EA Not as Bad as It Seems, According to Matt Bilbey

EA's Vice president of strategic development, Matt Bilbey, talks about the support it gives to independent development and its plans to offer a Netflix-style service.

By itsamurray, Posted 09 Jul 2019

Electronic Arts did not enjoy an excellent reputation from the public or from developers the last couple of years. This bad reputation is due to various corporate policies that, over the years, have given the Californian company a discreet collection of bad episodes ranging from mass layoffs to bad working conditions of employees. To to tell the truth, situations such as those mentioned above characterize the video game industry as a whole and at all levels, whether the company is big or small.

Vice president of strategic development of Electronic Arts, Matt Bilbey, does not accept to take on the role of the bad guy: "I have been in EA for 25 years and I still fight against that external perception that sees us as a group of bad guys", he confessed to Gamesindustry.biz. "We love making games and playing them. Unfortunately, when we make mistakes the whole world comes to know of it because of its size and proportions." To run in defence of his own company, Bilbey cites the EA Originals program, through which the publisher finances the projects of the small developers by retaining only a part of the profits necessary to cover the expenses. A rather unusual type of agreement, and very far from the logic of the publisher that we used to know, but which is certainly not a form of charity.

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Beyond the partly philanthropic aspect of the company, Originals is also a way to flesh out the catalogues of those services on which the company seems to have focused a lot on. “We think that streaming will extend the geography and typology of gamers", explains Bilbey, "and then there's the subscription format, which is how we all enjoy music and other media today ... put these two things together and the proposal becomes quite interesting. But precisely because of this, as an industry we need more games, large, small and of all kinds". The idea is similar to that of Netflix Originals - and even the name, although Bilbey points out that EA has thought of it before the streaming service did. Subscriptions are a great insurance for the company for the future and it was not by chance that it was one of the first to embrace the concept of video games as "services".

EA’s shares have fallen by almost 5% just this weekend. According to CNBC, the cause would be the not so exciting results registered since the launch of season 2 of Apex Legends, which in a few months has practically halved its fanbase on Twitch (50,000 views for the newly updated game against the 100,000 of March), proving that, after all, predicting the future is not easy for anyone.

Andrew Murray, NoobFeed

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General Information

Apex Legends


Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, PC
Publisher(s): EA
Developer(s): Respawn Entertainment
Genres: First-person Shooter
Themes: Science-Fiction
Release Date: 2019-02-04

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