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EA: Quality alone doesn't generate sales

7:59 AM on 12.10.2008 // Jim Sterling
  @JimSterling

It's been pointed out by other writers before, but I must agree it's ironic that Electronic Arts is losing money the moment it stops churning out sequential garbage and at least tries to generate original IPs. I might not personally enjoy what EA's put out lately, but a lot of people have and you'd think this apparent surge of quality would generate hits. This is something EA itself has noticed, as CEO John Riccitiello has stated that originality is just part of the equation.

"While we saw significant improvement in the overall quality of our key products this year, that quality has not yet translated into enough sales," he explains. "So far in calendar 08 we have shipped 17 titles with Metacritic scores of 80 or above versus seven this time last year. Quality is a prerequisite for a great selling game - but it is not the entire equation.

"We did manage to put quality and innovation on the board, and we're very proud of that. Many times, what happens with a new intellectual property is the first edition doesn't generate the units that subsequent editions can generate, and I would argue that in this particular year the consumer might have more reticent to take risk than they might otherwise be, in a very crowded Holiday."

We complain about there being too many sequels and not enough originality in this industry, but it really is the market's fault. Just look at how Call of Duty: World at War, a game which essentially copied Modern Warfare but dragged the game back to WWII, is outselling its more original predecessor. Just look at how Madden continues to be one of EA's greatest hits, despite it having higher rated, less derivative titles on the shelves. Just look at what happened to Killer 7 or Okami

We attack companies for retreating the same old ground, but after this, I wouldn't blame EA if it stuck to whoring out its franchises.



Jim Sterling, Former Reviews Editor
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