EA to Try "Soft Launches" With Future Live-Service Games

EA to Try "Soft Launches" With Future Live-Service Games

The picture is of a missile launch that's the joke.

pocru by pocru on May 08, 2019 @ 06:04 AM (Staff Bios)
EA had its Q4 2019 financial results conference call yesterday, and before you fall asleep I promise we’ll only be talking about the interesting part of the call, specifically when EA CEO Andrew Wilson addressed the big power-armored elephant in the room: Anthem.

First, he acknowledged that the game was performing below expectations, but then re-stated his commitment both to the game and to the studio which made it, which would be a lot more reassuring if Visceral wasn’t still warm in the ground. Regardless, he also took some time to address the reason why he thinks Anthem didn’t do as strongly as it could have. But instead of addressing the obvious causes that Kotaku pointed out about things like mismanagement, a lack of direction, no resources, soul-breaking crunch, etc., he blamed a different culprit: release schedules.

"The reality is, it's not just an EA challenge, it's an industry-wide challenge… You're moving from what was initially a BioWare game which would be somewhere between 40 and 80 hours of offline play to 40 to 80 hours of offline play plus 100 or 200, 300 hours of elder game that happens with millions of other players at scale, online."

Elder game being the endgame where people stop progressing normally and start having to do some weird stuff to get stronger/be rewarded.

"You should expect that we'll start to test things like soft launches—the same things that you see in the mobile space right now. And it also comes down to changing how we communicate with players. Our entire marketing organization now is moving out of presentation mode and into conversation mode, and changing how we interact with players over time."

So in future, whenever EA plans to launch a big games as service thing, they’ll release it slowly, in chunks, managing expectations while giving themselves space to change direction if they should find something isn’t working. Which is frustrating for me because that’s actually a reasonable system and it might work.

Less to make fun of.


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