It seems like EA are trapped in a bubble right now, that bubble blocks out all self-awareness and shields them from the real world.
Seemingly unphased by bringing reddit to its knees and taking part, willingly in an AMA that resulted in further damage, taking a huge hit in stocks and shares and seeing Battlefront 2 slump in sales and Disney themselves step in, the company has again show just how out of touch it is with it’s “customers”.
Speaking of Visceral Games and the ill-fated studio’s cancelled Star Wars project EA CFO, Andrew Wilson claimed the decision to close Visceral was not down to a single player VS service argument. Instead, EA claims that people just aren’t as interested in single player games as they used to be.
EA Worldwide Studios EVP Patrick Söderlund, when pressed on the topic, has suggested that the single player model just wasn’t viable for the Star Wars project that Visceral had been developing, whether that means the model didn’t fit EA’s plans is open to interpretation.
“In its current form, it was shaping up to be a story-based, linear adventure game,” Söderlund said. “Throughout the development process, we have been testing the game concept with players, listening to the feedback about what and how they want to play, and closely tracking fundamental shifts in the marketplace. It has become clear that to deliver an experience that players will want to come back to and enjoy for a long time to come, we needed to pivot the design.”
EA CEO Andrew Wilson also added that the decision to can the game and ultimately close the studio was not down to a single player vs service debate. However, seeing just how much EA banked on a service based Star Wars game makes the remark that much harder to accept.
Speaking at the horrendously named Credit Suisse 21st Annual Technology, Media & Telecom Conference, EA CFO Blake Jorgensen tried to explain the company’s reasoning for closing down Visceral and scrapping the Star Wars project.
“Over the last five or six years, [Visceral Games] had shrunk in size, it was down to about 80 people, which is sub-scale in our business. And the game they were making was actually being supported by a team in Vancouver and a team in Montreal because of that sub-scale nature. And we were trying to build a game that really pushed gameplay to the next level, and as we kept reviewing the game, it continued to look like a style of gaming, a much more linear game, that people don’t like as much today as they did five years ago or 10 years ago.”
The above statement is weak, claiming in one sentence to be developing a game that pushed boundaries to follow up with a remark that the game looks like something people would play five to ten years ago doesn’t add up.
Also trying to claim that people don’t want single player games in today’s gaming market is absurd. Seemingly EA have never heard of titles like Fallout, Skyrim, Firewatch, Gone Home or Deus Ex to name a few. While multiplayer games may be king for the time being that’s not to say that people don’t want single player games at all, it’s simpyl a reflection of the market, gamers are buying multiplayer games because multiplayer games are satuating the market, leaving little room for more. Maybe with a little more market research and less assumption EA may have a chance at turning their reputation around.