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EA CEO: Recent departures purely "coincidental"

EA CEO: Recent departures purely "coincidental"

Wed 29 Jan 2014 12:56am GMT / 7:56pm EST / 4:56pm PST
BusinessPeoplePublishing

Andrew Wilson says that there was no connection at all between the different departures at Criterion, PopCap and Chillingo

On the publisher's earnings call following its third-quarter results, EA CEO Andrew Wilson addressed a question from an analyst about the string of studio founders that all left the company within the span of a week at the beginning of January. Dave Roberts and Jason Kapalka decided to leave PopCap, Alex Ward and Fiona Sperry left Criterion to form a new company, and Chillingo founders Chris Byatte and Joe Wee also moved on from EA. Wilson said that the timing was simply coincidental, and he reiterated EA's passion for creative talent.

"As a company we're a creative organization. I came up through the creative side of the organization and I still have a deep passion for bringing in new creative talent and keeping our talent, but also as part of a creative industry people come and go for all kinds of different reasons. You've seen some recently have left and these changes happened to be announced in a short window, which was more coincidental than anything and there definitely was no connection between their departures," Wilson stressed.

"EA as an organization, we've got over 8,000 amazingly talented and creative people and we'd love to see these people have the opportunity to step up and lead our studios - guys like John Vechey at PopCap, Matt Webster at Criterion and Ed Rumley at Chillingo have all been at their respective studios for a long time and bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm and new creative thinking to their roles. These studios all have exciting work underway..."

Earlier in the call, there was lots of discussion about the new consoles, and EA banged its chest heavily, noting that its software sales on Xbox One and PS4 have been exceeding expectations. Peter Moore also said that we shouldn't forget about the large installed bases of the previous Xbox 360 and PS3, and he noted his belief that Microsoft and Sony will continue to support these aging systems.

"Having been around that Xbox business, I think Microsoft is committed to the 360 for a number of years and I anticipate both Sony and Microsoft getting behind their platforms at least for the next two years and bringing them to a 10-year cycle as we saw with the previous cycle," he said.

Moore's also been impressed with the replenishment of inventory for the new consoles and he reiterated his belief that the combined shipments for Xbox One and PS4 should eclipse 10 million worldwide by the end of the fiscal year in March.

As well as things have been going for the new consoles, however, there's still a bit of caution on the lips of execs at the publisher. CFO Blake Jorgensen noted, "I do think we're still in a bit of an air pocket between the new consoles coming out and the old consoles, where many of the consumers are still waiting on the sidelines and that's why you haven't seen one-for-one replacement in software. Our assumption is that'll start to go away over time and it'll settle into a normal Gen3 business.

"We still ship some Gen2 software so we think Gen3 will be around for some period of time and we think it'll be a viable part of our catalog going forward and it could grow if for some reason the prices came down on the Gen3 consoles and brought new consumers into the market in places around the world that have not yet had access to the boxes."

6 Comments

Christian Keichel
Journalist

616 836 1.4
"We still ship some Gen2 software so we think Gen3 will be around for some period of time and we think it'll be a viable part of our catalog going forward and it could grow if for some reason the prices came down on the Gen3 consoles and brought new consumers into the market in places around the world that have not yet had access to the boxes."
The way to count console generations show how very far away EA is from reality, not only that it tosses the rich heritage of the 8 and 16 Bit consoles away as useless prehistorian garbage (and the rich heritage of the 8 and 16 Bit homecomputers as well, machines EA released some All-Time-Classics for) by insisting on counting different from anybody else in the industry, EA shows they still see themself in the industry as some kind of unreachable market leader, a position they briefly had in the late 90s, when there refusal to release their games on Dreamcast was a real disadvantage for Sega' and at least one big coffin nail for the system.

Posted:6 months ago

#1

Chris Lewin
Software Engineer

20 67 3.4
Wow. I'm impressed you can assign such a rich variety of meaning to a numbering system.

Posted:6 months ago

#2

Christian Keichel
Journalist

616 836 1.4
Maybe that's the wrong assumption, but I always tend to think if a company invents a numbering system for hardware generations, that nobody apart from them uses and insist on using it in every of their press releases, they have thought about it and want to give a message by using it.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Christian Keichel on 29th January 2014 1:29pm

Posted:6 months ago

#3

Eric Boosman
Creative Director

14 7 0.5
So SNES and Genesis were actually GEN0 which is kind of cool. NES and SMS were Gen-1? 2600, Intellivision, ColecoVision Gen-2? It's confusing and I'm missing some steps probably.

Posted:6 months ago

#4

Mats Holm
Technical Process Analyst

53 38 0.7
So, been in EA for a while, and I have heard many suggestions on why they call it 3rd or 4th gen. Some argue its iteration vs generation. I never got behind that one. Some argue its due to the Engine generation that was made from PS1 to PS2, so that was called a second generation of the engine, and the term stuck. I think this hits closer to the truth.
It could also be other stuff, like current console makers (not counting Nintendo) it is Sony's 4th generation and Microsofts 3rd. Some could argue that it was with PS1 that you could really start cross platform development. Others can say that while there existed a multitude of consoles before the PS1, generation shifts were not as clear cut as they were after this. Maybe it all started to pander to Sony?

I dunno, but I have been hearing this since I joined in 2008, and frankly no idea when it started. If you can find some really veteran EA people they might know how it all started.

Posted:6 months ago

#5

Morville O'Driscoll
Games Blogger & Journalist

1,508 1,282 0.9
Others can say that while there existed a multitude of consoles before the PS1, generation shifts were not as clear cut as they were after this.
That's a weird one, since the shifts from NES to SNES to PS1 are far more clear-cut than PS1 to PS2. *frown*
Maybe it all started to pander to Sony?
I was thinking something similar, but also not... The PS was when games really hit the big time, and investors took more of an obvious interest in games companies. Perhaps it's to do with that? PS1 > PS2 > PS3 > PS4 = 4th gen? Makes it easier for investors (as opposed to gamers or historians) to mark time.

Posted:6 months ago

#6

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