After worse than expected quarterly financial results, and poor market reception to its original intellectual property (IP) such as Dead Space, Mirror’s Edge and Br??tal Legend, EA has revealed their future strategic plans, and it doesn’t look good for original, innovative content.
In the wake of the announcement that EA is to cut 1500 jobs across all of it studios, and the revelation that nearly a dozen, unannounced titles currently in development at the publisher had been cancelled, EA CEO John Riccitiello has pointed the way forward for the company:
“Electronic Arts has a core slate of games label and sports franchises that we will iterate on a either annual or bi-annual basis,” said Riccitiello. “And I think you know what those major titles are ‒ all of them are selling or have sold in their most recent edition 2m units or more.
“After that, we’ve got The Sims and Hasbro, and frankly anything that doesn’t measure up to looking like it can pencil out to be in very high profit contributor and high unit seller got cut from our title slate from this point going forward.”
This could mean that EA will return to its old ways of exploiting key franchises with very little original IP to back it up. Good for fans of Battlefield, Madden, Fifa, The Sims and Need For Speed, but bad for fans expecting a follow-up to Mirror’s Edge, or future entries to the Dead Space series, depending on market performance.
This new strategy goes hand-in-hand with EA’s intention to rapidly move into the online and social gaming space, as the acquisition of Playfish readily shows, and the companies’ joint commitment to bringing EA’s franchises to the online arena.
It seems a lot has changed since early this year, when Riccitiello made the following comments:
“… I also believe that there is no inherent conflict between great creativity and achieving strong profitability ‒ I believe they go hand in hand.
“This is a business and much of our success will be measured with a calculator ‒ sales, revenue, profit and improving shareholder value. There is also a qualitative aspect of our industry.
“Making games we can be proud of. Pushing boundaries. I believe the quantitative and the qualitative measures go well together.”
Say it ain’t so, Riccitiello.