We all know the story of Electronic Artrs. The “evil” gaming publication has been given the title of “worst company” two years in a row now, all while receiving univeral disparity from gamers everywhere.
Now truth is that this is all a bit extreme, and chances are you have plenty of EA published games in your library of titles. But it does not negate some of the negativity, nor does it remove some of the stereotypes surrounding the company.
One of those stereotypes is money hatting and cheap knock-offs. From micro-transaction filled titles to reshaping survival-horror themed games into “dudebro” over the top shooters, EA has took part in a fair share of selling out. Knowing this, you could imagine the response Ex-CEO of EA’s John Riccitiello got upon slamming opportunistic studios for cashing in on a trend.
In an interview with GamesIndustry, EA’s Ex-CEO had this to say:
- “What I don’t like in the games industry today is that there are too many opportunists who are there to make money”
- “Let’s be realistic. I’m going to be cynical for a minute. I find this terribly hilarious – you talked about game companies, things you write about on the website, these game companies who are going to create the next generation of new ideas, they’re all about fun etc. And they’re working on a Puzzles and Dragons rip-off, except they’re going to change one of the colors to blue. I mean, wait a minute. Are you in this because you want to create something or does it look like the easiest way to make money is to take one of the top-ten games and tweak it?”
This is coming from the (ex)leader of a company that single handedly reshaped an entire series to compete (and fail) against Call of Duty (Medal of Honor). This same man pushed a Gears of War competitor out of, what was, a fantastic survivor-horror game. Oh, and lets not forget about Rock Band’s assault on Guitar Hero’s popularity and innovation.
The hilarity does not end there, though. As a man who has been chasing Activision’s tail for the greater half of the last decade, it only would be fair to touch on his hypocritical rant regarding the worlds largest gaming publication:
- “There’s one scenario where they ship a new MMO, it replaces WoW, Call of Duty stays at the top of the charts, Skylanders goes from strength to strength. They do a couple of things with their licenses, everything goes fine. Then there’s a scenario where WoW continues to decline, Battlefield takes the mantle from CoD, Skylanders proves to be a flash in the pan and Activision proves to be a shitty company at that point. What’s been fascinating watching Activision over the last few years is that I’ve heard that mentioned before, about them not being the company they could or should be. They’ve pulled off some notable successes,” he acknowledged.
- “The one thing I know most about now is Battlefield and CoD and I feel pretty confident that EA’s got better cards. But the last billion dollar brand created from scratch in this industry was Skylanders. Is the next billion dollar brand going to come from Activision? I don’t know. But if it does then they can sustain the loss of leadership in the field of shooters.”
Maybe the failure to see the hypocrisy in his own words is what lead to his demise as EA’s CEO. Sadly though, the world , will never know. As gamers, we can only hope that EA’s future falls into better, more concise hands. Hands that focus on innovation and original concepts instead of cheap cash-in’s and soulless knock-offs.
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