EA hasn’t been in a lot of gamer’s good books over the last few years, lurching from one controversy to the next. Whether it’s SimCity’s always-online approach and teeny tiny cities, Battlefield 4’s atrociously buggy launch, FIFA 14 on PC using the last-gen engine, or Maxis enraging fans by removing swimming pools and toddlers from The Sims 4, not much has gone quite right.
All that’s just a snippet from the last 18 months though, but EA has admitted it’s not blind to this criticism, with CEO Andrew Wilson claiming that while the publishing giant hasn't always been a great listener in the past, he insists it's getting better going forward.
It’s a case of damage limitation for EA, who hasn’t exactly had a treasure trove of good will to fall back upon. We're seeing the first instances of an alternate approach with Battlefield Hardline, which after a host of criticism following the open beta has been pushed back to a 2015 release. EA and Visceral claim this was to make a number of significant changes to the gameplay and polish it up in time for launch. Another bad reception for the Battlefield series could spell doom for the franchise, so this is taking a high priority.
“One of the things that we’re learning as we make the digital transformation is that we don’t need to guess what players want any more,” said Wilson during a recent interview. “For the longest time we had to guess, and the first opportunity to find out whether you got it right or not was when you saw the game on the shelf.”
Now players can give feedback at earlier stages and Wilson is keen to address this, claiming that players want choice, and a core platform to build from. “We haven’t always been great listeners, but we’re getting better,” he said.
We know so far that this has resulted in the EA Access platform on the Xbox One; a monthly subscription giving gamers access to certain EA titles. Whether this is what gamers actually want still isn’t clear yet, but it’s at least novel to see Electronic Arts changing its approach. Do you think EA is learning from its past mistakes? Has its conduct in the past put you off purchasing EA titles? Let us know!