EA could stand for a lot of things. Some people call it the European Alliance, while some are reminded of the Extruding Assholes at Electronic Arts. Since 2007, EA has seen that that they were having issues connecting with their customers. Their original solution was to change distribution and focus from its core gaming audience to a mobile and digial audience with releases such as Origin and Dungeon Keeper Mobile.
While these definitely gained attention from their customers, they and many other issues, such as Sim City and Battlefield 4, were a dip stick indicator of EA’s knowledge of what drives consumers to buy video games. As well, many statements over the years that EA had made were found later to had been either rude. Such statements like not wanting to change Mass Effect 3’s ending because “you don’t change art,” or outright lying, such as Sim City not being able to be played offline, have alienated EA from it’s audience. With its stock prices dropping by 66%, being awarded “America’s worst company” twice in a row, and major shifts in higher executive power, EA has been making some strides to improving that sentiment.
With Andrew Wilson taking over EA as CEO in September 2013, many internal changes have been made to improve what is exported from their offices. Five months into his leadership, Wilson gathered 146 of his highest employees to a special meeting in a basketball court filled with phones and computers. For hours, these executives and higher ups play-tested their own games, going through the troubleshooting and issues that a normal consumer might have. As well, Wilson had them listen in on customer service calls to gain a better understanding of what is causing all of this anger towards EA. “We weren’t thinking about everything we were doing in the context of the player experience,” said Wilson.
Wilson is making EA’s rallying cry “Think Players First,” a part of its code of conduct which, arguably, has been seen as more of a joke than a code of conduct in EA for quite some time. However, signs of improvement since Wilson’s taken charge have been seen. Dragon Age: Inquisition has been heralded as a high-quality title, and Wilson has made attempts to take better care of releasing games as a functional piece by delaying release dates when needed. While there is still much more work to be done, EA has gained some of its respect back, after having been eliminated from the “worst company in America” competition in the first round.