EA CEO Says Company Is Changing to Become "Player-First"

The company won't release a game unless it's "great," even if it takes more time than anticipated to get there.

Under the new direction of CEO Andrew Wilson, Electronic Arts is shifting its mentality to become a more "player-first" company. Speaking with Bloomberg about his first nine months on the job and what he wants to achieve going forward, Wilson acknowledged that EA hasn't always been seen in the best light, and said it's his job to change that.

"In all honesty, as I came into the role, there was this sense in the marketplace that maybe we weren't doing all that we could for the player," Wilson said. "And my objective number one was to really re-instill a player-first mentality; a player-first culture inside the organization."

"In all honesty, as I came into the role, there was this sense in the marketplace that maybe we weren't doing all that we could for the player" -- Andrew Wilson

Wilson said EA can become a more "player-first" company in a number of ways, one of which is showing games earlier, like the company did at E3 with BioWare's next Mass Effect and new IP. Another way to do so is releasing public betas earlier in the development process, which the company also did with Battlefield Hardline, currently in beta on PC and PS4 ahead of its full release on October 21.

Further still, Wilson pointed out that EA's decision to not release a new Need for Speed game in 2014--making this year the first in over a decade without a new game--is a testament to EA's new "player-first" mentality. The company won't release a game unless it's "great," he said, even if it takes more time than anticipated to get there.

Since introducing these "player-first" methods, Wilson says fans are already responding. "The feedback from the gaming community has been really positive," he said.

Also in the interview, Wilson revealed a broader EA strategy where the company will now move away from one-off releases, and instead focus on building games that people can play for months and months.

"I want to move us away from just a straight hit-driven business," Wilson said. "I want to move us into the live services business. If you think about Star Wars, I don't want them to come in and play a Star Wars game two weeks or three weeks or four weeks, I want them to come in and be part of a universe, immersed in an interactive experience they play for six months, eight months, ten months."

"Our objective is not to give you these small, discrete experiences, but to deliver you an experience you can play across platforms from the minute you get up in the morning to the minute you go to bed at night," he added.

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
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Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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