Projects – B
During 2007 Electronic Arts kept fans talking about their titles by releasing over a dozen throughout the year. There was hardly a time when a new EA title wasn’t being talked about. From sports to action to shooters, EA seemingly had something for everyone to play. Tiger Woods, Madden and their NHL series were tops in their genre this year. And I can’t forget to mention the addition of former Microsoft executive Peter Moore to their sports division making an already strong division even stronger.
The quality and delivery of their titles range from average to excellent with average games like Need For Speed ProStreet to excellent titles like skate, The Orange Box and Crysis. Some say the frequency and number of titles is a bad thing but I submit to those people that it sure beats having nothing to play. It helps serving as both a publisher and developer. This gives you the ability to populate shelves moreso than many other companies.
It also helps your Projects grade when you obtain quality development studios at the pace EA has over the years. It shows that they’re willing to get the help needed to grade high or rather they’re on a “win at all costs” ego trip which in either case helps. It also helps when you establish new IPs that turn out better than anyone expected in their 2007 titles, skate and Rock Band. Although most of their titles were existing franchises, the effort behind the majority of them coupled with a few newbies gets Electronic Arts a B grade here.
Community – A
EA is a master at having its name in the thick of things within the community. They host all kinds of events both large and small which is something I commend them on. It’s not everyday that a company as large as Electronic Arts makes it a point to be accessible on more than a “big media” level. From ESPN Madden Nation to local events to game specific community summits, EA has definitely tapped into their fans.
When I mention the community, I’m not speaking about any public relations. The majority of what EA does in the community is by people within EA themselves. That’s a smart move not to just service your brand via some public relation/marketing company who knows little or cares little about the industry.
Beyond communicating with events, you have to have some sort of online presence to provide information. They try their best on their official website but it’s always a challenge to navigate and find what you’re looking for. Credit must be given though for having the latest information about their titles. There was a point when you looked to 3rd party sites for information on EA but now that’s all changed.
Extra Credit – C
It’s no secret their pricing strategy for extending titles has been under fire. This is an area that has seen some improvement over the months but it hasn’t quite become right. The latest crop of Rock Band weekly premium content from EA, Harmonix and MTV has been met with mixed reviews.
Even with public opinion mixed about the handling of their pricing strategy, it is quite obvious that the majority of their titles have been extended beyond retail which is a good thing.
I mentioned gaining developers above and that also applies to Extra Credit. You have to sometimes go that extra mile whether that be by force or not. With the acquistion of BioWare and Pandemic Studios this year, EA continues to piece together quality pieces for its Projects.