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An Open Letter to EA Marketing – Why EA’s Controversial Ads Harm the Industry – Extra Credits

An Open Letter to EA Marketing – Why EA’s Controversial Ads Harm the Industry – Extra Credits


(Intro Music) Ugh Look. EA. We gotta talk. You were a big part of our childhood I love games like starflight, Buck Rogers, Centurion, Rings of Power Pretty much the whole Genesis Yellow Clip Collection is still sitting on James’s shelf Even his first copy of M.U.L.E has your stamp on it. And while I think you’ve made a series of strategic missteps in the last half decade To this day there are games that you’ve published that I praise, even here on the show But there’s something you’ve been doing lately that we’ve really, really gotta talk about No, it’s not the buying of companies that clearly don’t fit into your corporate culture It’s not even about what it takes to kick off new IP We have got to talk about your marketing. You gotta stop this! You’ve got the biggest, most powerful marketing arm in the industry And you’re using it to set us all back It’s not helping anyone. Not even you! No. Not even in the short term. Let’s take a brief look at your recent history, starting with Dante’s Inferno You had an opportunity here to do something great with the medium. something truly moving you were working with one of the most compelling pieces of literature in the western tradition but instead you gave us this and then you made Dante a templar and then…I…Don’t even… bleh but alright, alright. Not the end of the world. Yes, you were missing a monumental opportunity which is frustrating but, hey. No harm, no foul but then you started to market it… first, you started here. You hired fake protesters to pretend to be religious zealots picketing your game yo got these fraudulent Christians to stand outside your headquarters waving signs and chanting pretending to be morally offended that your would treat their religion in such a flippant way You even had some of them carrying signs saying “hell is not a game!” Nice touch who are you helping by mocking and belittling people’s faith? every negative thing people say about the maturity level of games and gamers you are reinforcing here we shouldn’t be paying people to say that games aren’t the right medium to talk about any subject especially when you didn’t have any intention to treat that subject with respect yourself After that, you ran your “Sin to Win” contest Here’s a picture of the actual contest announcement Yup…Pretty “classy” An advertisement on a girl’s chest with instructions that read Commit acts of lust with any booth babe, prove it, repeat all of this for the grand prize of a sinful night with two hot girls A limo service, paparazzi, and a chest full of booty is there any more tone deaf a way to portray us as the worst stereotype of adolescent boys? And you know what? while nobody really cared about your subpar game your marketing set us all back five years The outrage over the Comic-Con incident spilled far past the traditional gaming press And while you did try to tone it down after that, you even managed to piss off the International Nanny Association with fake reports that the game would include an achievement called “Bad nanny” Awarded for killing a yet undetermined number of unbaptized infants You know how hard it is to piss off people who watch other people’s five year olds for a living? Now, you may have laughed all of this off That you limit the future audience for games You give ammo to the people who say that games are nothing more than a way for children to waste time Maybe you don’t really care about that so, rather than talk to you about the high and noble things you can do with the medium I’m going to talk about something I KNOW you care about. your bottom line Let’s skip ahead a few months to the relaunch of Medal of Honor This was another mediocre title that should have passed like a whisper in the night. With nothing but the sighs of disappointed fans to see it on its way But it didn’t. The US Army took umbrage with the idea that Medal of Honor allowed players to play as the Taliban And, you know what? They were in the wrong with that one. you, EA, were in the right And you know what, many of us in the gaming community were willing to fight night and day to see that your game wasn’t censored based on the medium that it was in Many of us were willing to stand with you and fight for the idea that there is no subject that other media can address, that you shouldn’t be able to. But you left us no ground to stand on. The army simply pointed to the generally juvenile perception of games and said “People are giving their lives. You will not treat this with the frivolity of a game.” In the end, you caved, and the Army said, “we don’t care”, and banned it from being sold on US bases anyways. Between all those soldiers and their families, that’s a lot of lost sales for a game that, last I heard, barely pushed the 2 million mark So that brings us to the present A newly humbled EA Finally understanding the impact they’ve been having on gaming’s image. tries to move the medium forward and improve their bottom line with respect– Oh come on EA! -Women on screen: “Oh my God,” “oh!”, “ugh!” “I think it would make a person become insane!” “This game is an atrocity” Commercial narrator: “It’s revolting It’s violent. It’s everything you love in a game And your mom’s gonna hate it Mother: “Why would they even make something like this?” -Dan: Why indeed? See what you did? You just marketed an M-rated game to teens Good job! Not only that, but you did it in a way that everybody hates! You threw all of gaming under the bus, for an ad that anyone that is over 13 is gonna find patronizing, grating, and stupid anyways You’re not even going to improve sales with it! If Dead Space 2 sells, it’ll be on the merit of the game, despite the ad Not because of it So, EA, please, you gotta stop! You’re selling short gaming’s future, for what? A few dollars today? Not even that! It’s for some desperate attempt to demonstrate That you’re still relevant! That you’re still a driving force in this industry But, you know what? If you want everyone to know that you’re still one of the most important forces in gaming Make good games and show the world what gaming can become! That’s all we need, and I promise, we will rally around you when you do. One last thing As I sit here writing this, I have in my lap an ancient copy of M.U.L.E. And with it came this statement from Electronic Arts Looking at that reminded me of another old artifact I had An aging magazine with stiff, browning pages Let’s read it together Can a computer make you cry? Right now, no one knows. This is partly because many would consider the very idea frivolous But it’s also because whoever answers this question, must first answer several others. Why do we cry? Why do we laugh or love or smile? What are the touchstones of our emotions? Until now, the people who asked these questions tended not to be the people who ran software companies Instead they were writers, filmmakers, Painters, Musicians They were, in the traditional sense, artists We’re about to change that tradition The name of our company is Electronic Arts We are a new association of electronic artists united by a common goal To fulfill the enormous potential of the personal computer In the short term, this means transcending its present use as a facilitator of unimaginative tasks in a medium for blasting aliens in the long term, however, we can expect a great deal more These are wondrous machines we’ve created And in them can be seen a bit of their makers It’s as if we’d invested in them an image of our minds And through them we are learning more and more about ourselves We learn, for instance, that we are more entertained by the involvement of our imaginations than by a passive viewing and listening We learn that we are better taught by experience than by memorization And we learn that the traditional distinctions The ones that are made between art, and entertainment and education Don’t always apply Music: “On the worst day of Christmas, Lucifer said to me Nine hellish circles eight quarter worms seven beasts a-screeching six nasty newborns five (indecipherable) four mind freaks three headed dog two purple peaks and a Dante’s Inferno demo!” Dan (continued) In short, we are finding that the computer can be more than just a processor of data It’s a communications medium An interactive tool that can bring people’s thoughts and feelings closer together Perhaps closer than ever before And while fifty years from now its creation may seem no more important than the advent of motion pictures or television there’s a chance it’ll mean something more something along the lines of a universal language of ideas and emotions Something like a smile The first publications of Electronic Arts are now available. We suspect you’ll be hearing a lot about them Some of them are games like you’ve never seen before That get more out of your computer than any other games have Others are harder to categorize And we like that Watch us We’re providing a special environment for talented, independent software artists It’s a supportive environment in which big ideas are given room to grow And some of America’s most respected software artists are beginning to take notice We think our current work reflects this very special committment And though we are few in number today, and apart from the mainstream mass software marketplace We are confident that both time and vision are on our side Join us, we see farther This is who you were, and who you can still be If you want to be that again, we will be with you every step of the way See you next week! (outro music: Theme/Bryyo) (captions by William Sculley)

100 thoughts on “An Open Letter to EA Marketing – Why EA’s Controversial Ads Harm the Industry – Extra Credits

  1. given how hard EA is fucking up now, they really need to figure out a way of going back to their roots in terms of ethos. people would probably hate them less.

  2. At least they stopped doing those awful ads… Or at least… maybe nobody watches them anymore. As for everything else though? Deeper down the rabbit hole we go.

  3. Humbled? They're thriving on making everyone as angry as possible. Just like a lot of politicians. They survive by appealing below the lowest common denominator.

  4. I like how every comment is how EA is still stuffing up but, the comments complaining about it were written in a different years

    It's been six years and it's still the fucking same

  5. Major problem. EA isn't run by developers, or old hands from game publishing… It's run by people from packaged goods. People who know how to sell you domino's pizza, people who think it's low-brow crap for the stupid masses. That's how the people running EA think video games should be treated. That's why their advertising comes off as tone deaf. They don't care about advancing the medium, or anything else. They're of the idea that they're selling low brow crap to frat boys. EA was once about games being artistic, that time is long gone and now EA is an anathema to gaming as a whole. It's a company that needs to go away, because it's been rotted out from its core.

  6. The only way to fight bad publicity is with worse publicity. EA has become the butt-monkey for every joke involving evil or incompetent companies led by people who are out of touch or just plain morons. Encourage this practice, especially in the video-game industry so that "bad gaming" becomes synonymous with EA. Make it marketing poison to be associated with the brand even to the smallest extent and other companies would avoid it like a plague. Associate it with everything wrong with the industry and turn it into a symbol of that, something which must be toppled for video games to advance. Unite gamers and non-gamers, haters and supporters alike over this common enemy. Make small companies willing to burn themselves to the ground before selling themselves to EA and large companies quite willing to burn EA down to the ground.

    Will it save EA? Definitely not. This will (hopefully) ensure its downfall. An infected gangrenous limb is not worth risking one's life for, better to cut it off. The other companies and the industry as a whole should take this view.Whether they improve (or just pledge to do so) is irrelevant. An example must be made here for all to see. EA is decadence, EA is avarice, EA is ignorance, EA is corruption and EA is just wrong. So let it burn.

  7. Hello from May 2018! Where EA has learned jack shit and is digging deeper and deeper pits to sink their IP in.

  8. "Can a computer make you cry?"

    "The people who asked these questions tended not to be the same people who ran software companies."

    Probably because anyone who tried to program knows a computer can make you cry.

  9. Okay 1) I'm happy that Disney realized that EA were crooked and ended up fireing them.
    2) when the song started playing at the end I was thinking to myself "that's Stemage isn't it? I recognize those drumbs anywhere, it's gotta be Ste-yeah, there we go."

  10. when you watch after star wars battlefront 2 and they nearly unintentionally raised the age rating of every blizzard game and their own

  11. That ad was an actual ad for the game? Come on.
    Look, I've loved EA's games in the past. But that is just not right. I can't even wrap my mind around that.
    The 12 Days of Christmas parody though… nice touch. 😉

  12. And now we have LOL saying "do you wanna play some video games? I sure know I do. I haven't seen the sun in years"

  13. Messing up military things makes sense but classic pieces of literature? Uh you probably should have driven home how impotent the divine comady is and home mutch the game is self messed up. Side note I never heard of it Cuz I am I minor but one what you said they took inferno and pressed the popular thing to game botten

  14. 2012: This is bad, you gotta stop this
    2015: You hit rock botton, it cant get worse
    2018: I was wrong! Congratas for being the worse tech support company of 2018
    and don't get me started on SIMCITY, SIMS or Battlefront

  15. Sounds like the corporate overlords and the ad men think real gamers (their customers) are exactly the way gamers are portrayed in TV and movies, and they're trying to market to a stereotype. Once a private company becomes publicly traded (i.e. a corporation, beholden to its stockholders), it sells its soul, it loses its ability to pursue a singular vision, and it is forced (by law) to engage in nothing but the most cynical short-term profiteering.

    It's sad, but it shouldn't surprise anyone. The soul of the company was in those articles from so long ago, and their IPO was the price tag for that soul, as it is for all companies.

  16. They used to be Electronic Artists
    But now they are doing Electronic Sabotage on its own community with these ads

    And then loot boxes happened…

  17. I know by this point a lot of viewers only know EA as the hated company they are today. But what he said about EA's beginning is true. The founder of EA, Trip Hawkins, always seemed to be seeing the industry about 10 years down the road. He looked at the simple space shooters and maze games of the era and knew in his gut that we would have amazing experiences decades later like The Last of Us. The 80's were actually a pretty magical time for EA. They used to put their games into big vinyl record-sized sleeves (like the M.U.L.E. case mentioned) because they wanted them to be viewed in the same way as music and other forms of art. Hawkins left EA in the early 90's to form 3DO, which itself was a couple of years ahead of its time and suffered for it. EA was never really the same after he left it. The accountants took over and it has all been about maximum profit at all costs since. I do understand that they are a business and need to make profits but it seems like they keep hurting themselves for it when they really don't have to.

  18. On the bright side, looking back at 2018, we did get Sea of Solitude which to me, looks like an amazing game. If you have not seen the trailer, please do. You will be doing yourself a favor. Also, the primary trailer for Anthem seems to have toned down a lot, giving some real character to the good guys, making it about protecting people rather than killing for sport. Just saying it's a good start telling how it's been a while since something like this.

  19. If EA is being given a second chance by fans, Bethesda deserves it too, despite Fallout 76. I mean, for God's sake, YES, Fallout 76 is garbage, but it's still just one terrible game against a whole collection of good ones. They have comparetively done less harm than EA

  20. I would love to know how many AAA actually watch this show. I want big gaming giants to see this stuff. It's important.

  21. It's incredibly sad and frustrating that you've since gone back on your word that games don't deserve to be censored. But hey, I guess it's just a part of being in clown world 2019🤡🤡

  22. EA's crime list
    1-destroyimg awesome game developing companies
    2-PRIORITIZING awesome game developing companies when it comes to destroying game developing companies
    3-looting the destroyed game companies and getting their awesome games'IPs and creating terrible sequels for them,destroying the awesome games' franchises and dirtying their names forever
    4-filling the terrible sequels to the brim with coercive microtransaction and lootbox funding mechanics
    -X a lot more
    WHY THE HECK WE DIDN'T ARREST EA?!

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