EA Finally Bought The “Ears” DLC, Claims They’re Now 50% Better At Listening
I’d be worried if EA wasn’t doing anything with the exorbitant amounts of money they siphon from gamers. I wouldn’t be surprised though because EA CEO Andrew Wilson’s face has the look of someone who doesn’t adequately moisturise after taking a dip in his money pool. That said, it seems they’ve gone and bought themselves a pair of ears because Wilson believes the company is finally listening to gamers.
Wilson admitted in a recent interview with GamesIndustry International that the company has come up short in more than a few areas. One of the big ones being listening to user feedback.
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Wilson credited the rise in digital gaming for EA being better equipped than ever to make changes on the fly.
“One of the things that we’re learning as we make the digital transformation is that we don’t need to guess what players want any more. For the longest time we had to guess, and the first opportunity to find out whether you got it right or not was when you saw the game on the shelf,” he said. “Now, we’re getting better at listening. We haven’t always been great listeners, but we’re getting better, and what that’s telling us is that people want choice. They want to be able to choose what’s right for them at a given moment in time. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all any longer. We’ve got to build a core platform, game engines, and games that facilitate that.”
I’m not so sure about that. EA’s mobile games are still some of the most atrocious “games” I’ve ever seen with near everything in them locked behind a pay-wall.
It’s regular games however, have been decent and thus far we have yet to see another case of Dead Space 3-style microtransactions from EA. That does not mean they’re listening however. The company is still engaged in all the reprehensible practises it was before because that’s what everyone else is doing.
That said, perhaps this is a slow process and although EA doesn’t deserve it, I would be willing to give them time to change. Not that I’m holding my breath on that account.
Recently EA launched what looked to be a service with the consumer in mind rather than the company’s bank balance. EA Access is supposed to be a service that, for a monthly subscription, would open users up to a vault of games that would only grow with time. Sounds great. However, in almost no time at all it became yet another pay wall where things such as demos were locked behind the subscription fee.
“Over time, the value will just get better and better and better, in much the same way that Netflix does,” Wilson said. “When I started subscribing to Netflix, there was no House Of Cards, there was no Orange Is The New Black–there is now.”
Wilson makes a valid point but it helps nobody to try and inject value into the service by locking out things that were previously free to all.
Also in the interview, Wilson says ensuring that gamers feel they receive a fair value for their money–whether it’s for a free-to-play game or a $60 boxed product–is important to him going forward. “Back in the day, it was all about delivering $60 of value; now, I want to deliver $1 of value if you want to spend $1, I want to deliver $10 of value if you want to spend $10,” he said. “I want to deliver value on your investment and on your investment of time. As you get older you realize that time is the most important resource. We should think about the investment of money, but also the investment of time.”
It’s great that Wilson can be so frank but really, talk is just that and EA hasn’t done anything to substantiate what Wilson is saying.
EA might be listening but they sure as hell aren’t acting on anything they hear just yet.