Electronic Arts Responds to 'Game Factory' Image

Being known as a big third party publisher of video games has its advantages and disadvantages. On the up side, the company has the ability and resources to produce games that can meet a wide variety of gaming interests and preferences. On the downside, the quality of the game titles sometimes suffers because of the sheer number of games produced.

But imagine if you are the largest third party video game producer. One company, which has been praised for such franchises as The Sims, Madden Football, The Need for Speed, Battlefield, Medal of Honor, and Command and Conquer, has taken its share of kudos and criticisms. Electronic Arts was established in 1982 and has become the number one third party video game publisher in the world. However, along with this success have come concerns that it has become a large faceless game factory, with employees slaving away in an effort to meet super-human deadlines in order to turn profits.

David Garner, executive vice president and COO of EA, gave his take on these criticisms and tried to set the record straight as to what kind of company EA really is. His remarks were made to GamesIndustry in an interview conducted at the Edinburgh Interactive Entertainment Festival.

When asked about the aspect of how EA runs its business, Garner referred to the downsizing of E3 as an example. "We,ve all seen the way that E3 is changing in order to become something of a more intimate event. I think at some point these events get too big and they are no longer human so they need resizing. And you have to break them down to get a handle on things… Interestingly, that’s how we run our studios. Everyone says we’re a big company, but actually we’re a lot of medium sized studios connected together through our global distribution network. So it’s a more manageable way to be and it gives people more identity and ultimately helps creativity.”

He then took issue with the image that EA is purely a game factory. "People don’t want to be in a factory – they want to know who they’re working with, they want to be intimately involved not just with the products, but their colleagues also. Employees want to have friends at work, love what they’re working on and have passion for their products. I think the only way you can consistently do that – being a big company is helpful because we’re stable and we have resources – but at the end of the day you have to break it down into dedicated teams."

To sum it all up, Garner said, "We’re trying to be a bit more human.”


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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