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Why has EA Sports been successful? Oh, of course...the special sauce

11:00 AM on 02.23.2008 // Samit Sarkar

Every now and then, it’s good to have a person come out and speak on behalf of a faceless corporation. Sure, they’re all just out for blood, glory, and those bills in your wallet — but seeing a real, live person talk about the company that he or she works for does two things: (1) it proves they’re not all just robots who churn out products, and (2) it humanizes the organization and shows that they legitimately care about you, the consumer. In fact, the current CEO of Electronic Arts, John Riccitiello, has ingratiated himself with our very own Jim Sterling by owning up to past transgressions.

Then, of course, you’ve got the Ken Kutaragis of the world — the people who are great for sound bytes. It seems that we may have found one of his disciples: Philip Holt, the General Manager of EA Tiburon (developer of every Madden game), was interviewed by Ars Technica before speaking at GDC this past week. The Q&A touched on such topics as the recent extension of EA’s exclusive NFL license, future projects for Tiburon, and the developer’s commitment to quality. But what caught my eye was a query about the perennial triumphs of EA Sports’ titles:

Ars: Looking at EA Sports' other franchises where there is competition, it seems like the EA titles are still the fan favorites. What is that secret recipe, that magic formula, that makes EA games succeed even where there is that competition?

Holt: That's a good question. It's hard to answer because it's the little bit of special sauce. Clearly, there's a level of...

EA Sports has published a lot of great games, and people used to wonder how they kept doing it, year in and year out. Well, now we know — and my guess is that EA hoards the recipe to that secret sauce like Coca-Cola and Kentucky Fried Chicken do for their signature creations.

[via Ars Technica — thanks, Colette!]

Samit Sarkar,
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