Sep 24, 2013
EA have been lacking a CEO since March when John Riccitiello left, and finally, have decided on Andrew Wilson. His appointment is at a crucial stage, with the next generation of consoles coming up, and EA are changing as a company quite dramatically. Andrew will be sure to impact how EA deal with the surge in mobile devices, and how casual gaming develops.
Andrew has been with the company since 2000, and have gone through many stages since, and has been the executive producer on Fifa, so he has a lot of experience. He claims he wants is wants to begin “instilling a culture of execution that will drive profitable growth”, which, although ambiguous, shows he is looking to advance the company. No doubt the transition to all-digital will continue, alongside producing the same AAA titles the company are famed for. Digital gaming will be an expensive venture now, that maybe he won’t have the guts to take, yet it will happen when the industry is ready.
So, what does his appointment signify? Well, as far as strategies go, it seems they will continue to attempt to dominate both consoles and mobile platforms, as he stated “I envision EA as the World’s Greatest Games Company”. At least he has ambition.
Free-to-play is a relatively new concept EA have undertaken, with The Sims appearing on mobile platforms, alongside Simpsons: Tapped Out, both proving popular with microtransactions. These monetization methods seem cemented in EA’s business model.
Wilson appears to be backing the company trying out new ideas, as they “fail fast”. This would come as a breath of fresh air to the company, who have undergone many transformations over the years, but are known for stagnant gaming clichés and various sequels. He seems very up for innovation, as Gabe Newell claims is on the PC platform, and so perhaps Wilson could bring this to EA titles on consoles.
However, this has to be taken with a pinch of salt. Andrew Wilson was head of the EA Sports division, and it seems this is one of the reasons for his appointment. EA make a heap of money from pushing various sporting games year after year, and it seems by focusing on this, they can increase revenue. Perhaps then, he will be there to encourage this division, which is hardly a place for innovation.
He does highlight how the company are “listening to our consumers every step of the way to ensure we are delivering on what they expect from us”. EA have always been a company to exclude feedback, yet seem to be changing their ways. With the recent Humble Origin Bundle, EA seem to be developing a change in face by donating proceeds to charity. EA have also stopped asking for online passes on consoles, as fans were disgruntled with having to pay for them after purchasing used games. And also, Origin allows games to be refunded if you do not enjoy them. All can only be good for the consumers.
In some ways, it shows that EA were making a safe move by choosing him. He doesn’t appear to have any radical stances to alter the company, despite striving for innovation. He seems set to continue with EA’s strategy, which is no doubt very profitable. Yet there is the fact he lack CEO experience in general, despite previous leading roles, and shows EA embracing fresh ideas at the top of their business. Perhaps EA are more concerned over their EA sports branding than producing new quality franchises. Only time will tell if he makes a true impact on the industry, and the quality of EA games. My personal prediction? Very little will change. But I’ve been wrong before.