Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Less is more - especially in a down economy

I touched on this back in October, and EA apparently agrees, announcing recently that they expect to trim their annual game development to 40 or fewer games. The same principles that apply to the MMO market, apply to the PC game and console market as well. In fact, they’re both part of the larger entertainment market to begin with, and I think EA is simply dealing with the reality of their deteriorating condition at this point. Unfortunately EA is being disingenuous to the press in describing why they’re making the strategic change.

But Riccitiello stressed that the planned cuts were not the result of previous strategic misteps, but rather a move that better position the company for the future. That "means fewer titles, and needing less personnel against that side of the business," he said. "We thought of it as an offensive, positive step toward the evolution of our business."

The market is flooded with competition and quality has not been a hallmark over quantity at EA. So to say they’re simply making strategic decisions is silly to say the least. If EA had been profitable, does anyone seriously believe they’d be making the cuts, along with the personnel cuts that will go along with it? Of course they wouldn’t. The first step in reform is honesty, and I would hope EA would, at this point, simply be honest and regain confidence of their investors by introducing a strong plan to centralize their development, and which also includes their MMO properties. And quite honestly, I don’t see the free social gaming aspect of this plan paying off much in the long run. I’m still very much of the opinion that less options are better, which enables the developers to concentrate resources to make what they do develop better. See, that’s the crux of the issue entirely. Players want quality, yet what they’re seeing is quantity. Developers are rushing out properties that are poorly planned, poorly developed, and poorly supported, and then bewildered why the gaming public turns away en masse.