This week my employer, Electronic Arts, made the difficult decision to close our Chicago studio. It was deemed a business decision as that studio was not profitable and would not be profitable for at least two years. The move put about 150 people out of their jobs though EA was trying to do its best with relocation assistance.
The news made headlines with nearly all the large gaming web sites. I read a lot of the comments that average gamers left after reading the story. Now, I know that EA isn’t the most beloved gaming company in the biz but some of the comments left by people were quite surprising.
While most people felt for the employees who lost their jobs, some commenters openly cheered the closing of the studio, as if this was some sort of gamer victory for the little guy. More than one poster hoped that this was the beginning of the end for EA as a company. For some, the closure of an EA studio made their day.
Just to show you how you can’t please everyone, average gamers in the past have been openly hoping that EA would stop making games because they didn’t like EA. Then when EA closes a studio, which meant EA had to shelve any games in progress, people said this move made them mad. What do people want?
It’s kinda of weird working for what is most likely the most hated gaming company in the business. People openly hope that the company that I work for and depend on for my livelihood will go out of business. Can you imagine that? Take Joe who works for an insurance agency. Can Joe go to a dozen web sites and read about how people hope his company goes under? That’s the position I’m in.
Now the Internet being what it is, I probably shouldn’t care what a bunch of 12 year olds think. It’s just difficult to understand their rage since I’ve only worked as a developer on one EA title. Now that title happened to be skate. which oddly enough, is mentioned in discussions like, “I hate all EA games but skate. I hear is surprisingly good“.
Luckily, while the haters are a vocal group, they certainly don’t outnumber the people who do buy EA games. Also, if all EA games suck then why did Madden 08, FIFA 08, NHL 08 and skate. all get Metacritic scores above 80 (on both Xbox 360 and PS3)?
At the risk of partaking in one of the seven deadly sins, I have to say I’m proud to have been an EA developer on skate. EA isn’t going away any time soon, so all those haters better stock up on that bile.