Remember EA boasted that last year it put out 15 games getting 80 or better on Metacritic? Guess that's no longer an operative statement. A senior exec told investors "We didn't make hits" last year.
John Pleasants, EA's chief operating officer, told a Goldman Sachs conference last week the company's plans for success last year were built on assumptions that games like Dead Space and Mirror's Edge would be blockbusters. They weren't.
"The biggest thing was that we didn't make hits," Pleasants said, although many of its games were profitable (including those two.) The way to make hits? Marketing, not development, apparently.
Marketing is "one line item on our P&L that's increasing. We're reducing on other items, but we have titles that we want to have hit," Pleasants said. Looking back at the past three years, they figured they weren't spending enough, or spending at the right times, to get good games into hit status.
"The game-development process has evolved, so the marketing should as well," Pleasants said, meaning more focus on Web marketing. "It's less about 'We have an idea, we go away for 24 months and spend $30 million working on a game, then put a little buzz out there and hope it works.' We need to have a dialogue with the audience, take a longer lead time and make sure we have the right mix of digital and traditional."
EA COO: 'The Biggest Thing Was That We Didn't Make Hits' In 2008 [PaidContent.org via CVG]