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Game developers are like flowers, says EA CEO

Electronic Arts has a reputation among gamers for swallowing talented game developers only to later turn them into excrement. EA CEO John Riccitiello knows it, and told Game|Life at DICE, "We at EA blew it, and to a degree I was involved in these things, so I blew it."

Developers fallen victim to EA’s previous mismanagement include the once great Origin Systems, Westwood and Bullfrog. "When I talked to the creators that populated these companies at the time, they felt like they were buried and stifled," Riccitiello said.

EA Sports is notorious for making small changes, sometimes the most significant of which is a roster update, every year to its sports games and selling them for full price. While that model may work for a select genre, it’s largely inapplicable everywhere else. EA may have figured that purchasing a developer for solely the IP would be a winning idea, but one that is now proven to fail without the adequate inspiration behind it.

"The command and conquer model," said the EA CEO, "doesn't work. If you think you're going to buy a developer and put your name on the label... you're making a profound mistake."

Such was the topic of Riccitiello’s talk at the DICE conference, informing listeners that he would put forth a "new model" of "how publishers and developers can work together in the future," hoping to avoid the mistakes of EA past.

With EA’s most recent acquisition of BioWare and Pandemic, for which the publisher paid $860 million, the company now has to makes sure it doesn’t mess with a good thing.

"Creative teams can be thought of as flowers in a hothouse -- you move the temperature up or down a few degrees and the flowers will die," Riccitiello said.

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RE: Cautiously Optimistic
By Ryanman on 2/11/2008 3:29:28 PM , Rating: 2
I don't understand how a multi BILLION dollar corporation has the WORST QA and bug fixing in the industry. The absolute worst.
I disagree with 2142 being worse than BF2. I found there to be half the amount of bugs (although, admittedly, only slightly refined gameplay)
From Black and White 2, to BF2, To Crysis, every single game I have ever played from them has been nothing more than a steaming pile of bugs. I swore off all EA games, but my idiot cousin bought me Crysis (which was only kind of fun and looks worse than any of my other games). The only way to get them to fix these things is to STOP buying madden every year and STOP allowing them to publish a game that is still terrible after being through 41 bug fix revisions.
If you have to eat and crap out a couple more star developers, I give you permission EA. Just hire more than a couple dozen monkeys to fix the bugs with your titles.

And btw I'm kidding about the developer thing, but I'll be damned if it's ignorant of them to not improve that aspect of their buisness.

RE: Cautiously Optimistic
By dflynchimp on 2/12/2008 6:07:45 PM , Rating: 2
nah, I thought Crysis looked great. And I wasn't even running it at full specs either (no way in the name of god...with my 8800GTS 320MB)

different standards, I guess, but you can't really say it looks :worse: than other games...

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