasn't played the game.

Re:hmm (1)

The One and Only (691315) | more than 7 years ago | (#19573985)

Yeah, but that's true for any sport. All I'm saying is that there's more "raw athletic ability" in American football than in association football.

Re:hmm (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#19562311)

Football clearly qualifies, you need leg strength, endurance, be good at taking the ball away from another player and of course have a strategy that's better than "let's all rush for the ball". Of course not all sports involve strategy (dash? target shooting?) but physical activity is a common theme among all sports that people would not hesistate to label as such, whether chess, poker or robot battling would actually qualify as sports is disputed, the officials may say so but if you ask a random dude on the street you'll probably hear a "no".

Re:hmm (1)

famebait (450028) | more than 7 years ago | (#19562839)

I think those were intentionally left out.

You could insist on calling footbal strategy "jock programming" too, if you really wanted to, but what would be the point?

DDR? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#19566967)

A Sport is a competitive activity which improves the physical fitness of its participants
So would Dance Dance Revolution be a sport? What about the game of limp biscuit [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:DDR? (1)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 7 years ago | (#19573553)

From the wikipedia article:

Soggy biscuit, cummy biscuit, limp biscuit or ooky cookie is a male masturbation game reportedly played in typically teenage male-oriented groups. The participants stand around a biscuit masturbating until ejaculating onto it; the last person to do so must eat the biscuit.[1] It is thought to have originated in Australia sometime in the 1960s.[1]

That's pretty much describes almost every MMO I've encountered.

Re:hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19563431)

Get off your fucking high horse.

Re:hmm (1)

Rhone (220519) | more than 7 years ago | (#19560917)

It doesn't make sense, since Football is a SPORT and there are other sports games out there besides madden.

Admittedly I'm making an (educated) guess here, but it was a JOKE, most likely based on the fact that Madden gets a lot more hype (and profit, probably) than the other EA Sports games.

Re:hmm (1)

KoldKompress (1034414) | more than 7 years ago | (#19562265)

But Madden is a huge franchise. Kind of like Mario. Everybody loves Madden.

Don't tell me you've never played Madden: Commentator Pro 2008?

I personally can't wait for EA Sports Imus NCAA 2007, with racial overtones.

Re:hmm (5, Funny)

secretwhistle (1116881) | more than 7 years ago | (#19561115)

I would have thought EA Sports would just be named "Roster Update."

Re:hmm (2, Interesting)

jZnat (793348) | more than 7 years ago | (#19564431)

If EA still had competition from developers like Sega in the football games subgenre, this wouldn't be necessarily true. However, since they got an exclusive deal with the NFL over the names of teams, players, stadiums, stats, etc., they don't have to do anything but update the roster really. Although, Madden '07 for Wii, I hear, was actually innovative and fun.

Re:hmm (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 7 years ago | (#19561331)

But where would that leave their new game, Sim EA, where you control EA and you split it up buy companies and make games and order your employees around. Thus the "The Sims" category :-P

Re:hmm (1)

agileinfosystems (1114861) | more than 7 years ago | (#19562619)

good news dude.

Re:hmm (2, Funny)

Subacultcha (921910) | more than 7 years ago | (#19563105)

Actually, I would have expected "Pestilence", "War", "Famine", and "Death", but I can see how the 4th one could be "The Sims".

Re:hmm (1)

Rhonwyn (49658) | more than 7 years ago | (#19566679)

EA Madden, EA Movie Games, EA Hoyle games, The Sims.

Speedy? (4, Funny)

toleraen (831634) | more than 7 years ago | (#19560371)

"The changes, based on the success of a pilot program that placed games based on "The Sims" franchise into their own unit, mean it will require fewer executives to sign off on new games or to approve launching an existing game on a different platform or in a different regions.

I guess its the bureaucracy that's been holding them back from releasing madden twice a year then? I'm definitely looking forward to madden 07.5 now!

Re:Speedy? (5, Insightful)

sglider (648795) | more than 7 years ago | (#19560423)

You aren't kidding. What they don't realize is that what works for Madden and The Sims (releasing an expansion or 'booster' pack every 3 months) doesn't work for PC Multiplayer games like the Battlefield Series.

Battlefield 2 sold well, but they tried to capitalize on that by releasing BF2:Special Forces, and Armored Fury and Euro Forces in quick succession, and were rebuffed by the community.

They then didn't learn from their mistake by releasing Battlefield 2142 a scant year after BF2 came out, and it only surpassed BF2 in hours played the first week. Now, it barely registers on the top ten for Xfire [xfire.com] , and doesn't hold a good spot on Gamespy's Server list [gamespy.com] either.

Re:Speedy? (1)

TobyWong (168498) | more than 7 years ago | (#19561947)

Special Forces was great but due to design limitations it had to be run as a completely seperate mod, i.e. you couldn't add it into rotation with vanilla maps. That kind of doomed it from the start. Grappling hooks and ziplines are *amazing* additions to FPS gameplay/battle tactics though.

Euro Forces and Armored Fury were just shitty big maps with way too many vehicles. A lot of players (including me) can't stand vehicle heavy maps.

2142 while from a technical standpoint is not an earthshattering improvement over BF2 is far and away the best of the BF series in terms of gameplay and balance. It's BF done right as far as I am concerned. Some BF players don't like the futuristic setting and weaponry but I will take it any day over the week over BF2s chopper and jet whoring.

As far as "barely registering" on xfires top ten, not that it matters but it seems to be just slightly behind #6, 7, 8 which is not at all bad considering it shares the same audience as BF2.

Re:Speedy? (1)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 7 years ago | (#19562403)

I'll agree to that. Sometimes the problem with BF is that its _too big_. 2142 lets you get back into combat in a few seconds, even if you spawn back at base. The ships are way easier to control, and Titans are way more fun than aircraft carriers or the like.

Re:Speedy? (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#19562695)

I think you have it backwards. The corporate structure was holding back The Sims, not the other games. They did an experiment and found The Sims sold a lot more games if let run more free. They don't see any -harm- in changing the structure for the rest to match, but there's no indication they intend to treat the other games like The Sims. In fact, they indicate the opposite by their choice of groups. If The Sims was lumped with anything else, we could assume that other thing was like The Sims to them.

I'm not a real big EA fan, but The Sims -is- a good series, and I like some of the other games that will be in the 'EA Games' line. I can't help but think that removing the sports games (which I hate) from the decision process for the games I like would be anything but bad. At worst, they continue as they have. At best, they comes up with innovative game ideas and distribution concepts. Episodic content has not yet taken off, despite the fact that many people -like- the idea, and merely hate the implementation. Telltale Games (Sam & Max) recently proved that episodic -could- be done well. Their difference seems to be that they didn't treat it like a whole game, then split it, and they didn't treat it like episodes could be released as expansions, every 6 months.

Maybe this will help EA produce more top-notch games, or at least more innovative games, as the corporate ladder isn't as tall. Of course, it could be that they just put out a lot MORE games, and some turn out to be good... Time will tell.

Re:Speedy? (1)

joystickgenie (913297) | more than 7 years ago | (#19571513)

I think you have EA's goal mixed up. You don't want to create a non subscription based game that people will play forever. The longer you have players playing your game the longer they won't be buying your new product. Generally the perfect lifespan for a game would be to last just short of the time it takes you to put out your next game.

So from your example Battlefield 2142 would be the more successful title. They were able to get big launch sales and then the games popularity died out shortly after. The failure would have been with battlefield 2. The game was still popular when the subsequent title came out limiting the scope of their target demographic.

2nd post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19560465)

and 1 modpoint wasted! Mission accomplished.

Ohhh..... (1)

RuBLed (995686) | more than 7 years ago | (#19560475)

"We ran an organizational experiment and it was pretty damn successful. The Sims grew aggressively,"

I see, they're going to release this expansion pack that makes Sims grew aggresively...

Re:Ohhh..... (1)

alfs boner (963844) | more than 7 years ago | (#19560889)

Fuck you, asshole.

wait... they're missing (1)

MrBallistic (88770) | more than 7 years ago | (#19560491)

...ea 1942. or 2142. or "we like 19-21 monitors, but won't support widescreen rez-42". i'd think that'd be a cash cow, too.

How is this new? (4, Insightful)

Myria (562655) | more than 7 years ago | (#19560535)

The changes, based on the success of a pilot program that placed games based on "The Sims" franchise into their own unit

Wasn't that "pilot program" called Maxis?

Re:How is this new? (2, Informative)

Cheapy (809643) | more than 7 years ago | (#19560977)

My favorite Maxis game? Streets of Sim City. All the fun of building a city without the whole "appeasing the citizens", "ensuring economic prosperity", or "keeping people alive" distractions.

Plus it had cars with rocket launchers. How cool was that?

Realistic? No. Educational? Maybe for learning how to blow things up. Allowing a 10 year old me to play a game with explosions all while being able to say that it was SimCity? Oh yeah.

Re:How is this new? (1)

bot24 (771104) | more than 7 years ago | (#19561113)

I'm pretty sure Maxis made the original The Sims and then EA bought Maxis. The same way EA bought Bullfrog, Westwood, ...

Re:How is this new? (1)

Hai-Etlik (11767) | more than 7 years ago | (#19562207)

EA bought Maxis 3 years before they released The Sims.

Re:How is this new? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19575163)

The Sims was a done deal in development well before EA bought Maxis. It doesn't matter when the actual date of Sims shipping was.

Breaking EA news: (-1, Offtopic)

PurifyYourMind (776223) | more than 7 years ago | (#19560583)

I just pooped my cute little pants.

Re:Breaking EA news: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19560657)

You are the bane of my existence.

Re:Breaking EA news: (1)

PurifyYourMind (776223) | more than 7 years ago | (#19560723)

*bows* Why thank you, sir!

The Sims label (4, Insightful)

Bongo Bill (853669) | more than 7 years ago | (#19560639)

Would that just be, um, Maxis?

Re:The Sims label (1)

RuBLed (995686) | more than 7 years ago | (#19560713)

Recently the development of SimCity Societies were given to Tilted Mill.

Re:The Sims label (1)

crossmr (957846) | more than 7 years ago | (#19561263)

No Maxis was absorbed last year and their logo scrubbed from everything.

They offered me the chance to run EA Casual... (3, Funny)

DrunkenTerror (561616) | more than 7 years ago | (#19560643)

...but I just kinda said, "Fuck it," ya know?

Easy. (2, Insightful)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 7 years ago | (#19560645)

Easy.

Spin your "studios" off, and back into independent units with a good degree of autonomy.

Maxis and Westwood were both fantastic on their own, and produced a whole bunch of innovative and fun games. Since being absorbed into the EA empire, they haven't produced a single new idea (not to mention that C&C Generals was outright offensive)

Re:Easy. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19561163)

i freakin love the offensive-ness of C&C Generals... seriously, "I VEEL MAKE THE SACRAFICE" is one of the greatest audio clips... ever.

some other great ones:
"I need some shoes."
"Please, don't huuurt me!"
"Can i have some shoes?"

politically incorrect middle eastern terrorists. gatta love it.

Re:Easy. (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 7 years ago | (#19562487)

I don't know, Blizzard had some great ones, too.

For example, the human peasants (units that build buildings) in Warcraft II [gamefaqs.com] will say, after you've clicked them enough times:

"Now what?"
"More work?!"
"Leave me alone"
"I don't wanna do this"
"I'm not listening"

Alleria, a female elf that only appears in certain levels, has this to say (keeping in mind that the cursor is a hand)

"You never touch the other elves like that"
"Do that again and you'll pull back a stump"

Most of them aren't funny. The really funny ones appear in Starcraft [gamefaqs.com] and Warcraft III [gamefaqs.com] .

Re:Easy. (1)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 7 years ago | (#19570675)

Hold up a second:
Making fun of medieval peasants is a bit different from making offensive jokes about a sensitive political and cultural issue.

Re:Easy. (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 7 years ago | (#19571609)

Right, but AC also said it was one of the greatest audio clips ever.

I probably should have quoted that part in my own post, as I was ignoring the offensive part.

Re:Easy. (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 7 years ago | (#19650375)

Most of them aren't funny.


What, you didn't like the Human Footman?

"Are you *still* touching me?"
"Don't you have a kingdom to run?"
"Join the army, they said."
"See the *world*, they said."
"I'd rather be sailing."

Or the Orc Ships?
"Yo ho!"
"Who wants to sing?"
"La la la la la..."

Or Goblin Sappers?
"We've got explosives!"
"KABOOOOM!"
"Ohhhh, it's beautyful."

Chris Mattern

Re:Easy. (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#19562363)

Wait, first you complain about no new ideas, then they change the C&C series heavily and you call it offensive?

Re:Easy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19564665)

When one makes that kind of change to something, one usually calls it by a different name. Most true CnC fans would not have had a problem with it, if it had been called just Generals - the game had *nothing* to do with the Command and Conquer series, aside from the name.

Re:Easy. (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#19575049)

The combat balancing was a lot like C&C. Only the resource harvesting and the build system were really changed and they added too many general abilities but the restis very much C&C. You have your MG and rocket infantry, your tanks and commandos, building clearers and artillery, etc.

Re:Easy. (1)

Half a dent (952274) | more than 7 years ago | (#19566527)

Don't forget Bullfrog.

Mislabelled (3, Funny)

GFree (853379) | more than 7 years ago | (#19560677)

The four groups will be known as EA Games, EA Sports, EA Casual Entertainment, and a label simply called 'The Sims'.

Those groups don't representative EA well enough I think. They probably should be renamed as:

The four groups will be known as EA Shit, EA Bullshit, EA Thisissoshit, and a label simply called 'The Sims'.

does this really change anything? (4, Insightful)

joystickgenie (913297) | more than 7 years ago | (#19560721)

Other then in internal upper management command chains does this really change anything? EA has pretty much already had these separations in place with few exceptions.

EA Games: EA Redwood Shores and EA LA
EA Sports: EA Canada, EA Tiburon, EA Chicago and EA UK
EA Casual Entertainment: Pogo and EA Mobil
The Sims: Maxis

Really what is the difference between what is going no now and what has been going on for years?

Re:does this really change anything? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19560967)

You guys have shown us some great stuff here, but we're in negotiations to buy an innovative startup that already has done something similar as part of our offerings with ----. Also, are you using the game engine developed by our ----- location? That's state of the art and represents millions of dollars of R&D. They just bought a company-wide license for some tools that you guys will want to use. We have some graphic artists in India who will save you guys some money, it's a fine group. Now some of this risque stuff might not cut it with Wal-Mart, we'll run it by our marketing guys and get back to you in a couple weeks. We need to make sure we maximize our revenue from Internet advertising tie-ins, I'm not involved with that effort personally but here's a heads up that you'll need to deal with that review down the road....

Re:does this really change anything? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19561067)

Mod parent up, this sounds uncannily realistic!

Re:does this really change anything? (1)

RyoShin (610051) | more than 7 years ago | (#19562229)

Their art department gets to make shiny new logos.

Also, they get to say "The Sims by the Sims", thereby breaking many people's brains.

The Challenge! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19562615)

EA Games challenges everything ;-)

'The Sims' Division? (2, Insightful)

wbren (682133) | more than 7 years ago | (#19560885)

I'd hate to work for that division, unless EA promised to reallocate me within another division when The Sims loses popularity. Talk about putting all your eggs in one basket... People inevitably lose interest in a game over time (even World of Warcraft [gigaom.com] perhaps).

Re:'The Sims' Division? (1)

crossmr (957846) | more than 7 years ago | (#19561281)

Yes of all the franchises out there, The Sims looks like its the most likely to lose momentum. They've cross-branded the crap out of this franchise and you can't blink without tripping over a new expansion pack, or port to a new system.

They have the female demographic pretty much wrapped up. between teeny boppers and bored housewives you couldn't print money this fast.

Re:'The Sims' Division? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#19562481)

I would assume the Sims division is not exclusively dedicated to the Sims games, wouldn't be surprising if that was the name for Wright's division since that guy has named most of his games Sim____.

Re:'The Sims' Division? (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 7 years ago | (#19564913)

Yes, just like barbie and other dolls, the popularity will soon wane...

Bullshit management (4, Insightful)

Bombula (670389) | more than 7 years ago | (#19560919)

This kind of nonsense from corporations is very revealing. In massive conglomerates, one corporation (i.e.: PepsiCo) may own a subsidiary unit quite different from its original flagship enterprise (i.e.: Taco Bell vs Pepsi). In these situations of acquisition, the challenge is to line up the hierarchy of management with the hierarchy of ownership. It's a challenge, but effective organizations usually manage to get the entire show running as a single, albeit complex and multifaceted, business.

To take an existing company and split it up into smaller sections - whether spin-offs, labels, or whatever - is basically a bullshit move from the standpoint of management. If it's branding we're talking about, that's one thing. Differentiating among brands to target different markets is fine. But to actually split an organization up into separate operating units and decentralize their organizational structure is the new-age crap of the late 80s and 90s that ended up being a giant fart in the spacesuit of business.

Properly managed, a single organization can be of any size and any complexity. Good management will implement organizational decentralization as necessary, and as a corollary will also integrate management of operating units at appropriate decision-making levels to ensure optimum efficiency (management-speak would insert the bullshit word 'synergies' here).

Long story short, if EA was being managed properly in the first place, it wouldn't need to be split apart. The fact that its operating units can't be creative unless they pretend they're separate companies is a sign that the management has no idea what it's doing.

Re:Bullshit management (2, Insightful)

servognome (738846) | more than 7 years ago | (#19561999)

Properly managed, a single organization can be of any size and any complexity. Good management will implement organizational decentralization as necessary, and as a corollary will also integrate management of operating units at appropriate decision-making levels to ensure optimum efficiency (management-speak would insert the bullshit word 'synergies' here).
It could happen, but it is very difficult to manage. Sometimes 'synergy' turns out to really be a handicap for individual business units. It is difficult to justify to stockholders decisions by individual business units that directly work against other business units. For example, people are advocating Sony electronics and Sony music be split, since the electronics business unit is hurt by DRM and other restrictions to try and protect Sony music. They could pretend to be different companies, but if for some reason the music unit starts to slip (even if there are gains in electronics), shareholders will ask what the electronics unit is doing to help.

There are also regulatory, tax, and other reasons that it might be advantageous to split a company up.

Re:Bullshit management (2, Insightful)

Bombula (670389) | more than 7 years ago | (#19562085)

Your points are well made. Just some additions to them: the two points - stockholders losing sight of the big picture when evaluating individual business units, and tax and regulatory benefits of decentralization - are related via the accounting department through what's called 'transfer pricing'. Let me explain by way of example:

Would you buy multivitamins from China at $850 a pound, plastic buckets from the Czech Republic for $973 each, tissues from China at $1,874 a pound, a cotton dishtowel from Pakistan for $154, and tweezers from Japan at $4,896 each? Would you sell multivitamins to Finland at 61 cents a pound, bus and truck tires to Britain for $11.74 each, color video monitors to Pakistan for $21.90, missile and rocket launchers to Israel for $52.03 and prefabricated buildings to Trinidad for $1.20 a unit? If you are a large conglomerate with different operating units, the answer is yes.

The reason why is that by overpaying on imports from a subsidiary and underpaying on exports to them, a conglomerate can buy from and sell to itself in such a way that it shows losses in a US unit, which offsets taxes, but compensatory profit in a foreign unit based in a tax-haven country.

This gets to the core of both of your points because it shows why shareholders are foolish to look at individual operating units without looking at the context of the whole organization, when it's the bottom line that counts, and that it's foolish to operate units completely independently from one another. It also shows how taxes can be gamed no matter what the regulations may be (in 2001, for example, corporations reported $154 billion more profit to their shareholders in annual reports than they reported to the IRS in their SEC filings, leading to over $50 billion in lost tax revenue).

Lastly, bear in mind that while there are potential savings from decentralizing operations into separate units, there are also additional costs - like having to have a whole new admin department for each unit.

Re:Bullshit management (1)

servognome (738846) | more than 7 years ago | (#19569387)

stockholders losing sight of the big picture when evaluating individual business units
I tend to give investors more credit, its not they lose sight of the big picture, it's that the big picture is murky at best. Is MS losing hundreds of millions of dollars on the Xbox good or bad, it's hard to say in the context of the overall company.
That also brings up another good reason to split up the company, which is to try and get a return on an investment. For example, MS has invested a lot of money on Xbox & associated software. If in the future the MS just doesn't feel it's in their best interest to keep pouring money in, rather than liquidate or just close down, it might be advantagous to spin-off. This would give the business unit autonomy and flexibility to possibly be successful. The spin-off might abandon the hardware and become a game software developer/publisher. Something like "Halo DS", could allow the spin-off to be viable, where it couldn't have been under direct MS management. Of course MS would still be a majority shareholder and stand to gain from the spin-off

Re:Bullshit management (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19567423)

Properly managed, a single organization can be of any size and any complexity.

Tell that to the planners of the former Soviet Union, who ran the entire country as one organization.

fun stat du jour (1)

mckwant (65143) | more than 7 years ago | (#19560927)

Ratio of each group's developers that quit.

"I don't get it, Bob. Nobody wants to be in the group that does nothing but the Sims."

Re:fun stat du jour (1)

Dadoo (899435) | more than 7 years ago | (#19561021)

You're probably right. I picked up "The Sims 2" a while ago. Given its popularity, I assumed it must be a pretty good game. To be honest, I can't figure out how to play it. I don't even know what the object is. I'll probably try again, at some point, but not before I check out a few strategy guides.

I wonder if the "Sim City" stuff will be in the same group.

Re:fun stat du jour (2, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#19561145)

You're probably right. I picked up "The Sims 2" a while ago. Given its popularity, I assumed it must be a pretty good game. To be honest, I can't figure out how to play it. I don't even know what the object is. I'll probably try again, at some point, but not before I check out a few strategy guides.

I wonder if the "Sim City" stuff will be in the same group.

Actually, no. Some digital sandboxes still have goals that players regard as the main mission:
  • SimCity Classic: put 500,000 people into one town and beat all scenarios. (The manual for the Super NES version admitted that this was the mission.)
  • Harvest Moon: get a positive evaluation of your farm.
  • Animal Crossing: pay off your house and all expansions (1.4 million bells on GCN, 3.5 million bells on DS) and get a perfect town (about 13 trees per acre).
The Sims, on the other hand...

Re:fun stat du jour (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19571443)

I don't even know what the object is.

Most Slashdotters wouldn't know what the objective of a real life is either.

Object of Sims? (1)

secretwhistle (1116881) | more than 7 years ago | (#19561393)

From what time I've put into it, the main goal is to see how long your Sims can "hold it." Like a long car trip with the kids.

Splitup by exec qualifications (3, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 7 years ago | (#19561063)

This is really a split based on the needed qualifications of the divisional executives:

  • "Games" division - needs an actual game producer in charge. Most R&D in this unit.
  • "Sports" division - needs a jock, who hires other jocks, to make games jocks like. Ongoing updates and upgrades, but not much innovation needed. Technology comes from games division and outside suppliers.
  • "Casual" division - needs a sales type good at sucking up to cell phone companies. For mobile games, the market is the cell phone company, not the end user.
  • "Sims" division - whoever was running that project at Maxis.

The Sims as a distinct unit? (1, Flamebait)

Whuffo (1043790) | more than 7 years ago | (#19561319)

Maybe I'm a little cynical, but it seems that when corporate reorganizations end up with one specific product split out from the rest, it means that product is about played out and the new structure will make it much easier to kill that product off. Much tidier, too - Sims, Inc. goes out of business and there's no problems with laid off workers, etc. to deal with.

EA has had enough "employee problems" over the years so it's entirely possible that they could see this as their golden opportunity to trim the payroll with almost no downside.

My bet: EA Sims will be history in less than a year. Product being produced today will be in the discount software bin in 3 months...

Re:The Sims as a distinct unit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19562465)

Theres at least 6 different products ongoing right now there, so no.

Re:The Sims as a distinct unit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19564251)

You're right...spinning off the part of the company that has made the 2 best-selling PC games of all time just so you can fire them all - brilliant! This might be the dumbest thing in this discussion (besides the guy who said they release Madden every 3 months...).

Re:The Sims as a distinct unit? (1)

metroid composite (710698) | more than 7 years ago | (#19565393)

Dead within a year...just like the Pokemon Company [wikipedia.org] , right?

Hows about... (4, Funny)

goodenoughnickname (874664) | more than 7 years ago | (#19561585)

EA Pestilence, EA War, EA Famine, and EA Death

Re:Hows about... (1)

dreemernj (859414) | more than 7 years ago | (#19563963)

I would bet EA War was actually a possibility.

Re:Hows about... (1)

jZnat (793348) | more than 7 years ago | (#19564509)

Or more accurately, EA World War II.

Re:Hows about... (1)

The One and Only (691315) | more than 7 years ago | (#19572561)

War? Ha! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing!

Re:Hows about... (1)

Mathness (145187) | more than 7 years ago | (#19566043)

Pestilence have retired, so Polution took over.

EA Polution, EA War, EA Famine and EA Death

Wierd, I was expecting... (1)

JimboFBX (1097277) | more than 7 years ago | (#19561699)

I was expecting EA Rushed, EA Buggy, EA Recycled, and EA Boring.

I don't care (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#19562345)

I can't care less how they got reorganized. Where is my new version of The Incredible Machine!

If they called the Maxis division "The Sims", looks like T.I.M. isn't coming any time soon :((

Re:I don't care (1)

Megane (129182) | more than 7 years ago | (#19562987)

It's going to be released under the EA Sports label. And they're changing the name slightly. It will now be called The Incredible Madden.

Re:I don't care (1)

Floritard (1058660) | more than 7 years ago | (#19564559)

Totally. Or Road Rash for that matter. Forget all the shitty 3D titles and harken back to the golden days of genesis, get Criterion, makers of Burnout, to do an update, profit!.

Re:I don't care (1)

FusionDragon2099 (799857) | more than 7 years ago | (#19564949)

The Incredible Machine was a Sierra game, not EA. I'm pretty sure it would come from Vivendi.

Re:I don't care (2, Interesting)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 7 years ago | (#19565007)

I'm actually hoping that they make "The Sims" division stand for all Sim games, not just the one they've milked to death. That would open up a lot of possibilities. SimFarm,while a horrible game overall, was a lot of fun at times; a decent update could work well. SimCity, SimEarth, SimAnt, etc. could all do well if they would focus resources on them and give them a chance. Then open up new ones, like SimMachine, and I could see things going really, really well for that division.

Bugs division (2, Funny)

El-Wrongo (1105293) | more than 7 years ago | (#19563957)

TFA fails to mention that the reason for this is that the EA Bugs division was disbanded because they found out that instead of spending time carefully putting CTDs inn and unbalancing gameplay, they could simplify the whole process of bug development by just corrupting the EXE file so every time on startup it gives out a BSOD.
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>