EA’s Five Tips For The Next Three Years, If You Want To Make Games And Money

EA’s Five Tips For The Next Three Years, If You Want To Make Games And Money

Times are tough in gaming these days, for the people making what we play. That’s a common theme at the DICE Summit, as studio shutdowns and declining sales have darkened the mood here. But EA today offered some survival tips.

Recognise the stakes, before you read on. The EA man talking this morning at DICE, chief operating officer John Schappert, certainly make it sound tough to be a video game publisher. Talking about game sales rankings, he said: “If you’re not in the top 30, arguably the top 20 you could even say the top 10, you’re probably not making money.”

OK. So, how to survive, according to EA? Five suggestions from Schappert:

1) A commitment to quality: People read blogs, Schappert said (properly displaying several logos including that of Kotaku), so consumers know what’s good and follow that. EA believes that its FIFA series fell behind Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer because EA lost sight of quality – and believes FIFA achieved its recent comeback for regaining the quality lead.

2) Get more from your marketing: Schappert’s slide entitled “Marketing can’t sell questionable games” showed EA’s Catwoman and Goldeneye: Rogue Agent, two bad games from a few years back. He said that, a decade ago, you could get away with convincing gamers a bad game was good through effective marketing. Not anymore, because of point number one. Marketing, however, is still important, maybe more so. “Some games deserve more” was the next slide, which showed Mirror’s Edge and Dead Space. Schappert said EA “could have done better” marketing those games. He pointed to Dante’s Inferno’s Super Bowl commercial last month as a sign of EA’s improved marketing commitment.

3) Invest in the future – get online: Schappert called online gaming the new platform of this gaming cycle. “People are buying fewer games now but want to play those games longer,” he said, arguing that publishers need to take advantage of online-connected consoles to extend the life of a game. EA’s aggressive plans with downloadable content, promising DLC for all of its games, is surely a part of that.

4) Don’t abandon your consumer base: He argued that disc-based games are not going extinct any time soon. “Don’t forget the shiny disc.” In other words, Facebook gaming, online gaming, and other non-physical gaming is not the whole future.

5) Illegitimi Non Carborundum: Translated from Latin, according to Schappert is “Don’t let the cynics get you down.”

Schappert’s speech was supposed to be the pick-me-up. Of course, it also essentially articulated EA’s current strategy. Will it work? Well, it’s hard to imagine that whoever does survive this rough patch not saying that most or all of those five tips – the disc idea is the most debatable – are the ideas that helped them get through it.


  • Hmm, I was thinking the disc idea was probably the least debateable. There’s an intangible benefit to having a tangible product and that’s the reenforcement of the sense of ownership. When you can hold something in your hand, feel its texture and touch it inappropriately (if you’re into that sort of thing), it cements the feeling better than a purely digital product ever could.

    I OWN my PC copies of Operation Flashpoint, FEAR and GTA3 that I bought on disc years ago. I OWN my 360/PS3 copies of The Sabotuer, Mass Effect & GTA4 that I bought recently.

    I feel like I don’t really own my copies of Star Trek Online, Overlord 2 and Star Wars Republic Commandos that I’ve purchased on Steam. Part of this is from the lack of a physical product and part is due to the uncertainty of the steam business model. They’ve promised to release a 100% offline patch in the event of a business collapse but this isn’t the same as having it independantly verified and I’ve never heard mention of non-valve games being included so I expect them to conveniently patch only the valve games and put the onus for the rest on the publishers who don’t give a fuck after they’ve got our money. I’m also rather concerned about my copy of Dawn Of War 2, even thought its phyisical it still requires steam so I’m not entirely sure that I own that either. The point being that there is restriction and uncertainty even after payment, hence I feel like I’ve subscribed to a service rather than bought a game.

    The only digital distribution site I buy from where it feels like I genuinely OWN the end product is GOG.com because of the self contained installer with no restrictions on use. Also the fact they’re really cheap suits my rather pathetic budget.

    • If you want to be all legal-like, you never own any of the games you buy. You’re purchasing a license to use the software. The only thing you actually -own- is the disk that the data comes on and whatever manuals and other assorted bits that come with it.

  • Um…Goldeneye – Rogue Agent was awesome.
    Ok maybe not everyone agrees but I spent a lot of time in my youth playing that game.
    The multiplayer was great, just my brother and myself would play (sometimes a cousin or two would join in if they were over) and even with us two screen hacking and whatnot, it was so fun.
    Not so much when my brother takes a potshot and headshots me with the pistol you start with.
    Best gun was the one that sticks the sticky flashing red ball of doom, even if you get killed, if you manage stick someone with it beforehand, they’re dead.
    We’d try to commit suicide so the other person didn’t get the kill, knowing that doing that didn’t make things any different.

    Sigh, good times.

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