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Reader Comments (20)

Posted: Jul 23rd 2008 7:56AM (Unverified) said

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From past experiences with the business practices of his company, I think this is more of a EA issue than anything else haha.

Posted: Jul 23rd 2008 9:05AM (Unverified) said

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EA has changed, at least it's leadership, but investors often don't understand what they are investing in, they just see money. They don't care about the product, they care about money. Investors are scum-sucking asshats, typically, who would sell their own mother into slavery to make more money. But then, it's what capitalism is all about, pursuing money at the cost of everything else. Have to change the system overall.

Posted: Jul 23rd 2008 10:28AM (Unverified) said

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"If what Mr. Riccitiello is saying is that any investor doesn't give a sh*t about their quality, would that include us gamers?"

No. An investor is someone who purchases shares in a publicly-traded company, or someone who initially funds product development in exchange for a percentage of the return. A gamer is someone who consumes the product of that company.

Seriously - what is the average age of the writers on this site?

Riccitiello is right. Investors care only about ROI (return on investment). An investor does not care about the product quality. If the company makes its targets every year and pays dividends or raises stock value, investor happy. If not, investor unhappy. Whether the company got to either point with Spyro or Sonic or Master Chief or Bubsy is immaterial.


Posted: Jul 23rd 2008 10:36AM (Unverified) said

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That comment about investors being gamers is to present The Greenskin's side of the story, which I directed the reader towards in the article, if read completely.
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Posted: Jul 23rd 2008 10:45AM (Unverified) said

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Yeah - i see that. He's out to lunch too.

An *investor* INVESTS money for a return of money. A gamer PAYS money in exchange for entertainment.

A gamer is no more an investor than he is a warrior, a fighter, a bard, a guitar hero or a cooking mama.

(Of course, the article was written by a guy who spells "encouraged" with an "i".)
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Posted: Jul 23rd 2008 12:30PM (Unverified) said

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Actually, I never used incouraged OR encouraged in my opinion piece. That was a commenter on my site...

And what about the investment of time? To be sure, a shareholder and gamer are NOT the same thing, but there are similarities in general terms.

Each of them hopes to get something in return for what they put into it.
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Posted: Jul 23rd 2008 12:36PM (Unverified) said

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Oh, and I guess you forgot to read this part of my piece:

"Technically, I suppose an investor and a gamer are two different beasts if you compare them strictly by financials. The gamer is always in a depreciating situation monetarily because the game will never give him or her a financial reward (unless you count eBay). Then again, the gamer isn’t as concerned about financial rewards. They just want to have fun and that is all the reward they need."
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Posted: Jul 23rd 2008 12:39PM (Unverified) said

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But it takes the CEO's comment WAY beyond his intention. He's trying to say that the people buying shares in his company don't particularly care much about the quality of the games they produce. i have shares in a gold mine in Northern Ontario. The safety of the mine, the quality of the ore, etc etc - none of that really interests me. i leave that in their capable hands, and watch my mailbox for dividends.

i get what you're both trying to do - you're trying to suggest that the CEO is admitting his company makes a poor-quality product, and that he thinks his customers don't "give a shit". i just feel you're both twisting it painfully. He's talking about investors and money, not gamers and the number of new features in Madden.
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Posted: Jul 23rd 2008 12:39PM (Unverified) said

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"Then again, the gamer isn’t as concerned about financial rewards."

That's my point. That's why it's misleading to refer to gamers as investors. "Investing" time != investing money.
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Posted: Jul 23rd 2008 2:45PM (Unverified) said

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Lol, are you even reading what I wrote? :P

1) I am definitely not trying to say that the CEO thinks EA makes crappy games or that his customers don't care about quality. I'm not even saying I think EA makes crappy games... I was drawing some parallels between investors and gamers and I do point out that they are not one in the same but they do share commonalities...

2) Invetors and gamers both care about what they get in return for the money given out of their pockets. The investor wants to get more money back. The player wants to have fun. They are not identical, but at a certain level, they are similar.

And for you to not care about the company you're investing in isn't the most responsible way to go about investing your money. Sure, regardless of company history and what "might" happen in the future, you "could" walk away with a lot of dividends.

However, the safety of the mine and richness of the ore will undoubtedly have an impact on the kind of returns you're going to see. If the ore is rich and the mine is safe, hey, good investment... if the ore is crap and the mine collapses causing a huge lawsuit against the company by the dead miners' families and the crown for not following certain procedures, say goodbye to all your investments.

What you're describing is risky and with great risk CAN come great reward. It can also come with great failure...
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Posted: Jul 23rd 2008 10:59AM (Unverified) said

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Most of the time, the investors may as well be putting their money into basket-weaving for all they care about the final product.

Besides, isn't EA itself proof that quality isn't necessarily tied to profits?

Posted: Jul 23rd 2008 11:08AM (Unverified) said

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Depends if you are a long term or short term investor. If you are a short term investor that only cares about money, I guess you won't care that much. If you are a long term investor that wants the company to do well over time, you should care, because a bad reputation means less profits in the long run.

A stock holder should care, since a stock is the present value of future dividends. However there may be a delay with a quality of a game being factored into consumer demand, profit, and then eventually stock price.

Overall this CEO is stating a bad example of the morel hazards of short term appropriation. World of Warcraft being the excellent counter example of being well polished, with very high returns, over a long period of time.

Posted: Jul 23rd 2008 12:32PM (Unverified) said

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Rating: 5 (Insightful) ;)
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Posted: Jul 23rd 2008 11:54AM (Unverified) said

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Electronic Arts has come a loooong way from its roots when it promoted game developers as "rock stars" and the games themselves were packaged in "albums" similar to vinyl records of the day. Now they are just another souless, uncaring corporate entity driven by one and only one motive: profit -- just like Atari. Sad.

Posted: Jul 23rd 2008 12:29PM Anatidae said

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Uh...

Investors... well, they invest to make money. It is true that they want the largest return possible on their money, yet they typically don't have forever to wait for that return. Eventually, everyone wants to get paid.

If the developer has convinced the investor that it is the quality of the game that will make the sales, then the investor will probably care a lot about the quality. A good example would probably be Spore, where the game has a very long wait for return on investment, but the developer pitch that the quality of Spore will make it a best seller for years to come is the return. And it will probably be as much.

Most MMOs, investors are pitched on the box sales and subscriptions. So a game like Conan, well, of course they released it unfinished. Hell, they could have known it was going to be a mess. BUT because the market offered nearly no new MMO competition and they had a good hype machine going, Conan had a solid box sale run. Each box sale forces you to subscribe and although people can quit, it has been known from UO days that a large number of people are apathetic and don't quit the game, even after they stopped playing. Heck, I pay for CoH and only play it hard every couple of months.

Does an investor care all that much that Conan had so many bugs and problems resulting in a rocky start. Maybe a little as there is risk of a lower subscriber base. But with strong opening sales and a lack of new competition for a while, I think an investor in Conan is more than happy with their return right now and would do it again even if the game were a bit crappier. Releasing Conan made good business sense.


Now, unless a player is purchasing stock in their game's company, they are not an investor. And, lets say I took your income and invested it in a new MMO. You go to work every day, but now your payday is attached to how well this MMO does and how much you can get back from it. Over time, years, you might find yourself rather hungry for that money... after all, there are bills to pay.

Posted: Jul 23rd 2008 12:42PM (Unverified) said

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Brian! - you're speaking mostly of a pre-development investor. i think Rigatoni (Rice-a-Roni?) is talking about the type of investor who just buys big blue chip EA stocks and waits around for dividends.

Posted: Jul 23rd 2008 3:16PM (Unverified) said

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I see where the original Blogger is going but can't say I agree. Just as EVERY product has regular customers (I probably spend more per month on Milk than my MMO) a subscriber is merely a customer.

An interesting take on the investor/subscriber comparison but flawed if only for the fact that the customer never has a say in the way a company does business. The worst they can do is decide to NOT be a customer.

Posted: Jul 23rd 2008 7:31PM Wouldzey said

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Investors dont give a crap about quality, nor story, or gameplay or what abilities a class has. They are not investors to play games, they are only bothered about (like john said) earnings per share. The couldnt give a rats ass about how that is increased. If rubbish quality games get more earnings per share then boom, thats what they want.

But EA has changed, the leadership understands that through quality comes greater profits but the investors dont need to know that. All they need to know is that X strategy leads to greater profit.

Bloody Ferengi!

Posted: Jul 23rd 2008 7:35PM Wouldzey said

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Oh and a few have already said.... Subscribers are not investors, they are stakeholders (not to be mistaken with shareholders).

These comments having nothing to do with gamers.

Posted: Jul 24th 2008 12:48PM wjowski said

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Straight from the horse's mouth! Oh yeah, you just know that KOTOR MMO is gonna rock.

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