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EA Honcho: "We Didn't Make Hits" in '08

Illustration for article titled EA Honcho: We Didnt Make Hits in 08

Remember EA boasted that last year it put out 15 games getting 80 or better on Metacritic? Guess that's no longer an operative statement. A senior exec told investors "We didn't make hits" last year.

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John Pleasants, EA's chief operating officer, told a Goldman Sachs conference last week the company's plans for success last year were built on assumptions that games like Dead Space and Mirror's Edge would be blockbusters. They weren't.

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"The biggest thing was that we didn't make hits," Pleasants said, although many of its games were profitable (including those two.) The way to make hits? Marketing, not development, apparently.

Marketing is "one line item on our P&L that's increasing. We're reducing on other items, but we have titles that we want to have hit," Pleasants said. Looking back at the past three years, they figured they weren't spending enough, or spending at the right times, to get good games into hit status.

"The game-development process has evolved, so the marketing should as well," Pleasants said, meaning more focus on Web marketing. "It's less about ‘We have an idea, we go away for 24 months and spend $30 million working on a game, then put a little buzz out there and hope it works.' We need to have a dialogue with the audience, take a longer lead time and make sure we have the right mix of digital and traditional."

EA COO: 'The Biggest Thing Was That We Didn't Make Hits' In 2008 [PaidContent.org via CVG]

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DISCUSSION

Sloopydrew
Sloopydrew

The people who overlooked Dead Space despite the good reviews, great word of mouth and considerable marketing make me sad. The game should have been a Resident Evil level hit. It is one of the best survival horror games ever made, has some stunningly innovative ideas, is filled with memorable moments and has the most brilliant user interface ever implemented in a survival horror title.

It boils down to online gaming. Dead Space was made for hadcore gamers, it didn't have online, and online is all "hardcore" gamers seem to want anymore. They need co-op or multiplayer crap or they don't bother.

Singler-player gaming appears to be dead on the 360 and seems headed that direction on the PS3 as well. I think co-op is a distraction and multi-player is fun, but not anywhere close to the level of fun that goes along with a great single-player campaign.