We all know that EA is one of the largest gaming studios and publishers on planet Earth. And like all big brands, their business is heavily focused on creating value for their stakeholders and creating as much revenue as possible to stay successful. But by focusing all their attention on sales and revenue, they might have lost touch with their customer base and the heart of video gamers worldwide.
The Story of EA
EA was founded on May 28th, 1982 by a gentleman named Trip Hawkins. Hawkins served as Director of Product Marketing prior to establishing Electronic Arts as a company. He first raised VC funding through Sequoia Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and Sevin Rosen Funds for $2 million USD.
Over the course of several months after establishing the company, Hawkins and his fellow employees from Apple, Atari, Xerox, and VisiCorp all came up with an ideal game plan on how to successfully develop, market, publish, and distribute games around the world. They were even able to bring Steve Wozniak onto the team to sit on the board of directors to help maintain growth.
After fine tuning their game plan over the course of several years, EA was able to acquire their first gaming studio called Batteries Included (BI) in 1987. This company was based out of Toronto and was famous for developing PaperClip word Processor which was available on the Atari 8-bit family and Commodore at the time.
From their first acquisition in 1987 with Batteries Included, their list kept growing and continues to grow today. Below is a chart showing the list of companies that EA has acquired.
|Distinctive Software Inc.||Jul. 1, 1991||N/A|
|Origin Systems||Sep. 10, 1992||$35 Mil||Ultima|
|DROsoft||Nov. 14, 1994||N/A|
|Bullfrog Productions||Feb. 6, 1995||N/A||Syndicate|
|Kingsoft GmbH||Mar. 8, 1995||N/A|
|Manley & Associates||Jan. 29, 1996||N/A|
|Maxis||Jun. 4, 1997||$125 Mil||SimCity|
|Tiburon Entertainment||Apr. 2, 1998||N/A|
|Vision Software||Apr. 8, 1998||N/A|
|ABC Software||Jul. 28, 1998||N/A|
|Westwood Studios||Aug. 17, 1998||$122.5 Mil|
|PlayNation||Sep. 8, 1998||N/A|
|Kesmai||Nov. 22, 1999||N/A|
|DreamWorks Interactive||Feb. 24, 2000||N/A||Medal of Honor|
|Pogo||Feb. 28, 2001||N/A|
|Black Box Games||Jun. 11, 2002||N/A||Need for Speed|
|Studio 33||Oct. 16, 2003||N/A|
|NuFX||Feb. 13, 2004||N/A||NBA Street|
|Criterion Software||Jul. 28, 2004||N/A|
|Hyptonix||Jul. 27, 2005||N/A|
|JAMDAT Mobile||Dec. 8, 2005||$680 Mil|
|Mythic Entertainment||Jul. 20, 2006||N/A|
|Phenomic Game Development||Aug. 23, 2006||N/A||SpellForce|
|Digital Illusions CE (DICE)||Oct. 2, 2006||N/A|
|Headgate Studios||Nov. 30. 2006||N/A|
|SlingShot Media||Feb. 12, 2007||N/A|
|Super Computer Int.||Oct. 5, 2007||N/A|
|VG Holding Corp.||Oct. 11, 2007||$775 Mil||Mass Effect|
|Hands-On Mobile||May 21, 2008||N/A|
|ThreeSF||Jun. 3, 2008||N/A|
|J2mSoft||Dec. 2, 2008||N/A|
|Playfish||Nov 9, 2009||$400 Mil||The Sims Social|
|Chillingo||Oct 20, 2010||$200 Mil|
|Mobile Post Production||May 3, 2011||N/A|
|Firemint||May 4, 2011||N/A|
|PopCap Games||Jul. 12, 2011||$750 Mil|
|ESN||Jun. 1, 2012||N/A|
|Respawn||Nov. 9, 2017||$151 Mil +||Titanfall|
There are some truly notable game studios that EA has gobbled up these past two decades. Some of the most notable ones are DICE, VG Holding Corp. (which owns BioWare and Pandemic Studios), Playfish, PopCap Games, and more. The most recent acquisition comes with Respawn, the creators of Titanfall.
Respawn is currently developing AAA content for Star Wars, another Titanfall title, and an exclusive VR game with Oculus, which may be why EA acquired the growing studio.
But EA has a history of closing down many big game developers. For example, EA has shut down Maxis, Mythic, Bullfrog, Origin, Westwood, DreamWorks Interactive, Phenomic, Black Box Games, Pandemic, PlayFish, and NuFX. That over 10 studios in the past decade or so who have all created some memorable games.
EA community backlash
With such a very off-balance track-record, the gaming community has become very awry of the company. EA has managed to kill many big titles and have been facing some huge backlash. But their latest mistake with Star Wars: Battlefront II might just be the last straw for the gaming community.
People around the world have become angered of EA for their lack of appreciation for the gaming community. The company has managed to turn a beloved franchise into something gamers despise due to micro-transactions and in-game currency. Currently, players have to grind 40 hours just to unlock characters like Darth Vader in Star Wars: Battlefront II. The other way is to simply purchase the character.
So, community members on Reddit reached out to EA for some explanation about the game and how they’ve become frustrated by micro-transactions and loot-boxes. But EA’s PR team seems to have made a mistake by giving a poor-choice in answers on a reddit post.
“The intent is to provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment for unlocking different heroes.
As for cost, we selected initial values based upon data from the Open Beta and other adjustments made to milestone rewards before launch. Among other things, we’re looking at average per-player credit earn rates on a daily basis, and we’ll be making constant adjustments to ensure that players have challenges that are compelling, rewarding, and of course attainable via gameplay.
We appreciate the candid feedback, and the passion the community has put forth around the current topics here on Reddit, our forums and across numerous social media outlets.
Our team will continue to make changes and monitor community feedback and update everyone as soon and as often as we can.”
The comment itself currently has over 467,000 downvotes making it the most hated comment in Reddit history. Since then, EA has sparked massive boycotting and negative press around the world for their lack of care and appreciation for gamers. Furthermore, social communities like Reddit are asking gamers to boycott EA and Battlefront II. The Reddit post has gained over 109,000 upvotes in a span of 5 hours and has gained massive attention.
EA is a multi-billion dollar conglomerate who controls significant power over the gaming community due to their exclusive rights to titles and gaming studios. But with this type of uproar by the gaming community, will EA change its ways of charging premium for DLCs, in-game loots, and micro-transactions? The answer is probably no.
EA makes a lot of money through charging players for in-game goods and add-ons. This uproar will probably die down and EA will continue its ways like it has been over the past decade. But we hope to see changes from the company and make games enjoyable once again from EA.