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EA is 'disappointed' with 2008 sales

EA is 'disappointed' with 2008 sales

EA has said it is disappointed with holiday sales, and will make efforts to reduce costs next year.

Electronic Arts is being hit by the credit crunch too it seems, with company CEO John Riccitiello saying that he is disappointed with Christmas sales so far and that the mega-publisher will have to take efforts to reduce costs next year as a result.

EA, which laid off 6 percent of its global staff earlier of this year, has long had a reputation for producing games mainly in established, safe franchises. This year however the company has sought to bring more innovation to its line-up by buying outside developers like BioWare and making more innovative games, like Mirror's Edge.

These innovations haven't performed as well as the company expected however, with John Riccitiello saying that the company didn't manage to meet sales expectations for many titles.

"While we saw significant improvement in the overall quality of our key products this year, we are disappointed that our holiday slate is not meeting our sales expectations," Riccitiello said in a statement, claiming the reduced sales were the result of an "uncertain economic environment."

The company has said that it will now take measures to streamline the structure and profitability of the company, which is corporate-speak for firing people and cancelling games, we think.

According to analysts the reduced sales are mainly due to the under-performance of certain key titles, namely Mirror's Edge, Rock Band 2 and Need for Speed Undercover.

Did you try any of those games? Let us know what you think of them in the forums.

45 Comments

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Silver51 10th December 2008, 11:23 Quote
Quote:
EA has said it is disappointed with holiday sales, and will make efforts to reduce costs next year.

Replace 'cost' with 'DRM' and then we'll talk. I think also, rather than rehashing old games, innovation is the way forward. Mirrors Edge, for better or worse, is a good step down that road but I'd be more inclined to buy games that aren't effectively Quake/Battlefield/Command and Conquer/SIMS clones.
mmorgue 10th December 2008, 11:32 Quote
Quote:
"While we saw significant improvement in the overall quality of our key products this year, we are disappointed that our holiday slate is not meeting our sales expectations," Riccitiello said

With the proliferation of information on DRM and the increase in "non-techie" people becoming aware of its effects, I'm not surprised more and more people are avoiding legitimate purchases and opting for nntp/p2p versions.

I'd say to EA what we all say to the RIAA and MPAA - sort out your consumer business model first to reflect the change in media and user experience of the products and then you'll start seeing better profits. Slapping DRM and other draconian means of media management simply isn't working and is instead driving away your otherwise ligitmate consumer. <shrug>
Loot3r 10th December 2008, 11:48 Quote
DRM this DRM that! Im so over DRM its not even funny! As for EA not meeting there sales, well.....what exactly is meeting there sales! 1,000,000 sold per title??? or is it making more than what they spent to make the game in the first place!
Tyrmot 10th December 2008, 11:56 Quote
I wonder if they'll blame it on DRM or piracy... 3 lost sales due to DRM from me, none because of piracy
RotoSequence 10th December 2008, 11:57 Quote
The lessons to be learned aren't limited to just DRM.

When a company innovates, it needs to make sure that what it's innovating with is actually enjoyable. Going by word of mouth, they didn't always do that.
nukeman8 10th December 2008, 12:02 Quote
they should start making good games then and stop ruining other games when they buy out the game makers company (C&C, UO to name a few)
orry 10th December 2008, 12:07 Quote
Make a decent game that doesn't crash or require patches and maybe you will sell games, stupid nuffs, they are so thick.
The Bodger 10th December 2008, 12:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by RotoSequence
When a company innovates, it needs to make sure that what it's innovating with is actually enjoyable. Going by word of mouth, they didn't always do that.

Maybe so, but surely that is simply the risk of trying to innovate? You can never be certain of the results when you try to do something new. By exploring new ideas you are inevitably exposing yourself to the possibility that some of them won't be as fun or successful as hoped. This could well lead to making a loss on some releases. The trick is to then build upon the ideas that proved popular - without the original investment in innovation, this would simply be impossible. Rather than cutting back, working with the new ideas that turned out best may be a better way forward...

From the sounds of it, EA is at risk of going back to what it was; a largely boring, non innovative company that simply re-hashes what is has already tried and is comfortable with.
RotoSequence 10th December 2008, 12:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Bodger
Maybe so, but surely that is simply the risk of trying to innovate? You can never be certain of the results when you try to do something new. By exploring new ideas you are inevitably exposing yourself to the possibility that some of them won't be as fun or successful as hoped. This could well lead to making a loss on some releases. The trick is to then build upon the ideas that proved popular - without the original investment in innovation, this would simply be impossible. Rather than cutting back, working with the new ideas that turned out best may be a better way forward...

From the sounds of it, EA is at risk of going back to what it was; a largely boring, non innovative company that simply re-hashes what is has already tried and is comfortable with.

What I mean is that they need to make sure the game that uses the actual gameplay innovations is actually fun, all around. You can have the greatest elements of game design in the world become worthless if the game is repetitious and incorporates other elements that clash with the fun parts.

It's also possible to make a game that isn't as deep or as challenging as one might expect. Spore is an example of making a brilliantly complex technology into an overly simple game.
_DTM2000_ 10th December 2008, 12:17 Quote
To be honest, this isn't really a surprise is it. The whole economy is screwed up at the moment and barely anyone is making much profit. What the hell did they expect. Added to that the growing rejection of DRM by the public and the fact that they spent tons of money buying up other companies. Also one of their biggest tittles and also probably their biggest gamble "Mirrors Edge" was only released recently, right in the middle of the credit crunch. So it's not surprising this hasn't sold well yell. I just hope that EA don't see this as proof that rehashing old games and milking established franchises are the only way to make money. They need to concentrate on what the people want and on developing innovative new products. That's the only way they're going to survive in the current economic climate.
wuyanxu 10th December 2008, 12:22 Quote
get Westwood people to make Red Alert 3, and get someone with a degree in Physics to make NFS Undercover physics. (or hire the physics dude from Codemaster whom made GRiD)

also take out the DRMs, and then see if your sells go up. i, for one, will be buying RA3 and NFS if the above improvements were made.
Deadwolf 10th December 2008, 12:27 Quote
Perhaps EA should go in to the rental business, like gamefly....
impar 10th December 2008, 12:32 Quote
Greetings!

EA would have received my money if not for its draconian DRM.
Mass Effect, Warhead, Dead Space, C&C RA3, ...
http://img523.imageshack.us/img523/1836/electronicassimilator1fq0.png
Veles 10th December 2008, 12:45 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by RotoSequence
It's also possible to make a game that isn't as deep or as challenging as one might expect. Spore is an example of making a brilliantly complex technology into an overly simple game.

But Spore was absolute tripe, I wasted my money on that one.
Nictron 10th December 2008, 12:58 Quote
My Warhead stopped working after 2 weeks, and with allot of effort and time since on the phone and e-mail it still not sorted out.

I have personally banned EA games from my list, I will never pay for EA games again until they remove DRM!

I have also supported EA games in the past, set-up tournaments for their games, allot of effort from my side and they can't even support me properly with one of their titles.

I am sorry EA but you have lost a loyal fan with your policies!
Xtrafresh 10th December 2008, 13:01 Quote
3 lost sales because of DRM for me too: Mass Effect, Spore, GTA IV.

I really dont get why there is no statement as to what EA plans to do about their low sales. In it's current form the message is just a whine: "mommy, nobody bought my limonaaaaaade!"

[edit]OK, so he plans to cut costs. Are you kidding me? Now would be the time to invest! Lots of great developers have been sacked lately and are ripe for the picking, and the PC gaming audience has never before cried out so loudly for what it wants. There are clear goals, there's real money to be made, and the available workforce has more then enough capacity. If EA invests now and does it wisely, they'll be for gaming what microsoft is for OS's within the next 5 years.

but noooooo, let's cut costs. I despise managers, they never look at what they are actually doing.
bowman 10th December 2008, 13:03 Quote
Release non-crappy games, stop ruining old franchises. I bought Mass Effect, quite liked it, I would've bought Mirror's Edge if you just deemed to release a PC version. I thought I'd be buying Spore and Red Alert 3 but it turned out those games were major horseshit! What's going on guys?
Lepermessiah 10th December 2008, 13:07 Quote
Man oh man the Anti DRM people here are like religious fanatics, they take everything and turn it into it is because of DRm. How about the games this year were not quite as appealing as 07?, plus the economy? Geez.
UrbanMarine 10th December 2008, 13:07 Quote
Down with the evil empire!!!
V3ctor 10th December 2008, 13:12 Quote
The only games I bought this year was GRID and Left 4 Dead... EA games for me are dead... always the same things, over and over again... EA has a bad reputation now, and it will take a while to clean it... These DRM's crap is one of the things that make me run (even more) from EA Games... I bought the game, why should I have to deal with anti-piracy measures?? The games get pirated ANYWAY!! Why punish the people that really buy the game? Look at Steam... I can play in my 3 pc's everywhere, I just log in, and I'm good... Change your way to be EA... or you'll go down...
impar 10th December 2008, 13:13 Quote
Greetings!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lepermessiah
How about the games this year were not quite as appealing as 07?, plus the economy?
2008 games are at the same level as those published in 2007.
From a personal perspective, 2008 has been a better income year than 2007.
Xtrafresh 10th December 2008, 13:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lepermessiah
Man oh man the Anti DRM people here are like religious fanatics, they take everything and turn it into it is because of DRm. How about the games this year were not quite as appealing as 07?, plus the economy? Geez.
I really don't think it's been a bad year for gaming. Mass Effect, GTA IV, Mirror's Edge are all very proper games, with loads of entertainment value. Some games fail, some turn out good, that always happens.

Two things are fundamentally different from other years. DRM and the creditcrunch. It's been a very good year for SecuROM, with EA as their main supporter. SecuROM also re-ignited the sh!tstorm that seemed to have settled down a bit at the beginning of the year. This may or may not be a big difference, but I am quite sure that SecuROM has given EA a net loss.

A bigger issue is ofcourse the creditcrunch and the way this company handles it. Companies as big as this should have some fat on their bones from the good years, so they can invest while things are down, and release games when the market is up and everyone has cash for them. Investing during a crisis will mean that you have products to sell when things are on the rise, sacking people now will mean you will be caught sleeping for the next big holiday season. Poor management is a MUCH bigger reason then DRM, but not listening to customers is a prime example of poor management in it's own right.
Kúsař 10th December 2008, 13:37 Quote
DRM, high prices. Why should I buy their games when others are making better offers? L4D, Fallout 3 are on the way finally and these games will keep me occupied long enough for some other publisher to release another great game(I'm currently waiting for complete Penumbra edition...)
roshan 10th December 2008, 14:16 Quote
I think they need to make an end for NFS franchise
UrbanMarine 10th December 2008, 14:23 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by roshan
I think they need to make an end for NFS franchise

They just need to give up the NFL rights they bought up so other companies can makes Official NFL games.
nukeman8 10th December 2008, 14:23 Quote
Best bet for EA to self combust and have all the companies they have brought over the years emerge and start up again.
UrbanMarine 10th December 2008, 14:48 Quote
:: crosses finger :: I hope Westwood gets released from EAs grip.
Lepermessiah 10th December 2008, 15:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by UrbanMarine
Quote:
Originally Posted by roshan
I think they need to make an end for NFS franchise

They just need to give up the NFL rights they bought up so other companies can makes Official NFL games.


exactly, gamers lose with this stupid exclusive rights.

I never said DRm was not an issue, but it is tiring everytime something like this comes up Anti-DRm people flood the forums like famatics. There is a lot more to it, largely the economy. DRM IMO many people are not even aware when they buy these games, fourms are a very small minority of the actual gaming population.
nukeman8 10th December 2008, 15:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by UrbanMarine
:: crosses finger :: I hope Westwood gets released from EAs grip.

aye i nearly broke down and cried in the corner the day i heard EA had clobbered westwood and put them in their closet.
UrbanMarine 10th December 2008, 16:18 Quote
It was a sad day in the RTS world when EA bought up Westwood. Most of the original minds behind CnC quit because of the buyout.
[USRF]Obiwan 10th December 2008, 17:31 Quote
I loved Westwood adventures. But do you really think Westwood would have survived. Who wants to play adventures nowadays? it's a shame that this genre is almost abandoned besides a view brave attempts by others. Remember the other big adventure company Sierra? its now lost in the pool called Activision.

Back on topic...
I must say EA is getting their acts together somehow, besides the DRM thing that is. At least they are back on track with some games...

And is it Christmas yet? how can they complain about Christmas sales if it isn't Christmas for 2 weeks..
pimlicosound 10th December 2008, 17:45 Quote
Now is probably a good time for gamers to put their money where their mouths are. Buy new, innovative games like Mirror's Edge and prove to the giants like EA that trying something outside the padded cell of an established franchise or film license is good for them.
scarrmrcc 10th December 2008, 17:48 Quote
it seems like they are saying:
" we didn't make enough money through sales of games. let's make cheaper crappier games, that way they cost less to make."

why not....make better games?
pendragon 10th December 2008, 18:32 Quote
*sigh*... it looks like we'll see more Generic Game: XII's .. what a pity...

(I will add, I would have bought Mass Effect for the PC if the DRM sh!tstorm hadn't occurred)
ab2c4 10th December 2008, 19:22 Quote
I can't believe they are blaming the economy for poor sales when the real reason is the junk they are trying to sell. I used to be a huge fan of EA during the ps2/xbox years. So many great games which partially include Madden, NCAA Football, NFS and MoH series.

If they would worry about putting out a quality game that is tested before they release it (I am looking at you Madden and NCAA Football specifically) then they wouldn't have to worry about sales. Good games sell themselves.
lewchenko 10th December 2008, 21:51 Quote
I dont think I bought one EA game this year !

Where was Battlefield 3 ? Nope... no sign of it. That one title says it all. EA took an amazing franchise, and after 2007... they did nothing with it. A cash cow sat there doing nothing.

Instead my money went to Activision, Valve, Gas Powered Games, Epic, Sony, Crytek

Whilst they may have innovated.... it doesnt mean they produced any good games. I even skipped Red Alert 3... just because the camera was too zoomed in (sigh.. as usual just like all the other botched C&C releases). And then there was Spore.. 2008's biggest let down.

PS - for me, I couldnt give a toss about DRM, although I do understand why others scream about it.
Grinch123456 10th December 2008, 22:26 Quote
I would've bought Mass Effect for the PC (I already purchased it for 360) if there was no DRM. Spore's DRM was utter tripe, as was GTA's, and I'm heading over to the store to pick up NFS Underground after I "checked" to make sure it worked on my computer, courtesy of BitTorrent.

The fact of the matter is, not only is EA's DRM policy draconian at best, but their computer games aren't always guaranteed to work on a computer.
jake9891 10th December 2008, 22:38 Quote
I didn't like new NFS, still think that Carbon, Most Wanted and best of the best Underground 2 was a lot better.
DXR_13KE 10th December 2008, 23:03 Quote
the entire planet is in economic trouble... what else is new?
bogie170 10th December 2008, 23:43 Quote
Would anyone miss EA if they went bust? I think not. The company is too large with no innovation. This also stifles creativity. And with the DRM problem too they are making life hard for themselves. Stupid executives ruining the buisness if you ask me. Serves them right for being money grabbing aholes.

2 more missed sales from me too due to DRM. Why can't they just work on a cdkey check for multiplayer.
Sparrowhawk 11th December 2008, 06:18 Quote
Quote:
EA is 'disappointed' with 2008 sales
I'm sorry, that should have read EA is a disappointment with 2008
Seriously, bad/buggy/DRMed to hell games are not going to produce a lot of sales.
karx11erx 11th December 2008, 12:43 Quote
Those guys here stealing software because they claim DRM was the reason people would rather steal than purchase games should be kicked so deep in their behinds that you cannot see your ankle anymore (talking about piracy, not about those who just don't buy, don't take me wrong). Imo they're nothing but bloody hypocrites, excusing their criminal nature. See what you're doing: No proper revenue for EA, 6% of the staff laid off. Creating unemployment. Merry christmas to those that have been laid off. That was *you*, you software stealing bastids.

If you don't like it, don't buy, but don't copy it, play all the way through it (having a good time doing so, whether you admit it or not), and then say "it sucked so bad I'd never have bought this crap".

And no, I am not in any way affiliated to the computer gaming industry, neither directly nor indirectly. I've just got some standards (and I already had them when I was a teenager!), and most of all a functioning mind, and I will have neither of them be corrupted just because some people around me are. There we have your fault: You excuse your own shortcomings with those of others. Go do better then! That kind of ethics doesn't seem to be in you though.

I wish you software pirates that you will suffer from exactly what you are doing to others in your very own future.
Xtrafresh 11th December 2008, 14:52 Quote
I download software for the same reason that dogs lick their balls: because i can. In almost all cases i would not have bought the game if it would not have been available. Yes it's illegal, yes it's stealing, but i am NOT depriving anyone of any revenue, because there would not have been any in the first place.

Games that i really look forward to i buy, games i really enjoy after pirating it i buy (that's an EXTRA sale thanks to piracy, thank you very much!) and games i forget i forget. Basically it's the same as with any other business: market a game enough or make it good enough, and i'll buy it. I was planning to pay for GTA IV, but since they deliberately screwed it up to get people buying consoles i refuse to do it.

And you blame me for those 6k people getting sacked? Cry-me-a-river mr. ethics, but i am having a lot more internal moral struggle wearing clothes from China and living in a country with subsedised farming.

Another aspect of this is executive failure. While on a personal level software piracy is wrong, it is also very predictable and logical. Executives get paid top dollar to deal work out the best way for the company to deal with that. Then when they fail to come up with a realistic revenue model, they blame everybody else and sack 6,000 of their own people. People that they were very succesfully squeezing every last penny out of by the way. The worst part is that after all that, people like you defend these idiots. :(
If i forget to lock my bike and some1 steals it, i blame myself for not locking it, not the asshat that took my bike. There's always going to be asshats, you just have to find a proper way to deal with it, like locking your bike. Unfortunately, this is where the analogy ends, because you cannot "lock" software. So far, EA has done everything they could to encourage piracy.
Krayzie_B.o.n.e. 20th December 2009, 11:02 Quote
EA can kiss my cache. they said no Madden on the PC so I say F@#$ s&!$ b*% (Front side bus ) !
EA your not loosing sales due to piracy (same old lame excuse) your loosing sales cause your games suck, your company is run by people who never ever played a video game and have no vision and are stuck on stupid and a lame business model. EA and DRM can drown in each others feces.

Stop making the same game with only a different key word in the title. Fire every one with an executive position, buy all your stock back and go private because sucking up to share holders has made EA a decadent cesspool of latte drinking ass clowns from space who are trying to make a buck off the old Electronic Arts name instead of making new and high quality products. I hope the Sims is somehow related to Al Qaeda and the Taliban and the government shuts you down.

If the Ceo is going to make job cuts then he ought to start with his job first cause he's the MORON who signed off on all that crap being released by those idiots at EA. and don't blame the Economy cause Modern Warfare 2 is selling faster than stolen merchandise.

Stop paying all these athletes to promote your sports titles and instead pay the developers who made Electronic Arts what it is today. (mostly the ones who quit when EA became a mid afternoon soap opera). I refuse to buy or pirate anything from EA because EA Eats A**.
Bindibadgi 20th December 2009, 11:19 Quote
You do realise this news story is a year old? You're ranting about something that happened over a year ago..
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