You know what everybody loves when they first wake up? Me neither. But would you want the President of one of gaming’s most successful and influential companies talkin’ nerdy to you in the morning? Then read on, you naughty gamer you, because that’s exactly what happened. Let’s breakdown the recent publicly-issued letter sent out by Electronic Arts (EA) President Andrew Wilson and see if it sets any direction for the future . Please take a look at the letter if you haven’t before reading on, I’ll be breaking down staff changes last.
The short version is that EA is promoting people into executive positions who have played major roles within the company very recently. Certainly not the indication of change many were hoping for, since some of these employees have played a major role in EA’s recent actions and games that have earned the spiteful eye of the internet’s hive-mind.
I share the opinion of many in regards to the state of EA. They have been on a steep, downhill slide in quality creativity and managing long-term franchises and developer relationships. I’m not sure the people who have been glorified in the letter deserve it, and extending their reach and responsibilities in the company is not something that inspires confidence for the company’s future. Obviously they share and work toward Andrew Wilson’s vision for EA, and that might be all that matters
Generic Bad Guy Monologue
To start off, Wilson references the so-called success of “Player First,” “One Team,” and EA’s “Digital Transformation.” These are just goals and visions that Wilson has for EA, not so much noteworthy projects the company has actually completed, or anything remarkable.
Notice the absence of positive statistics, sales, and stock information that usually accompanies these letters, probably because multiple major releases like Mass Effect Andromeda, Need for Speed Payback, and Star Wars: Battlefront 2 all undersold and underscored. These are just a few reasons EA is burning under an intense spotlight in 2018.
Then, Wilson goes on to describe his plan for building EA to even greater heights in the near future. Wilson predicts the active player base of gamers will reach over 3 billion people, and that EA’s games must offer “endless fun and choice to all,” and that this statement is a big part of his—and EA’s—passion for gaming.
Reshuffling the Deck
Patrick Söderlund to Chief Design Officer
From the armchair of DICE, the former CEO of DICE has slowly climbed through EA—almost as fast as EA has put the Frostbite engine in most of their studios. As Chief Design officer, Söderlund will now be more involved with the big picture and making sure everyone is dancing to the same beat. He shares many views with Andrew Wilson about the future of gaming as a service.
Laura Miele as Chief Studios Officer
Laura Miele has been on a tear through EA’s ranks during her 20 years in the human resources department and is described as a leader in defining a broad culture at EA. She’s credited with being a huge player in acquiring deals and directing EA’s present and future with Star Wars games. She also replaced Peter Moore recently, who was shipped off to work with EA’s Esports division. She’ll now have more reach with EA’s studios and developers in a role close to Söderlund
Blake Jorgensen is Chief Operating/Financial Officer
Jorgensen was the guy who defended Star Wars Battlefront II’s lack of color customization by saying, “you probably don’t want Darth Vader in pink because it would violate the canon.” Jorgensen also famously said in another interview, in regards to their player base that they want to, “improve and monetize the experience along the way.”
Chris Bruzzo was already head of marketing, but he is getting a new team, according to this letter. Mala Singh has been Chief People Officer at EA since 2017. EA seems pleased with her influence on the company’s culture politics.