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EA: "We've asked for too much time, too much skill, too much money"

By Matt Martin

EA: "We've asked for too much time, too much skill, too much money"

Wed 25 Sep 2013 3:16pm GMT / 11:16am EDT / 8:16am PDT

Players learning from mobile, not Miyamoto; user content more important than in-house devs, says Hilleman

EA's Richard Hilleman has said that the console industry has demanded too much from the consumer, with players turning to innovation in the mobile space for their gaming entertainment.

Where once young players learned from video games designed by Shigeru Miyamoto, they now pick up lessons in play from the touch screens of iOS devices.

"I thank Miyamoto for that," he said of the Nintendo designers historical contribution to games. "But he's falling down on the job. And for the past five years that job has been taken over by a dead guy from Cupertino."

"We've asked for too much time, too much skill, and too much money, sometimes all at once," he told the audience at D.I.C.E. Europe today.

"Customers today... are generally looking for a single fabric of play. They want their game where they want it, when they want it, and at a price they can defend to other people."

He suggested that the next generation of consoles can get gamers back if it learns from new trends, where players have become content creators and the focus in development has shifted from hardware to software. According to EA research, mobile games hold the attention for 90 seconds and PC games for 90 minutes, but consoles can keep engagement for two hours at a time.

"Once I get your butt on a couch, I can get two hours for sure. That granularity means I cannot build the same game on every platform. I cannot build Battlefield on every platform."

Next generation games consoles will be more focused on updates to software and services rather than hardware specs, which will scale back the reliance on physical sales and mean the systems will be in a constant state of evolution rather than staggered over time.

"We are no longer in step function; we are in evolution," he said. "We are not changing every four years; we are in continuous change."

"Gen 4 will increasingly become a surrogate to the development of the platform overall, to the point where the hardware doesn't even matter any more."

He also highlighted the importance of user generated content and artwork in the new gaming ecosystem, suggesting that users will be just as important, if not more so, than staff employed in-house.

"Maybe these guys are the new software artists, and that means they will be the key strategic resource for the future... And they know it."

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Steve Goldman Journalist.

81 92 1.1
Popular Comment
Is that idiot for real on Miyamoto? Then again this is EA. I have never seen someone so delusional

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Steve Goldman on 25th September 2013 6:19pm

Posted:3 years ago


Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd

1,025 1,486 1.4
Popular Comment
I don't have to defend the price I pay for games to anyone. I pay that price for me, and only for me, and I don't regret it in the slightest. It's very silly to believe that everyone sees gaming in the same light you do. Just as there are many people who enjoy mobile games much more than I do, there are a lot of kids who greatly prefer console games to mobile games, and there are certainly people who believe challenge and triumph are some of the best things life has to offer us little humans.

So, no thanks Mr. Hilleman. I reject your one-sided vision of the future, and accept a more multidimensional one with a variety of vehicles through which to experience gaming on many levels.

Posted:3 years ago

Popular Comment
There is so much wrong on this diatribe, that I do not know where to start.

Posted:3 years ago


Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,610 1,686 0.6
@ Nicholas: Couldn't have said it better myself...

Posted:3 years ago


Matt Walker Production Coordinator, Capcom

41 23 0.6
Everybody keeps touting digital as the future - has anyone actually brought up stats that show digital vs retail games sales on a per title basis? Everything I've seen shows digital sales still make up a very small percentage when compared to physical console game sales...

Posted:3 years ago


Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,498 1,896 1.3
"We've asked for too much time, too much skill, and too much money, sometimes all at once," he told the audience at D.I.C.E. Europe today.
Sounds like a company which has not grown up with their audience and is finding it hard to recruit new players when those have grown up on games very different from what EA has been doing.

Either try to ride some coattail in an attempt to reach the new audience, or try to adapt to the life reality of the old customers who did not magically stop playing games because they grew older. One choice includes the danger of alienating the old customers if new paradigms are ruthlessly applied to all products. The other choice might not seem profitable enough in the short term as it implies reconnecting with their audience first.

Or blame Nintendo for not delivering customers at EA's doorstep by educating them to only play games in the style EA is doing.

Posted:3 years ago


Daniel Hughes Studying PhD Literary Modernism, Bangor University

436 497 1.1
Great post, Nicholas.

Posted:3 years ago


James Boulton Tools & Tech Coder, Slightly Mad Studios

146 186 1.3
There is an audience out there for all types of game. Dumbing down all your offerings just because of the latest fad is plain crazy. Give me a Miamoto game over the latest temple run clone any day...

Posted:3 years ago


Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game

1,292 456 0.4
Perhaps the "too much money they have been asking for," is more that they have been applying F2P monetisation methods to non F2P games, and the people who find a pay upfront method agreeable feel nickle and dimed, whilst fans of F2P arn't going to pay the entrance fee.

Posted:3 years ago


Jakub Mikyska CEO, Grip Digital

228 1,263 5.5
Popular Comment
If the console gaming is ever going to die, it won't be cause it failed as a market, but because of delusional guys like this one, who consider his customers to be idiots, so he treats them like they are.

"He also highlighted the importance of user generated content and artwork in the new gaming ecosystem, suggesting that users will be just as important, if not more so, than staff employed in-house."

That really made my day :-) It reminds me when some "visionaries" predicted that YouTube will kill TV because everyone is going to watch only what other people have created. Who's interested in that final episode of Breaking Bad anyway, huh? ;-)

Posted:3 years ago


Sam Brown Programmer, Cool Games Ltd.

235 164 0.7
Reminds me of the time years ago when the CEO of the company I was working for (you can probably recognise which one, it was a pretty famous comment at the time) dictated that all our games should be much shorter, as most people got less than half way through a game before giving up, therefore there was no point in making the second half of the game. Yeah, that's what happened alright.

And as far as relying on user-generated content goes... I think we've had ample evidence since the first Doom map that Sturgeon's Law is alive and well. I don't want to have to wade through eight million tons of crap to get to the good stuff. I have enough of that with the app stores.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Sam Brown on 26th September 2013 11:48am

Posted:3 years ago


Tosin Balogun Studying International Business, Anglia Ruskin University

23 21 0.9
I think he has a solid point in saying the consoles definately need to be an ever changing platform, given the little entry barrier and ever growing threat of substitute products, it is a matter of importance or the consoles would die out faster than predicted

Posted:3 years ago


Caleb Hale Journalist

175 284 1.6
If I'm going to play someone's game, I want to know they did a little more prep work than read a market research report and stick their finger to the wind. Show some bravery. Design and build a game based on what that particular game demands and what your creative vision entails. The only thing console gaming has demanded of me, so far, is patience as I wait for the industry to figure this out.

Posted:3 years ago


Christopher Bowen Editor in Chief, Gaming Bus

479 813 1.7
This just sounds like someone who, as Caleb notes, is doing a bit of market research and trying to hit "trends". I'm not interested - as a gamer - in trends. As a writer, yes, but that's only because I like to take the piss out of them.

Also, insulting the most singularly loved game designer in the history of our medium? Not a great way to endear yourself to people.

Posted:3 years ago


Sam Brown Programmer, Cool Games Ltd.

235 164 0.7
Ah! Remembered the quote that's been nagging me since I read this article:
"We were in the jungle, there were too many of us, we had access to too much money, too much equipment, and little by little we went insane."
I'm sure we can all take caution from that. ;)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Sam Brown on 26th September 2013 3:43pm

Posted:3 years ago


Renaud Charpentier Game Director, The Creative Assembly

91 232 2.5
4 years ago "the one and only future" predicted by the average guru was Social Gaming...
"User generated contend" has been applying for a job as next killer trend... for the last 15 years.
I am surprised he didn't went for "Oculus Rift" and "Cloud Computing".
Ha, yes, and just 6 years ago, strictly no one foresaw mobile gaming becoming what it is.

Eternal respect to Miyamoto-san and long life to gaming diversity, from 30 second phone poking to 6 hours raiding!

Posted:3 years ago


Nick Parker Consultant

362 260 0.7
Very strange observations from Hilleman as he is an old and wise hand from being one of the early employees of EA. He may be badly advised as the EA research, regarding mobile games only holding 90 seconds of attention, suggests. 90 seconds, I wish, as I have three young mobile gamers in my home and if I switched their phones/iPods off after a minute and a half , there would be uproar. Are publishers still behaving like King Canute regarding the popularity of mobile gaming?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Nick Parker on 26th September 2013 6:47pm

Posted:3 years ago

As GTA storms with one ot the biggest launches of our industry, the speech of this so-called "expert" looks less and less serious.
Let's not talk about comparing the revenue perceived by the mobile games market, against something smaller, let's say, Pokemon sales.

Posted:3 years ago


Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant

1,692 595 0.4
Are publishers still behaving like King Canute regarding the popularity of mobile gaming?
Great swathes of the industry are in denial.
They refuse to see the facts in front of them.
Ostriches is another analogy which is applicable.

Posted:3 years ago


David Serrano Freelancer

300 273 0.9
The problem was not asking for too much time, it was consistently failing to provide the majority of the audience with the preference aligned incentives and meaningful rewards needed to keep them engaged and motivated to play.

The problem was not asking for too much skill, it was consistently turning a blind eye to the fact there were actually different types of players in the modern core audience and many weren't motivated to play by a desire to be challenged or to master skills. And as a result, core developers consistently failed to provide those players with the preference aligned incentives and meaningful rewards they needed to remain engaged.

The problem was not asking for too much money, it was asking the same price for all games regardless of the actual quantity or the quality of the content. And then labeling consumers who complained as entitled crybabies or game illiterate.

And the big problem is collectively... these other problems negatively impacted the perceived value of core games for the majority of consumers. Which is why 7 to 8 console owners out of 10 stopped buying and playing core games years ago.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by David Serrano on 15th October 2013 9:17pm

Posted:3 years ago


Shane Sweeney Academic

505 603 1.2
.....he says as Super Mario 3D World goes onto sell a truck load of copies as countless people fawn over it's game design.

Posted:2 years ago


Julian Cram Producer

54 33 0.6
The finale of Mork and Mindy had more people watch it on television than Breaking Bad.

Just sayin'.

Posted:2 years ago


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