In the first half of the 2010s, there was a feeling that single-player games were outdated. Most franchises have brought some multiplayer elements, with companies betting on online matches to increase revenue, and EA was among them.
However, even though these portions were often shoved down the consumer’s throat, the market adjusted itself, and for many publishers, the expectation of “easy money” turned out to be a big waste of investment. With several multiplayer failings, other avenues would need to be explored, and one of them, I believe, would be to return bets on single-player campaigns.
EA themselves realized this Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, a game that surprised many with its interesting story and addictive gameplay. Result? A success that will ultimately affect how one player views the company.
At least that’s what the publisher’s CEO pointed out at an investor event. When asked how such games fit into the company’s policy, Andrew Wilson gave the following answer:
“Our players generally have a core motivation—inspiration, escape, social connection, competition, self-improvement, creation—all things that connect us as players. And creating worlds, creating characters, and telling stories is really important to realizing that motivation.
When we think about our portfolio and when we think about building it, we really think about two main vectors. Hmm, how can we tell amazing stories? And secondly, how do we create amazing online communities? So how can we combine these two things?
When we think about single-player games, we think they’re a very, very important part of the portfolio that we deliver to fulfill that motivation. […] We’re looking to complement that by adding online games, new multiplayer games, and new single-player games.”
But if Wilson’s words didn’t make it clear, EA CFO Chris Suh went on to explain that the company isn’t abandoning games as a service — which, frankly, isn’t surprising. According to the executive authorities, almost three-quarters of the publisher’s income today comes from these types of games, which they clearly do not want to give up.
It might not be much, but for a company whose former president thought there was no future for single-player, it’s good to see that EA sees things differently today. And since this is a publishing house that has already given us such pearls as black and white, dead spaceseries mass effect and Dragon Age or Let’s recognizeWe just need to win.
EA is not for sale (or is it?)
The industry has seen major acquisitions in recent months, and with rumors of some of the giants interested in taking control of EA, it’s clear shareholders will be interested in the topic. So, even saying that he does not comment on speculations, the head of the publishing house does not completely exclude such a possibility.
“Our goal, and my goal as CEO of this company, is to always look after our people, our players and our shareholders,” said Andrew Wilson. “And if there’s a way we can do it differently than we’re doing it today, I’d certainly be open to that. But I will tell you that today we feel very, very confident and excited about our future.
Again, as the CEO was, you can read between the lines of his statement. While he’s proud to say that EA is currently “the world’s largest independent developer and publisher of interactive entertainment,” it’s clear that if the offering is good, they’ll sell.
It will be difficult to find a company with enough funds to close what could become one of the biggest acquisitions in history. The first move would reportedly come from Comcast/NBCUniversal, but both the values and the merger proposal would not sit well with the folks at Electronic Arts.
However, a few options remain, with Disney, Apple and Amazon all said to be interested. With an estimated market value of $36 billion, the fact is that if any company ever wants to own one of the oldest companies in the gaming industry, it will have to spend a lot of money.
COVID-19 and the gradual return to normality
Like many companies in the industry, EA was also affected by the pandemic that began in 2020. With employees working from home, projects were delayed and even the quality of some games suffered due to this sudden change in environment. of work.
But according to COO Laura Miele, the talent of her teams has allowed them to adapt to the new times and pushed them “to a place that is not only more productive, but also very creative.” This has made it possible to make progress in the pace and way in which these professionals create processes related to game creation.
However, even as employees slowly return to local jobs, Electronic Arts has encouraged “maintaining an environment that is more meaningful and productive for them and their creativity.” This includes allowing these people to choose where they live, and if they earn more at home, they can continue to contribute from there.
“People choose to work for companies that have strong values and moral attachment, and compensation is certainly important, but what people really want is an emotional and personal connection to where they are,” Miele defended.
For a company that was on the list of America’s worst companies the other day, it looks like they’ve learned their lesson and are ready to change that image. But I’d love to hear from those on the other side of the story whether EA execs really run publishers and its studios that differently.
Source: Eurogamer, Games industry and IGN