EA Gave Outgoing Exec Patrick Soderlund A $20 Million Bonus And Here's Why

The publisher really wanted Soderlund to stay.

53 Comments
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One of publishing giant EA's top executives, Patrick Soderlund, is leaving the company in October. It's unclear why he's going, but it appears EA really wanted him to stay. Back in June, EA disclosed in a government filing with the SEC that it paid Soderlund a $20 million bonus for the purpose of supporting the "longer-term retention of Mr. Soderlund."

As spotted by Kotaku, the bonus was paid in the form of stock awards, and it was approved by EA's Compensation Committee. In addition to encouraging him to stick around, the bonus was meant to reflect Soderlund's "key role in leading our worldwide studios, following the completion of a record fiscal 2017 and in particular, the highly acclaimed success of the Battlefield 1 game."

As EA's chief design officer, Soderlund was creatively involved in "all of EA's game development," which included marketing campaigns and "technology innovations."

But as mentioned, likely the biggest reason for the $20 million bonus was to encourage Soderlund to stay at EA instead of leaving and potentially joining a competitor. In its filing, EA said Soderlund is a "highly desirable candidate" for executive-level positions at other companies in gaming and across the entire interactive entertainment field.

It was also confirmed in the SEC filing that Soderlund's salary for fiscal 2018 (that being April 2017 through March 2018) was $821,539, which was a 28 percent increase from the previous year. Soderlund's employment agreement also netted him $46.2 million in stock-based awards for the fiscal year. Combined with other forms of compensation, Soderlund's total pay package for the fiscal year was more than $48 million, which is higher than all the other executives at EA including CEO Andrew Wilson.

Whether or not Soderlund gets to keep all of his equity awards is unclear, as that could depend on the terms of the employment agreement he had with EA.

It is not immediately clear who will replace Soderlund as EA chief design officer. Also unknown is what Soderlund may do next. He had been with EA since 2000.

Writing on LinkedIn, Soderlund teased that he plans to stay in gaming in some capacity. "While I'm not yet ready to spill the beans on what's next for me, rest assured that I'm not done with gaming," he said.

Soderlund's last day at EA will be October 30, which is a few weeks after Battlefield V launches.

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Flyin3lvl

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oh fair enough

when i wanna make money i have to wait for one of those spam links to show up around here --------> i made no much money in an hour!!!!!

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nurnberg

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A real joke! These overated executives get these huge payouts just because they have the right connections and are friend with the right people. They get control of the money in corporations and give it to themselves, at the expense of the workers. It's just exploitation.

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Mahigan

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That's not what likely happened. Back in June, Soderlund had attacked the majority of fans of the Battlefield V franchise. Back then, the sales figures hadn't started coming in. As a backlash to those comments, a heck of a lot of fans boycotted the game. Now the preorders sales are incredibly low so he had to go.

He messed up. He told people not to buy the game and so they didn't.

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Jodomar

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Edited By Jodomar

It's all about those stock options and **** this guy for ruining BFV and Battlefront 2.

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Slash_out

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Being evil pays off.

Guess this is why games can't be sold "just" for 60$ and they needs to nickel and dime us, trick us, and brainwash us into spending more.

Got to fill those fat wallets.

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EdwardNygma

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I love those idiots who say "Season passes and lootboxes are because you can't make the full game at $60." No, THIS is why they try to rob you of your game with that garbage.

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Pupchu

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"Money for nothing"

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cboye18

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Jesus maybe I should sign up and join the villains instead.

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Runeweaver

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Edited By Runeweaver

What goes around comes around.

Biggest rip off merchants EA get ripped off by one of their execs.

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BAKGRIND

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I wouldn't be to surprised to find out that he left for Bethesda. Of course if I was in his shoes with that kind of cash I would totally be satisfied with doing absolutely nothing.

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PETERAKO

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Edited By PETERAKO

overbloated marketing and fat executive paychecks. This is what EA is all about. All their games are made around that and it is noticeable.

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Jodomar

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@PETERAKO: Yet we still buy their products, and they still make tons of cash.

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Chrono99

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Edited By Chrono99

What did EA expect? They gave him financial freedom. They gave him skyhigh stacks and he left. I would leave to. Go find some nice quiet area to live the rest of my life with my family. They should have made a contract if they wanted to keep him.

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Thanatos2k

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Ah yes, the moral caliber of EA execs.

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BonesInc

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Edited By BonesInc

Now just get rid of Andrew Wilson, and get somebody in their that is willing to make Skate 4, a new SSX, NBA/NFL Street, Def Jam, Dead Space, Mirrors Edge, Time Splitters and Battlefield 2143.

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Good_Coop89

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@bonesinc: TimeSplitters is now owned by THQ Nordic, and they have a studio actually making a new one.

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deactivated-5c56012aaa167

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@bonesinc: Time Splitters is not their ip.(It's in the hands of Crytech)

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Thanatos2k

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@bonesinc: They already made a new Mirror's Edge, it wasn't very good.

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DaShaka

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Edited By DaShaka

@Thanatos2k IMO it was good, just not as good as the first.

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Thanatos2k

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Edited By Thanatos2k

@dashaka: The first one wasn't that good either.......

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Javelin10

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Imagine if EA spent 20 mil to get a moral compass. That would be like a guy giving interviews on gaming websites about how EA is now a changed company, selling the rebranded EA image to gamers. But that whole moral compass interview will never happen... right?... guys? hello?

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Nabinator

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Edited By Nabinator

$20 million bonus? Holy hell. Their developers working 100+ hours a week at $50-60k must be furious

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Jodomar

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@nabinator: That's the difference between someone who executes on their own ideas and people who do want to take the risk/negatives that go along with ruining your own business. Nothing wrong with either one, both are needed just you make way more when your signing the front of the check and not the back. It's all about the risks and challenges you are/not willing to take.

When it comes to companies publicly traded ones are always the worse when it comes to their products/services/customer service. They always look for something to cut, whether its payroll/maintenance/overall product quality. If you want something good, chances are its going to be from a privately held company.

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Nabinator

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Edited By Nabinator

@jodomar: Yeah, look, I mean I get how the corporate world works and that this isn't particularly uncommon. But geez, once you step back and see the bigger picture, there's such a drastic imbalance. And especially since we're talking about the video game industry, where we know companies like EA are actively trying to screw their consumers out of every penny (microtransactions upon microtransactions). The money's flowing straight to the top. They'd better put their budget towards making better games rather than giving each other massive payouts.

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James_xeno

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Edited By James_xeno

@nabinator:

Yup.. and just think about it.. this/these people are the ones who call the shots.. Ruin, close and **** with devs.. DRM. Force all the online-always, everything must have online mode, microtransactions in EVERYTHING, games as a service and cloud crap etc.. They Kill (lucky) games and force nonsensical changes to and dumbing down of others. Focus group logic. DRM. The people who do so much damage, get paid enough to develop a lower budget (A-AA) game per year. (i.e the kind of games they wont make)

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poe13

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@James_xeno: Yeah it sucks, but from a business perspective, its ingenious. All this hate towards EA and it is well deserved, but so many fucking idiots keep on buying FIFA, Madden, Battlefield and forking over money towards them with season passes and loot boxes....honestly, its easy money for these suits. Not really liking this future of gaming.

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BonesInc

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@James_xeno: EA dosen't use DRM, that's Ubisoft.

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Nabinator

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@bonesinc: Er, that's debatable. EA uses Origin exclusively for their newer games now.

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Caj1986

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But games cost money? 60$is too cheap for single player games right? Tell that to EA. THIS is what they being doing with all ur so called extra(dlc, season passes, loot boxes, microtransactions, etc) MONEY. And AAA co say piracy kills the earnings

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IIONNICC

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This is a perfect example why everyone should boycott EA and stop buying their games. I stopped 7 years ago. The gaming industry is totally over-saturated as it is.

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deactivated-5c746fddbe486

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@iionnicc: Stop buying EA games, Yeah Right Battlefield V and Fifa 19 day one and I can’t wait for Anthem

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ThePlantain

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@tibua: Buy them used.

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Shantmaster_K

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@iionnicc: You've been missing out. I do boycott some games though depending on how greedy they get. Star Wars: Battlefront 2 for example.

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BonesInc

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@iionnicc: ummm no, I like their games, and I dont get offended over business practices like the rest of you.

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Barighm

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EA got EA'ed.

I'm just glad the best troll ever was against EA.

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DEVILTAZ35

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@Barighm:
They would make that back in 5 mins so they wouldn't care.

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gamingdevil800

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Ahaha sounds like a very EA thing to do, he took EA's lessons to heart took the money and ran.

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BigFeef

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"But, but; EA needs to use lootboxes and other microtransactions to make money. The cost of making a AAA game is astronomical!"

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gamingdevil800

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@BigFeef: The boohoo argument about video games not making enough in profits to fund development is a pure fantasy made up to warrant micro transactions. Even some of the worst video games out there make more than Hollywood movies on bigger budgets.

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BigFeef

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Edited By BigFeef

@gamingdevil800: Exactly. And actions like this one: giving huge multi-million dollar bonuses to their execs annually; just proves that point. But gamers as a group are some of the most gullible consumers around; so they keep getting away with their bullshit.

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Cikatriz_ESP

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@BigFeef: “But gamers as a group are some of the most gullible consumers around”

Based on what, exactly?

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Caj1986

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@Cikatriz_ESP: i constantly hear the same shit, oh games cost money & are difficult to make. Baq in the 90s we could agree. Hardware limitations, cost of hardware, limited space, expensive to manafacture certain gaming comodities like cartridges, lack of softwares, one had to design their own game engine, complex programming, limited internet connectivity around the globe & features, etc. Nowadays we gt almost unlimited space, server capabilities, better hardware, gaming tools, variety of game engines from unreal, dunia to cryengine, faster cpu&gpu. Back in those days designing the games was a challenge. Please explain to. Me what hurdles the designers have to face, when they have muxh better capabilities than the 90s yet they cry like corporates have no money when their onli aim is to get richer & richer by screwing gamers with their malpractices

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BigFeef

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@Cikatriz_ESP:

Really?

OK; I'll humour you... How about people, not a small group either, actually defending/rationalizing/supporting one of the most egregious cases of microtransactions in a videogame that wasn't 'free' to play: Star Wars Battlefront 2. Then there's the fact that a significant portion of gamers actually defend/rationalize/support loot boxes in their games, both paid and 'free', because they're actually spending a lot of money on them. And how about the fact that some large publishers like EA, Activision, and Take Two can brag year after year about the huge amounts they rake in annually just on microtransactions. Heck; just look at what EA raked in on FIFA Ultimate Team microtransactions alone.

If that's not proof enough for you; then I don't know...

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Barighm

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@BigFeef: It actually can be cost prohibitive to make a big AAA title, but we're talking mismanagement and wild spending for quick as possible development. The kind of thing where they hire like 500 people around the world to get the game done in a couple years, then blow another $100 million on marketing sort of thing.

So...yeah, it can be crazy expensive, but it really doesn't have to be.

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BassMan

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Edited By BassMan

He is a good con artist. Walked away with another $20 million. Skills.

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Wraith3

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Everyone who went ahead and bought Battlefront 2 paid this guy's bonus.

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DEVILTAZ35

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@Wraith3: Pity it sucked

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Ant_17

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Lol, just lol.

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