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
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

Discussion

280 comments
Stepn2myworld
Stepn2myworld

Mouthpiece is in full effect here. The examples the CEO cites is nothing but standard marketing, e.g., showing a game earlier and public betas.

Really? 

Lunchbox
Lunchbox

More evidence of their "player-first" approach: no toddlers or pools to ship with Sims 4. But don't worry, they'll be added in one of the 25 expansion packs at 30 bucks each. Way to step it up EA.

VentureGamer
VentureGamer

Is this the reason they changed their mind about taking the Fifa 12 servers offline?

infernus42
infernus42

I'm not buying this bullshit until I see new EA games on Steam.

arganvain
arganvain

this kind of mentality is called politics, namely talking about bullshit they don't even know about.

stop making games, stop doing anything for anyone, you are a bother.

-Snooze-
-Snooze-

Ea wont release games until theyre great? Then why did UFC release so barebones, glitchy, and just in general quite average?

frigidchick
frigidchick

What? Are we going to have 2nd Day DLC?

Cochleadoc
Cochleadoc

"CEO Andrew Wilson, Electronic Arts is shifting its mentality to become a more "player-first" company.  Now, give me all your money."

ArchoNils2
ArchoNils2

They should change their name to EP as in empty promises

plasmatic5
plasmatic5

So many people talking about how EA won't change despite saying they will and that's great, but...

gamers need to change too. Fed up with EA? Stop buying their bullshit games. Get your friends to stop buying their bullshit games. Stop supporting the company that you keep complaining about. Tons of gamers say "I'm never buying an EA game again" but then they go buy the next FIFA.

Gamers don't change despite saying they will.

coop36
coop36

Blah blah blah more lies and empty promises. By now they know what they can get away with and still make a profit. They cater to whatever corporate term they use for consumers that blindly buy the same regurgitated glitchy junk without doing research every year. If they screw up the Sims 4 though like they did Sim City, they might feel a little pinch. But nothing more.. people will still buy it over and over again regardless.

Darkreaper_1
Darkreaper_1

"...and instead focus on building games that people can play for months and months"

I really hope they aren't going to do this by releasing a stream of DLCs, although that's what i'm expecting them to do.

sonicblast19
sonicblast19

It is player-first,Player first pays 60 dollars and then they might make the game somewhat playable if enough players pay.

ddg4005
ddg4005

I've read this before and not just from EA.  Many other publishers and studios have made similar statements only to release a game that is full of bugs, is missing content, or Is just plain boring.  If EA's CEO is serious the first thing that needs to happen is making certain that all of their new games are feature-complete and as bug-free as possible.


Second, EA should continue releasing games on disc instead of hastening the community to an imaginary future where all content is delivered digitally (give us a choice between discs, digital media or both); it's not feasible for those with slow, or capped, Internet connections.  And third, and most important, EA needs to stop defining what gamers want to play and give us fun games we enjoy playing.  That means releasing some games without multiplayer if it's not needed; a strong single-player campaign with challenging AI is always preferred (at least by me).

meatz666
meatz666

'Since introducing these "player-first" methods'

So, what methods?

Can Eddie write an article with less-filler-more-content methods?

DarthLod
DarthLod

Overbloated Greed is EA's problem. Plain and simple. It always is with these big corporations. Stop making games for cash and instead make them for "players-first" and you MAY just redeem yourself. But, I don't see it happening.

eric_neo3
eric_neo3

We've been here before so many times EA and everytime you lie and say you'll change but you never do.


After winning the golden turd EA also said they would change, but did they? No they didn't.

REDShadowG
REDShadowG

We have a polished, awesome game! Now let's cut 50% of it and make it DLC, thus leaving the other half broken.

You don't want DRM? We hear you. That's why we'll put DRM AND Online Passes in our games.


You want a sequel of a fantastic game? You'll have it. We'll ridiculously restrict a developer's time and that game will end up being half-ass, and after that we'll shut down its developer because of incompetence.

You complain because we are ripping you off with expansions turned to full games, DLC and expansions? We hear you. That's why we'll also put some microtransactions in our games.

This is us, we put the players first.
- Electronic Arts.

liquidbutter
liquidbutter

The problem isn't that your games aren't given enough polish. Spending more time to get it done is nice but doesn't solve EA's biggest problems...

Bloodspectre
Bloodspectre

Meh. Nice sentiment and all, but it won't matter until consumers see results. Let's see how Dragon Age: Inquisition does, then go from there. 

glennvolio
glennvolio

So EA is admitting that for years they were NOT player first?  Damn...

kvan33
kvan33

Of course players should come first. You have to get them in the door first before you can turn them upside down and shake all the money out of their pockets.

foxhound_fox
foxhound_fox

Only took them the better part of a decade to realize this.

jk12324
jk12324

In the words of one famous goldfish:


IT'S A TRAP!

chris230990
chris230990

But buy the BF4 add-on pack known as hardline first please guys!

Forcecaster
Forcecaster

Sooo... if Wilson wants gamers to be part of the universe for 8-10 months, then does this mean we will see Battlefront 2 in 2016 10-12 months after the release of Battlefront?

moraala
moraala

Yet, I am skeptical and I believe that this more toward microtransaction more than ever approach to dealing with gamers for EA now. Immerse this to me mean that they want to sell you content that keep you in their game longer. If was free content to keep player in he would had said. 

Baconelite
Baconelite

I have to see it before I believe it.

BigGreenFruit
BigGreenFruit

First step - no microtransactions and free dlc for the next 5 games they release.


Okay, 2 games.

VakarianGirl
VakarianGirl

I'm apparently dyslexic, because I read this as EA becoming "First-Player", and I was dismayed.  :-P

mattcake
mattcake

As a games developer and publisher you should ALWAYS have been a player-first company. We're your damn customers.

itz_sinz
itz_sinz

They took over a year for EA Sports UFC and that turned out to be a turd : /

ecurl143
ecurl143

I saw a documentary/video diary once from an EA board room meeting and I can't seem to find it anymore but I would loved to have linked it on here for you to see.

Basically, it was a bunch of corporate bullies/developers, obviously at the top of the pile as far as job and salary was concerned and I was shocked by how bad these guys came across, swearing, bullying each other and generally, just being right wankers - honestly, it was cringe-worthy.

They have the title of worst company in the world for good reason.

ech0mode
ech0mode

Does anyone actually believe this?

EA is the worst games company in the world, money-grabbers and liars. I am seriously doubting buying any new game with their logo slapped across the front.

daikkenaurora12
daikkenaurora12

A bunch of PR and lies.  They know that they will continue to put out buggy games no matter what.

At3fD
At3fD

The company is changing to become "Player-First" ! so what ? before they were "MONEY-FIRST" + they are "building games that people can play for months and months" so basically he's saying : we're gonna release a game and then DLC DLC DLC DLC DLC and a DLC for a DLC

prime_l
prime_l

Seriously, EA goes through more phases than a teenager with identity issues and I don't buy it.

This is just stealing Sony's angle, and what have Sony down now they are back ahead? '$5 for 4 hours of game play'.

This pandering to the crowd from EA, Sony and Microsoft is starting to get a little tedious and transparent. Stop it.

samdam3
samdam3

"Players first!  So the first 3 DLC's for this unreleased game will be 10% off if you pre-order it!" - EA

Dav_id83
Dav_id83

What a load of Bulls*** how many times have they said this in the last 14 years all the way down to John Riccitiello said the same thing over and over again and yet they still took the piss and released broken games, Mercenaries 2, BF4 to name 2

robertcain
robertcain

I still call BS on this; if they're supposed to be player focused then why are they going ahead and releasing Battlefield Hardline, a game which should clearly be DLC as a full priced product? A good company thinks not only about the experience the players are getting, but also a fair financial scheme for them as well.

Excalibus
Excalibus

This is a big step in the right direction. There's no point in bitching regardless of what they do. If EA has a bad business model, we can punish them by not buying their games. If they want to move to a new and better model we should praise them for doing so, instead of holding grudges over the past. It's simple conditioning behaviour actually.

quickshooterMk2
quickshooterMk2

LIES! 

Ea treats their customers like pigs and they treat their dev team even worse 


they pimp Ea titles to origin (knowns as the devil's wh0re house) and they keep pimping their games with DLC and microtrasnactions to sqeeze every single cent of every single title 


and when the game becomes "too old" for them they shut down the online for it to save a couple of bucks per month on server maintaince... 


there is no words how much i dislike EA, they better not ruin battlefront!

warner bros already ruined lord of the rings for me and star wars titles were really bad this decade 


so if they ruin battlefront too i'll make a solemon vow to never EVER buy their games again. 

puppetmastrr
puppetmastrr

Did they just confirm Battlefront 3 will be delayed?!

Whiskey3romeo
Whiskey3romeo

@Forcecaster Dice will still be trying to fix Battlefront 10-12 months after release...with the key word being "trying".

RossRichard
RossRichard

@quickshooterMk2 EA treats their customers the way they do because through everything EA does the customers still buy their games.