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A Cheeky Peak at Success: EA

Cheeky Employee

 

Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) is an American video game company which is, as of September 2017 the second largest gaming company in the Western World, beating down its competitors by revenue and market capitalization.  Responsible for titles such as The Sims, Need for Speed, Battlefield and Plants vs Zombies, EA has done a lot since their founding on the 28th of May 1982.  Critics have been harsh during the company’s lowest points, but EA still remains a successful business with a bright future in the ever-growing gaming industry.

After being elected the worst company in America in 2012 and 2013, let’s have a look at how EA bounced back, shall we?  It is truly remarkable that such a leap could be made in only four short years.

 

What went wrong?

So after a couple of lawsuits regarding mistreating the art of game development (by buying popular franchises just to kill them off by releasing a crappy sequel) and overworking employees (a 7-day 9am-10pm workweek is a bit much, wouldn’t you say?) EA was finally voted the worst company in America by The Consumerist.  They were given this honorary title for many reasons, chief amongst them being their greed.  They continued to deliver sub-par games while increasing prices and micro-transactions in games.

Micro-transactions refer to payments consumers have to make to unlock special content within a game.  Now, they had not been the first to use micro-transactions, but the use of them in paid games for content that had been advertised as part of the product became a real problem.  Dead Space 3 received decent reviews, but with $51 (about R700) worth of micro-transactions, the fans were not impressed.

EA - Dead Space

After having issues with releasing broken games, not delivering on what had been advertised and the incessant greedy tricks, EA was still making money.  The only issue was that the fans hated them.  Interesting problem to have, isn’t it?

 

How did they fix it?

EA Andrew Wilson

Andrew Wilson was appointed the new CEO of EA in September 2013 and immediately tackled their PR problems.  Along the way, Wilson built up EA into the company that outplayed most competitors in 2017.

  • ‘Think Players First’ became EA’s new motto and when arguments about designs or concepts would arise between the clashing egos of artists, writers and programmers these words would silence the room after Andrew Wilson had made it law.
  • Communication was key.  Wilson moved the desks of customer services and game developers together and forced them to ‘hold hands’ and while they work.  This way the feedback EA was constantly receiving from upset gamers was really getting through to the development teams.
  • Rather late than broken.  Wilson put a stop to EA’s previous policies of keeping to launch deadlines even if the games were still buggy or incomplete.  He ensured that all Games would be up to his standard before launch.
  • Interested Employees were the goal of another of Wilson’s plans to renew the vigour of EA Games.  He had his staff form ‘guilds’ to discuss their futures, their careers and what excited them about creating video games with the company so aptly named Electronic Arts.

 

EA games had sunken low and pulled itself back up again.  There are a million reasons why a company can fail, but only a few ways to pick it back up again.  These tips are easily applicable to most companies, so I am sure you can use them to achieve success.

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