EA's Andrew Wilson

Executive Talk: EA’s Mistakes and Games as a Service

EA’s mistakes are being corrected, says new CEO Andrew Wilson, and the games are changing too. Wilson’s time at EA was headline-filled since becoming CEO in 2013, as he oversaw the continued growth of mobile and digital, the fallout over Battlefield 4 defects and a successful major console transition.

Fixing EA’s Mistakes

Upon joining EA, Wilson’s first goal was to change the company’s culture.

“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,” said Wilson.

“We’d come off the back of some negativity around some of the things we were doing, and, quite frankly, some of the things we weren’t doing well enough,” noted Wilson in a separate interview.

His solution was to change the focus of every employee.

“I wanted to re-instill a player first culture inside the organization,” said Wilson.

“At the end of the day we are nothing but for the players that play our games. We’re not above that. We’re not below that. That is what we are. In some areas of the company we had been distracted from that somewhat.”

Learning from EA’s Mistakes with Battlefield 4

CONSULGAMER ranks Battlefield 4 as the best looking launch title of the new generation of consoles, but the buggy play experience of the game raised significant complaints from consumers.

“For me, the situation we had was unacceptable. For the team it was unacceptable. We have worked tirelessly since then to make sure the gameplay experience got to where it absolutely should have been at launch and we’re focused on that and we continue to deliver value to that player base,” said Wilson.

Wilson and his team deserve credit for focusing on learning from the root causes of Battlefield 4’s bugs, and adjusting internal processes.

EA's Andrew Wilson
While EA CEO Andrew Wilson is blunt about EA’s mistakes, he is equally optimistic about where the company is headed.

“We have changed development processes, we’ve changed development timelines and we’ve changed testing processes and beta processes, all with a view to not have the issues again,” said Wilson.

“You can lengthen development cycles,” he said. “You can give a much longer timeframe between final and launch to get a lot more testing on the game. You can change the development process whereby you have more stable build requirements throughout the entire set of development. You can start betas earlier so you get it out in the wild earlier with more people banging away at it.”

The next game in the series, Battlefield: Hardline, was debuted at E3 and will hit retailers in October 2014. The game was built on a three year development timeline, and the company promises a consistently performing gaming experience.

EA’s Games as a Service

Last, the company is looking to change the way blockbuster games are released. While one-time packaged games are still the root of EA’s success, future releases will focus on being interactive online experiences that can be played for longer periods of time.

“I want to move us into the live services business,” said Wilson. “If you think about Star Wars, I don’t want [players] 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.”

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