The Gist - Is EA's "Player-First" Culture Off To A Good Start?

EA are three months into their “player-first” declaration. Are they on their way to winning gamers back, or do they still have their work cut out for them?

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Avatar image for mauroaugusto

The Sims 4 is an insult to gaming, I will not even say why but only this... EA published games are slowly becoming a pay-to-play bs and I won't buy anything more from them since I've finally learned the lesson.

Avatar image for topgun182

The Sims 4 was developed under EA's Money First approach. Let's update one of the most popular games in history by stripping it down so that we can still squeeze the last few coins out of said popular game (The Sims 3) and alienating more of our "Fan" base. Then we can use the same formula of milking them with expansions that now include what the last game came with. When your 3rd generation game is still more fun to play than your 4th generation game, and you try to rationalize it with a lame excuse, you just might lose a fan or two million.

Avatar image for vanti

@topgun182 The same was said, and rightly so, about The Sims 3 and also about The Sims 2. The Sims 4 just continues the tradition of selling you the same game as before minus the additional content you've grown accustomed to just to sell that back to you again at a later date for greater profit. The Sims 4 seems to be taking it just one step further and actually including less than the previous version did even without any added content.

Avatar image for csthomas888

The number of EA shills that flocked here is impressive. To clarify I'm not impressed when fan-boys and shills flock to defend their indefensible obsessions. I'm impressed there are still so many after being abused sooo many times over sooo many years I would expect them to just say f*** this and bash EA along with every other reasonable person. It's not just following the crowd to bash EA.

THEY HAVE NO DEFENSIBLE POSITION! NONE! There is literally no reasonable justification for their business practices. The worst so far being debatable, but Sims 4 is an easy one for people to grasp. This is the exact behavior you see out of domestic abuse victims, and it blows my mind how brilliant EA was to find a way to transfer this into a legal business practice. Because as we know... They always come back.

Avatar image for hansbeej

What can EA do? Simple, the same things that many beloved companies do. Develop products that are clearly designed to entertain and reward players, not fleece them. Release quality, finished games with serviceable supporting services. Own up to mistakes and criticisms and make good on fixes. And finally, consider player good-will efforts like minimizing or eliminating unpopular things like DRM and nickle-and-dime DLC - even consider publishing their entire catalog on Steam rather than trying to drive PC users to the vastly inferior Origin.

Avatar image for mattcake

I think they really shouldn't advertise the fact they didn't have a "player first" culture in the first place. Just make better games and shut up and everything else happens naturally.

Avatar image for amar1234

@mattcake Nah thats not how the world works unfortunately . EA's reputation was so bad and so tarnished if they wanted to change they had no choice to first admit their mistakes.

Avatar image for rhymesmatter

hahahahahah it's soooooo funny! You see the way somebody would understand why Comcast claimed the title from EA is if you ACTUALLY live in USA! Still even i , born and bred in EU, know how much of duche company Comcast is (from the various american mates that i have)! So... WELL done EA! Well done for not managing to beat Comcast in America but don't worry; In our hearts you will always have the first place as WORST COMPANY OF ALL TIME

Avatar image for Sevenizz

EA is by far not the 'worst company in America'. Not by a long shot and not while companies like Walmart exist. Gamers are the most entitled and vocal market out there. So a game has a glitch or two at launch. Most games do - but they get fixed and EA has done just that. That proves feedback works.

Avatar image for Martyr77

@Sevenizz EA is not the worst company but they are in the realm of video games. They rip out content of their games to try to sell to you, don't finish a lot of their games, try to impose control over your game with DRM, online for games that didn't need it (Sim City), buy off the competition and then ruin the company, and on and on. They are awful.

Avatar image for Sevenizz

Meanwhile - about a quarter of your collection consists of EA published games. And if you deny that - you're a liar.

It's easy to beat up on the Goliath while everyone in the industry follows their model.

Avatar image for csthomas888

@Sevenizz Wow... Walmart is so much of a better company than EA. The gap between them is virtually immeasurable. So there it is... The stupidest f***ing thing I'll read all day.

Avatar image for Sevenizz

Do people regularly call you stupid?

Honest question.

Avatar image for csthomas888

@Sevenizz Ha! based on what? Your disagreement with me, makes me by default a stupid person in the eyes of people around me? I have an idea. Tell me your argument as to why you believe Walmart is so terrible when contrasted with EA, and I'll attempt to make the opposite argument. You see I entertain the notion that I may be wrong. So I really want you to try and convince me here. Bring me over to your way of thinking, or just ask me stupid questions as to what people think of me. The answer by the way is: No, not to my face at anyways, maybe to others. I wouldn't know. Anyways here we go hit me with your best argument.

Avatar image for Sevenizz

Oh, I dunno. Walmart taking out life insurance policies on employees for profit and naming it 'peasant insurance'. Abusing human rights, the environment, and using child labor in third world countries to make their goods. Paying their employees a less than fair wage so that they're forced to go on government assistance just to survive. Killing the small business by undercutting prices at a loss and then jacking up the price once they forced a shutdown of the competition.

Yea, Walmart is totally better than EA that does none of these things.

Avatar image for csthomas888

@Sevenizz Okay lest examine this bit by bit. The life insurance policies sound insensitive, but is just good business. It is mainly done for tax deductions, and the employer must get the employees consent. The most important thing to take away from this is no one is hurt by it. No one is a victim. So how does this make them a bad company when there is no one harmed in any manner. Is it simply because they profited a few times from a death? So do funeral homes and graveyards.

Abusing human rights? Could you expand on that or are your two following points that expansion? If so... I'll get to that right now.

Abusing the environment? Again expand on that. If you mean their factories gtfo. Go ahead, let’s get rid of all factories. Let’s see how much our lives improve then. American factories in third world countries are the best thing for children there. Ask missionaries who have been to these areas they will tell you how much better these places are then the factories that are native to those countries. It's not ideal, but the families of these children would be much worse off without them.

"Paying their employees a less than fair wage"... No one is forcing them to be there. They can quit and get better jobs if they are not content with their wages. Walmart pays an average of $8.81 per hour. That's as good as a no skill job can get. Also Walmart was never meant to be a career choice. Anyone who thought Walmart is a job to raise a family on comfortably is retarded. On that note I have two more points. ANYONE can do Walmart jobs. For god sakes they hire the mentally handicapped! (bless them) Supply and demand applies to the global workforce as well. If 90% of the population can do a job it should not pay more than minimum wage. I hope you were not trying to make the argument that EA pays it's employees better.... While this is true it's because the skill difference is insultingly large to game designers compared to shelf stockers or greeters.

All of that being said. You can easily live on minimum wage. People in America have redefined the word live lately. They would have money for food if they didn't spend their money on things like $90 a month on their cell phone bill. $65 a month on their internet. Not to mention the money they spend going out. (Don’t try and argue that they don’t do any of these things. You will literally lose all credibility)

If you’re one of those people who believe that Walmart should pay all their employees $15 an hour let me know in your response, and I’ll show you the math as to why that is a terrible idea. To your next point of “Killing the small business by undercutting prices at a loss and then jacking up the price once they forced a shutdown of the competition.” Their bad for offering products at lower prices than the competition? I thought that’s how business worked. Offer the same product/service for lowest possible price. Whoever gets the lowest wins. Also I assure you whatever product they jacked the price up on was still cheaper than the competitions price before going under.

Honestly man you don’t seem to be a stupid person at first glance, so my advice: Do not let someone as stupid as Michael Moore do your thinking for you.

Avatar image for Sevenizz

Ugh, republicans. Sometimes you forget you share a planet with these tools.

Michael Moore is a hero. You are a greedy letch who's mostly wrong - on every point you attempted to make. I hope you make more than 1 million dollars a year. Otherwise, being a middle class or lower republican is just stupid and self damning.

Avatar image for csthomas888

@Sevenizz Soooo... Your rebuttal is "Ugh, republicans"? Well I guess that is easier than attacking my argument. Micheal Moore a "hero" Hahaha! Hero - 1. amanofdistinguishedcourageorability,admiredforhisbravedeeds andnoble

qualities. What did he do that was brave or noble? The man made his films so he could escape Flint, MI. Once he made his millions he went and got himself an illegally armed body guard (hero pffftt), and a few mansions.

You tell me I'm "mostly wrong - on every point I attempted to make.", but don't say where or how I'm mistaken. Is that because it's easier to just say "You're wrong, I'm right" rather than refute my argument? For so short a comment you make a lot of factual mistakes. I'm not a republican. Micheal Moore is not a hero LOL (at least not by the definition of the word). Greedy letch Really? Based on what? That I believe businesses should compete for our business, and if they don't hurt anyone, they should be free to do what they want (Liberty?).

I make Waaaay less than 1 million dollars a year. Many republicans make less that that as well. My views nor theirs have proved to be "damning" to me nor them at any point in time. The only thing I may have been mistaken about is the statement that you don't seem to be stupid. Anyone who: stands up for EA, worships Micheal Moore, and has a profile picture with an Xbox One, proves that wrong quite convincingly.

Avatar image for Martyr77

@Sevenizz So not only are you an X bone fanboy but your idiocy extends to politics as well? Man...........

Avatar image for Revenant_K

Who care? DAI and many other EA's games will sell millions regardless of actual product values. For one person who stop buying EA products ten more are willing to open their pockets, "winning games back" is just an understatement.

Avatar image for dmblum1799

I worked with an EA offshoot in the mid 90s that went under. They were like these middle aged guys who wanted to make money (that's what companies do). The programmers were all younger guys.

It's easy to get fat and happy if ;you have a monopoly or a relative one like FIFA, Madden, etc. Saudi Arabia is a very unproductive country but they're awash in cash because they happen to sit on a ton of oil reserves.

I have no time for gamers who whine about EA. Don't buy their products and shut up. The whining does nothing if FIFA sells a gazillion copies.

Avatar image for amar1234

@dmblum1799 EA is just a publisher....they have bought up many games developers that we all love so you should shut up, telling us to not but their games when in fact we have no choice. You realize its not actually EA making these games....? They are just ruining them ....

Avatar image for homelessgamer

@dmblum1799 I don't buy EA games and I will still whine because what they do affect the entire industry.

Avatar image for dmblum1799


You're just shouting into the wind. If you want better games network and get some tech people, some producers and open your own company. You're probably gonna lose money even if you make a good game. But you're not gonna beat economies of scale like EA.

Avatar image for homelessgamer

That was my point.

Avatar image for jts1891

This is amusing. People need to realize that EA never lost gamers. Sure, the vocal minority who make themselves known in forums and comment sections despite EA, but the vast majority of gamers couldn't care less.

Avatar image for lfebaggins

I don't think anyones even noticed a culture shift, so no, its not off to a good start. EA still sucks.

Avatar image for deactivated-58e3156c76d0d

My only issue with the Sim 4 was the cost. It just wasn't worth $80. It's a $30 game at most, and that's after taxes.

EA needs to ditch origin and move back to supporting Steam. They had plenty of real estate (and still do).

Avatar image for Nyukn

@bc2999 why?

honestly said origin is better than steam. at least i can buy a game and give it back to them when i don't like it. steam support is non-existent. people should stop their fanboyism over steam, there is not much good about it. you get sold scams like "towns", "starforge" and many more and steam doesn't give a crap about it.

Avatar image for SpLiTMaN

There not doing much origin is still there...

Avatar image for daBrokenFace

Being able to play a demo/beta will not make people like EA, I doubt EA will listen to the feedback anyways.

Avatar image for JRHT

I have to disagree with one sentiment that Jess presented, being that the games released by EA just after they'd announced their player first culture shouldn't be harshly judged as they were in development long before the culture shift.

If EA was serious about releasing quality games that put players first, wouldn't they have pushed back the release date of these games to make sure they had indeed put the player first?

Surely this would help alleviate the problems that exist with both Sims 4 and NHL in they're missing a number of features present in previous iterations of the game that haven't been replaced with features or equal or greater value?

Avatar image for theotherjeff

@JRHT I would agree with you, except at the announcement he stated they had already delayed a game (NFS) and they had started doing larger betas (BF:Hardline) in order to satisfy the "player first" criteria, which he was talking about.

So they were either implementing it on a case by case, or they thought Sims 4 and NHL were fine without what a fair number of people obviously think of as standard features. Either way it's not a great start. That said, I'd be quite happy if it was teething trouble and EA pulls it together going forward.

Avatar image for deactivated-58e3156c76d0d

@JRHT I don't mind so much that they are missing features, my issue is that they expect people to pay equal or greater sums of money from the previous version (Sims Version 3.20 [Or however many DLC there are) and NHL Ver. 2.0.13).

If you are going to take away features or add tons of DLC after the fact, then we deserve the base game price drops significantly.

Avatar image for pizzaboyuk

Prior to this "players first" thing, EA never bothered me. Dlc never appealed to me or I always waited for a gold edition, I always felt by the time I finished a game I usually had enough of what the game had to offer regardless of whether I bothered with every collectable or whatever.

The sims4 and some of EA's sport franchises this year have changed my mind - this is BS! Really hope they don't mess Dragon Age.

Avatar image for csthomas888

@pizzaboyuk I'm afraid we'll both be disappointing my friend.

Avatar image for DefconRave

"EA" and "player first" do not belong in the same sentence.

Avatar image for darthvandersag

Does this look like anything but a PR stunt? Not to me. I'm willing to be proven wrong. Although, I did get Battlefield 3 on origin when it was free so that was cool.

Avatar image for Klyern

@darthvandersag its nothing but a PR stunt bro, they arent fooling anyone you dont need to ask. Look at the latest sims game, it has absolutely no content, there are only a couple of items per furniture type etc, and they started a gift promotion where you get a gift for every other sims game you bought or buy, plus one exclusively for everyone who has EVERY SINGLE sims title, that and given that there are what appear to be day 1 dlc, and well.... yeah, woke up today and EA is still EA, "nothing to see here" *flyes off meme*

Avatar image for amdreallyfast

I think that we gamers have felt hit hard by EAs business practices in the past, so it is difficult for us to see the light at the end of the tunnel so soon. It was (and still is) considered a death knell for an IP when a dev "proudly" announced that EA would be publishing them, and such practices will not be forgotten. They can move on to better practices, but some things can't be forgotten. Like C&C Generals (ugh).

Even so, I think that we have a culture that is impatient and prefers to simplify things, and this affects what we blame. If something isn't okat launch, people love to complain and point fingers everywhere until only one scapegoat remains, and that is usually the publisher. For example, Destiny has only been out for 3 weeks and comments feeds have been ripping it apart and predicting its doom and laying the blame entirely on Activision despite the fact that Bungie retains full IP rights (Activision likely had a hand in getting the hype train rolling though). Bungie has been very vocal about getting feedback and is working on expanded content and bug fixes, but the comments that I see are often more willing to rip Activision a new one and announce that the game sucked than provide honest feedback. It's only been three weeks! The publisher is always an easy target.

Similarly, I think that EA has been an easy blame target (and the correct target more often than not) when people have an issue (any issue anywhere at any time) in a game that EA published. Even so, I'll be willing to give them the benefit of the doubt for now with their new CEO. Three months isn't much time for a large publisher to turn around years of poor business that has influenced the habit of many developers under them, but I wish him well and will keep an eye on him.

I still can't forget about Command and Conquer though. EA didn't make the game, but their business practices did something to Westwood.

Avatar image for Daemoroth

@amdreallyfast So often, especially with EA, that light turns out to be an oncoming train...

I'll give them a chance, in that I'll be waiting for about 5 reviews and 10 user reviews that address what qualities I look for in a game before I decide whether I think it's worth my money.

PS - I miss Bullfrog more than I miss Westwood. And I'll never be able to forget them (Including Origin Systems).

Avatar image for bbq_R0ADK1LL

I think one of the main reasons people hate EA so much is that they take good IPs & ruin them with their business model. Dragon Age: Origins was a great game but literally having a character in the game, at your camp fire no less, asking you to do a mission that you had to buy separately was hugely disrespectful to paying customers. Having a Prothean already in the game files of Mass Effect 3, unlockable only by pre-orders or day 1 DLC was another FU to fans of the series. Lying about the Sim City back end not being able to be handled by a single PC when the series had always been a single player offline game certainly didn't fool anyone either.

If a company just releases bad games, no-one really cares much. EA publishes some great games but actively tries to screw over their paying customers & exploit fans of long-running series. I really hope that they are genuinely turning things around & I really hope that Dragon Age: Inquisition doesn't bear the hallmarks of previous exploitation but I'm not ready to give them the benefit of the doubt just yet.

Avatar image for deactivated-58e3156c76d0d

@bbq_R0ADK1LL IP's? Don't forget entire companies. Like Maxis and Westwood, gone down the drain.

Avatar image for amdreallyfast

@bbq_R0ADK1LL I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt for the moment. A new CEO can really shake up the house, but their past business practices have likely created some bad habits in the developers that they have long partnered with, habits that may be difficult to right. Even so, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. The new CEO has his work cut out for him.

Avatar image for CommandoAgent

EA Ruined Command & Conquer series.

Avatar image for jasswolf

Their mismanagement ruined the potential of SWTOR, and just as they were getting back on track thanks to how they structured their sub/F2P model, they panicked about other MMOs and pulled even more resources on the dev front.

But they changed the deck hands on the community team and made that seem more interactive. So while they might be improving, their risk assessment still dictates far too much in 'low key' projects, and winds up with situations like this, where they pay lip service to their public comments.

So all in all it's a pity this assault on their organisational vision for the company came too late for some big moments from BioWare, a company that really could have been elevated to a new standard by being partnered with EAs publishing and wealth of game-engine IP and experience. Ahh well, what can you do.

Shout into the void like I am I suppose. :P

Avatar image for starcrafthenry

Until EA comes back to either Steam or the Wii U, I can't comment on their current standing. I can't buy what isn't offered on my mediums of choice.

Avatar image for Skrilla_XS

Give EA the benefit of the doubt? Under what pretense, releasing an unfinished NHL & Sims game with the "promise" of adding patched content later?..............Great approach EA.

Avatar image for Pawfalcon

Just gonna reserve judgement. Wait and see how they're looking 3 or 4 game releases from now. Still to early.

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