They publish more games than pretty much any other company and control a humongous portion of the market.
Not saying that all of their games are great (or bad, for that matter). The individual developers that they control put out a variety of work. Some of it bland and shoddy, others fresh and fun.
However, there are several points about EA that have really irked me over the last twelve months, elements of their company that I wish they would get a hold of and sort out before I cease buying their games forever (or at least until the next Command and Conquer game comes out).
These problems vary from their persistent production of terrible games on certain platforms, to acts that seem downright evil in retrospect.
So as we welcome the new year, EA should:
Stop with the evil adverts.
Yes, you know the ones that I’m talking about.
EA has one of the worst tastes in advertising in the whole of the games industry. It’s not that the adverts are badly executed or even that the games they are advertising are particularly wrong. Rather, it is the fact that the methods they use are harmful.
For those of you who don’t know, earlier this year EA ran a campaign for Dead Space 2. The campaign involved EA posting videos on YouTube of supposed mothers and their responses to Dead Space 2. Invariably, the responses were all the same, all going along the lines of “Who would publish something terrible”, “what kind of person would let their kids play this” and “why would anyone play this for that matter?”
EA’s slogan for Dead Space 2 had become “Buy this game because your mum will hate it”.
This was made worse by the fact that the game’s age rating was 17, while this ad campaign makes it clear that EA’s target demographic was aimed squarely at kids below that age. So, EA were effectively marketing a game to an audience whom it had been deemed unsuitable to play, while basing said marketing not off of a good plot, artwork or maturity but instead the fact that their mum would dislike it.
It isn’t the first time that EA have pulled a stunt like this either. Back in 2009 they advertised Dante’s Inferno with the effective message “Christians hate this game – so you should play it!” On top of the fact that they insulted approximately 2 billion people with their campaign, EA were also representing the games industry as a whole, at least they were in the eyes of the average person.
The effect of this was to set people even further into a stance against the video games industry; just to sell a few more copies of their game.
So the first new year’s resolution I wish EA would make is to stop with the damaging advertising campaigns. If they want a decent viral ad campaign I’d much rather they conducted a campaign like an augment reality game.
At least that way they appear smart and sophisticated as opposed to base and ignorant.
After they had done this I would like them to:
End their boycott of 3D games.
OK so it’s not a boycott so much as a general statement of dislike towards 3D and I have to half agree with them on a personal level. 3D is, for the most part, impractical. Most films seem to consign themselves to adding little more than depth that is hardly perceptible. Often, films are converted into 3D afterwards just to earn those producing it more money, while not actually enhancing the quality of the film at all.
But in gaming, especially with the 3DS, 3D gaming should not be written off in an off-hand comment. When EA’s CEO John Ricotello said to the press that in moving away from 3D he would be reacting “to what customers are looking for” he instantly alienated the 14 million plus people who have bought a 3DS and aided the conviction of many towards the idea that they are justified in shunning all 3D when, in certain cases, as with the 3DS, it actually works.
Over the next year, I would love to see EA put together some brilliant 3D titles. Just because some forms of 3D don’t work doesn’t mean it all fails.
Finally, I wish EA would:
Become an electronic arts company
This is not based off any particular failing of EA currently, but more where I would like to see them (and other gaming companies) go over the next year.
I want to see EA produce more games that are art than before. Not to focus on social games and franchises through buying up companies like PopCap, but rather to be new and innovative in ways we haven’t seen before.
Furthermore, I feel that EA has an obligation to be at the forefront of this, in part because of the various ways they have annoyed me over the last year, but more because of who EA are.
You see, the reason why EA was called Electronic Arts was not just a spur of the moment naming but one that really reflected the company’s original ethos. They saw their developers as artists and the games they were producing as a form of art. As such they took every step to promote the developers as artists and games art, to the extent they even packaged their games in boxes akin to music album covers in order to convey that games were art in the same way that music was.
Ultimately, this year I would love to see EA return to its roots. To once again become the company that it once was. To promote artistic endeavour as opposed to immature content and to provide games that are art, not shoddy money spinners.
Unfortunately, I fear that EA may have fallen too far for that to ever be possible, but hey, it’s a new year. Anything could happen.