EA: We Are Not Tone Deaf to Criticism

EA Labels president Frank Gibeau has said that EA is not tone deaf to the vast amount of criticism it receives and has responded to that criticism even when he thinks it’s not fully justified. EA's most damning criticism this year was winning the dubious distinction of being named the 2013 Worst Company in America by the Consumerist survey in April. Those results were based on voting by consumers.

"That type of feedback is disappointing personally for people inside of EA because we love our company and the games that we make," Gibeau told the BBC related to "winning" that award. "We're in the business of entertaining and exciting people, and when our business policies get in the way of that and we hear this reaction and see this feedback we have to take note of it. We're not tone deaf."

Gibeau also said that EA's recent series of staff cuts were necessary because all companies must react to the markets in which they operate.

"In the console business there frankly isn't much of a business for games outside of the top 20," he added. "You have to really get into the charts to make the initial investment in these games work. We're really trying to create epic products that have a chance to reach the widest possible audience."

Gibeau said that it is investing heavily in game engine technology to be used for next-generation game development.

"The last console generation, we frankly didn't make the investment in engine technology that we did this time," he admitted. "It left us in a position where our launch wasn't as smooth or a breakthrough as we wanted."

"It's not just about [better] graphics, it's content and online features too. If you can support just two engines instead of the 13 to 14 we were supporting over the last cycle you can focus on making great games."

Finally Gibeau admitted that EA's messaging on its plans to support the Wii U going forward was not good.

"We didn't make it easy for the market to figure out our stance on the Wii U, that's for sure," said Gibeau. "We're not announcing any new Wii U titles at E3, but that doesn't preclude us making games for it going forward."

But even as he admitted that his company's messaging on Wii U wasn't great, he continues to be vague about EA's plans for the console going forward:

"Do we have developers inside Electronic Arts that are watching the Wii U and understanding how it's developing? Yes, we're absolutely doing that. Do we have active development of Wii U titles that we're ready to publicly announce right now. No we do not."

Source: MCV


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