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EA's Gibeau compares Zynga exodus to Syrian crisis

EA's Gibeau compares Zynga exodus to Syrian crisis

Tue 11 Sep 2012 8:13am GMT / 4:13am EDT / 1:13am PDT
Publishing

President of labels' crass remark follows latest departure at social studio

Electronic Arts' president of labels Frank Gibeau has compared the exodus of executives at games firm Zynga to the ongoing and bloody conflict engulfing Syria.

The remarks are likely to be seen as crass by many, with Syria currently being torn apart by civil war resulting in more than 225,000 refugees fleeing to Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq. According to the United Nations, large scale human rights violations are taking place, including executions, shelling of populated areas and torture.

"Zynga's about as stable as Syria right now," said Gibeau to the LA Times, following the news that Jeff Karp, chief marketing officer at Zynga, was the latest to leave the firm. Karp was previously at EA before joining the FarmVille publisher.

Gibeau's remarks highlight the ongoing rivalry between the two companies, but his gloating isn't likely to be endorsed publicly by the Battlefield and Medal of Honor publisher.

EA has recently had to downplay a promotion deemed tasteless by the press and public - it had endorsed the sale of weapons featured in the new Medal of Honor game, including a custom-built Tomahawk and a tactical sniper rifle kit.

Yesterday the publisher announced a new map pack for Medal of Honor Warfighter, Zero Dark Thirty, based on Kathryn Bigelow's forthcoming movie about the manhunt for Osama Bin Laden. For every copy of the $9.99 map pack sold, EA will donate $1 to non-profit veterans organisations.

17 Comments

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
These Zynga execs have all just received a huge lump of money from the IPO. They never need to work again.
So they are leaving to do things that interest them more.
Understandable really.

Not exactly the same as using attack helicopters and tanks to obliterate homes and the women and children inside them.

Posted:2 years ago

#1

Craig Page Programmer

390 234 0.6
What he said is kind of funny, but what's worse? A quick Zynga death, or a slow painful EA death by a thousand stupid ideas (Origin, Day 1 DLC, nonstop bad PR, and a double billing department).

Posted:2 years ago

#2

Aric Norine Animation, Next Level Games

13 19 1.5
Popular Comment
His comment was not a serious comparison of Syria and Zynga and nobody except news-hungry journalists and oversensitive culture hawks thinks it was. Chill out.

Posted:2 years ago

#3
I agree, hes makign a mountain out of an ant-hill.

I also think, with all the "Zynga's Gonna PWN You!" crap EA's had from the media over the past 2 years, a little crowing here, while not the high road, is perfectly understandable human behavior.

I think we're gong to see a lot of petulant articles this year from a media that doesn't wan t to admit how wrong it was.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jeffrey Kesselman on 11th September 2012 6:13pm

Posted:2 years ago

#4

Abraham Tatester Producer

71 53 0.7
Regardless of whether you think the statement is true or not, crass or not, it is undeniable that the smack-talking knows no bounds in the executive suites of EA. If I worked there, I'd be wishing my bosses would just grow up and start steering the company in the right direction, rather than worrying about what direction other companies are going.

(Do journalists have to take these guys out to get drunk in order to say these things, or do they just say this stuff when they're sober?)

Posted:2 years ago

#5
"(Do journalists have to take these guys out to get drunk in order to say these things, or do they just say this stuff when they're sober?)"

You know, I worked with this Distinguished Engineer at Sun. Sweetest, nicest midwest raised guy you ever met. Almost never a harsh word for anyone.... until you set him down at an FPS and then things streamed out of his mouth that would make a sailor blush.

To a certain degree, this sort of high-testosterone trash talking is part of the hardcore games culture. It shouldn't be all that surprising that people who are immersed in it do it. Compared to their customers, EA execs actually are pretty restrained.

Posted:2 years ago

#6

Christopher McCraken CEO/Production Director, Double Cluepon Software

111 257 2.3
Uh. This comment was poor form. Poor form no matter how you slice it. We can all say what we want about Zynga, I personally don't really consider them a game company, to be honest. But, comparing the slow financial bleeding of a company that has made millions upon millions of dollars for those who started it, and will sleep undisturbed tonight in their beds.... to a war zone where real people, real children are being murdered and shelled to death is simply poor form. In a civilized society (the ones not shelling their own population, for those keeping score) we call out such poor form comments for what they are: crass and not tolerated.

@Jeffery Kesselman: excusing this under the umbrella of "This is part of the culture" is a poor defense. It was a poor defense for Aris Bakhtanians, Every time someone repeats "it's just part of the culture" it makes it easier for the next media rube to pin video games for things like shootings at schools and other types of immature social behavior. Because such excuses become cumulative and add up...to the very culture you are excusing. The culture keeps begetting itself, with the help of comments like yours. Where I come from, you make sensible analogies and comparisons based on scale, and reason. If you want to justify such reality detached comments, you are of course free to do so. However, don't be surprised when you get called out for doing so. =)

Posted:2 years ago

#7
Popular Comment
"But, comparing the slow financial bleeding of a company that has made millions upon millions of dollars for those who started it, and will sleep undisturbed tonight in their beds.... to a war zone where real people, real children are being murdered and shelled to death "

That would be poor form... but it didn't happen.

What he did was to compare the economic stability of a company to the political stability of a war torn nation.
Anything else is in your head, not his mouth.

And this is a separate issue from trash talk in the industry, so your entire response to me is as off base as your response to him.

Posted:2 years ago

#8

Laurens Bruins Jaywalker, Jaywalkers Interactive

135 158 1.2
Sure, it's poor form. The point that is being made here is not that it's not in poor form, it's that it doesn't warrant a sensationalist article like this one.

Posted:2 years ago

#9

Aric Norine Animation, Next Level Games

13 19 1.5
Jeffrey is right.

Posted:2 years ago

#10

Mats Holm Technical Process Analyst, EA BioWare

55 50 0.9
So, had a look at the original article, and frankly we have no idea what Gibeau was asked here, or how this statement came about. Did Frank chase down a bunch of journalists and go "Hey guys listen to my awesome one-liner about Zynga: It's about as stable as Syria" or was it more that a journalist wanted his input on the recent leavings, and maybe asked "How stable do you feel Zynga is at this time, with all the recent leavers?" and he made the offhand comment: "Oh, its about as stable as Syria" and they both had a laugh about it, and then he talked a bit more about EA's new online vision.

All in all, I think it was a casual remark, to a casual question, and not an official EA approved statement that was signed and stamped by our legal and press departments.

Posted:2 years ago

#11

Romily Broad Community Manager, Electronic Arts

1 2 2.0
This isn't a news article, and this isn't news.

Posted:2 years ago

#12

Dave Herod Senior Programmer, Codemasters

528 788 1.5
A pathetic article, blatantly just a desperate pounce on an excuse to make an EA exec look bad.

Posted:2 years ago

#13

Hurple CEO, Zattikka Ltd.

9 0 0.0
Very reserved for you Bruce. EA are bitter and twisted down to the core about Zynga.

Posted:2 years ago

#14
Maybe in the future, one can have a affirmation stating " I endorse and approve this article for its veracity and accuracy"

Posted:2 years ago

#15

Steve Nicholls Programmer

66 29 0.4
Frank is a fool, EA should watch who mouths off to the press.

Posted:2 years ago

#16

Peter Kasim Animator

3 11 3.7
To everyone defending the statement as a simple "joke" let's employ a bit of balance. If an executive publically compared the collapse of a rival company to the collapse of the twin towers in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 the backlash would, quite rightly, be enormous.

My family are living in constant fear in Damascus right now where gunfights and shelling have been intermittently battering their immediate vicinity. Everyone knows someone who has been killed or horrifically injured, and a generation of people who have never experienced war or upheaval have had their once normal lives completely torn apart. I don't think they would find the comment appropriate and neither would the families of the tens of thousands dead and displaced so far in the conflict. Some respect and sensitivity isn't a lot to ask.

Posted:2 years ago

#17

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