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EA “doesn’t want to be viewed as the worst company in America”

Monday, 4th November 2013 21:59 GMT By Ewan Miller

Speaking to Kotaku, Electronic Arts’ new CEO Andrew Wilson spoke about why he thinks the company has won Consumerist’s “Worst Company in America” poll two years running and what he intends to do to fix that. In the interview he highlights annual sequelization as one of the potential problems, as well as establishing a “culture of innovation” at the company that “kills” bad projects before they get to market.

Interestingly, when discussing his philosophies for winning back the hearts and minds of EA’s customer base, Wilson frames everything in terms of investment and deals.

“There are lots of really big public companies that make a lot of money that are loved by their consumers. That’s because the consumers feel like they get value from that company in the investment in their dollars [and] time.

“Any time we create something, if you’re asking for an investment from the consumer in dollars and time, make sure they feel like they’re stealing from you and that they are getting the best end of that deal and the rest will follow. And that will be our philosophy”

Better games more quickly might seem like an oxymoron, but it’s at the core of Wilson’s plan to rescue the company’s public image.

“We need a mechanism and a process which we can get to better games more quickly. If we can be faulted for anything, over the years, it’s kind of hanging on to ideas or concepts of games too long, driving too hard against them, spending too much to the point that we couldn’t invest in other opportunities and ideas.”

Apparently the key to innovation is to me aggressive in killing projects that aren’t going anywhere, freeing up time for the people who would have previously worked on getting it to market. DLC is another area where Wilson thinks EA is on the right track, arguing that the company is “player-driven and not driven by a short-term financial decisions”, holding up Battlefield 3′s Premium model as something that delivers consumer value while making money for EA.

Thanks, Kotaku.

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23 Comments

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  1. Xbone

    They want to be viewed as the worst company IN THE WORLD!
    :D

    #1 9 months ago
  2. Legendaryboss

    “kills” bad projects before they get to market.”

    Now the question is are those bad and panned projects really bad and aren’t going anywhere? Or are they not what EA wants us to play? Is it not generic and shooter themed? You never know.

    Conspiracy hat off.

    @1
    Ho, ho snap! :D

    #2 9 months ago
  3. monkeygourmet

    @1

    :)

    #3 9 months ago
  4. gomersoul

    It’s ok, Microsoft will take the crown next time

    #4 9 months ago
  5. Unknown_Gamer

    ^ This :D

    #5 9 months ago
  6. DSB

    He really does seem ultra, ultra business minded. Maybe I’m just fooled by the vocab, but that’s how he comes off.

    I’m confused, because EA really surprised me by introducing something like the 24 hour return policy on Origin. That’s huge, and I think it’s embarrassing that Steam doesn’t have that yet. They should’ve done it a long time ago.

    And then on the other hand I was shocked when I went shopping on Origin and found that their idea of localization was a complete pisstake.

    I just don’t know what to do with EA, but it seems this guy still sees games as “entertainment software” rather than experiences that need someone to care for ‘em, so I’m really not super optimistic about the future. Hopefully they’ll put that to shame.

    #6 9 months ago
  7. MFBB

    Might have something to do with buying and later shutting down so many studios and cancelling games fans have looked forward to…

    With Command and Conquer + the studio developing it being the latest victim.

    Bioware founders left aswell after EA bought them and forced to release Dragon Age 2 as quickly as possible…which turned out really bad as we all know.

    Could go on all day with all the studios they buy/shutdown and games they ruin.

    #7 9 months ago
  8. SplatteredHouse

    “an investment from the consumer in dollars and time”

    That’s an encouraging turn of phrase. Just to see them consider time, our time, as important. Hopefully, it bears out in practice, after the first announcements under Mr. Wilson’s watch, which I’m cautiously looking forward to.

    That Kotaku feature is fun, where you can comment right ON the article itself – ex. 4 ;) Reading the full article, it seems to me that Wilson gives answers, not soundbites. My impression is that there is substance behind the statements. A big step forward.

    #8 9 months ago
  9. salarta

    Incidentally, EA isn’t the worst company in America, and EA being called that proves how fucking stupid and self-centered people are. They could be the worst video game company in America, but if they’re being called worse than companies that kick families out of their homes and ruin habitats for profits, then there’s something seriously wrong with priorities.

    #9 9 months ago
  10. Panthro

    Lower origin prices by 40% and begin putting your games back on steam.

    You will get my vote as a good company EA, stop fucking us about.

    Hardly the worst company though, plenty of other companies doing tremendously bad things.

    Worst gaming company though? Sure.

    #10 9 months ago
  11. dkpunk

    I still think comcast or boa deserve the honor.

    #11 9 months ago
  12. DSB

    @9 But… Does that really matter? It may serve to prove that an inordinate amount of angry gamers visisted the poll, but doesn’t it still serve to prove the very same point?

    EA isn’t viewed favorably by an awful lot of gamers, and at some point they really should start to care.

    It’s an internet poll, it’s not the final reckoning handed down by the almighty Tetragrammaton, but it’s a hint that some people would really love to serve EA a nice steaming pile of dogpoop when given the chance.

    If it was somehow a real effort to find the worst company, you’d still be hard pressed to find “the” worst. Is a polluter damaging peoples health better or worse than one who makes them homeless and launches them into poverty?

    It’s a meainingless poll, awarding a meaningless title. That doesn’t mean it can’t have meaningful results.

    #12 9 months ago
  13. GrimRita

    @10 agree totally about putting games back on Steam. I haven’t purchased any of the latest Battlefield games because they are on EAs own spyware.

    @9 – EA do that when they fire developers and sack staff in the pursuit of more money. The list is countless of how many people have lost their jobs at EA over the years.

    Gotta love this guy though for venting more hot air. EA simply don’t understand their customers, they don’t understand community and only care about licking the arses of celebrities that they pay over the odds for to promote this years FIFA game.

    If the man was smart, he would reach out to the original Command and Conquer develops over at Petroglyph games and get them to deliver a new C&C experience like no other – imagine how many fans they could win back if they did that AND, not only release it on Origin!

    #13 9 months ago
  14. Joe Musashi

    Now that Don Mattrick is CEO of Zynga, EA may not have to try all that hard to avoid being voted in for a 3rd year.

    I’m surprised they’d come out and say this – as if they cared. I would have thought that if they meet their business goals they wouldn’t care about such labelling. Plenty of companies get demonised (Activision spring to mind) who don’t seem too fussed.

    JM

    #14 9 months ago
  15. ddtd

    @7 – “Bioware founders left aswell after EA bought them and forced to release Dragon Age 2 as quickly as possible…”

    Huh? Where did you read that? It was after ME3 that they left, and they never had anything bad to say about EA, unless I missed something.

    #15 9 months ago
  16. derpachu

    @4&5
    Nice try, Capcom already took that spot.

    #16 9 months ago
  17. gsxrlove

    It would make me very happy if DICE stopped using EA as a publisher for the Battlefield series. The last thing I want to do is give EA any more of my money.

    #17 9 months ago
  18. Unknown_Gamer

    @16 Actually both of them should get the Crown but we still don’t know whether Capcom learn from their mistakes right now or not :D

    So i think M$ Deserve this after all xD

    #18 9 months ago
  19. Fin

    @9

    Holy fuck I would +1 you so hard if I could.

    The entire concept of EA being the worst company in America just shows how petty, ignorant and entitled gamers are.

    They changed a piece of entertainment you like. They charge more for your entertainment. IT’S FUCKING ENTERTAINMENT, NOT YOUR LIFE.

    #19 9 months ago
  20. Dragon

    Except that EA isn’t the worst company in America, it just has the army of anonymous internet keyboard warriors spilling tons of virtual ink hating EA, instead of doing something “productive”.

    #20 9 months ago
  21. Ireland Michael

    The fact that any entertainment or service company could be considered the worst company in America, when there are countless other organisations literally founded on the basis of robbing people of their homes and their money, is bloody laughable.

    People have some seriously whack priorities.

    #21 9 months ago
  22. Dragon

    ^Err, if they had priorities, they would not be wasting their time banging their heads at anonymous people on non-moderated game forums.

    Wait, what I am doing? :P

    #22 9 months ago
  23. Ireland Michael

    @22 Hahaha.

    #23 9 months ago