EA are the kings of a certain type of gaming experience, as they look to wring every possible cent from their games. The step away from single player attests to this fact.
EA, like Activision, is a looming shadow in the gaming community. Every time they turn their heads, they’re trying to either flatten the world of gaming into something dry and bland, or trying to squeeze every red cent out of their customers.
This time, the company has made a foolhardy and infuriating decision that involves another Star Wars game, coming after the firestorm about the microtransactions in Battlefront II. EA, in some kind of indiscernible marketing move, has decided to close Visceral Games, the brilliant studio that brought into the world the Dead Space series, as well as Battlefield: Hardline. This studio was also working on an upcoming single player, story-driven Star Wars game. You know, the kind of game that people have been wanting since Star Wars: 1313 was cancelled.
“As we kept reviewing the game, it continued to look like a much more linear game, [which] people don’t like as much today as they did five or ten years ago,” EA CFO Blake Jorgensen said. “It was an economic decision at the end of the day.”
No collection of words has been more indicative of total ignorance of their industry and consumer base since Activision CEO Bobby Kotick said that they were going to make the StarCraft 2 experience so good that people wouldn’t want to have LAN parties.
The line also being bandied around is that closing Visceral was due to “fundamental shifts in the marketplace”, which players have rightfully interpreted as “it’s harder to sell loot boxes in a purely single player game”. It’s almost as if EA is completely blind to the success of every single Bethesda game, or the Uncharted series, or Wolfenstein, or Sonic, or Resident Evil, or Zelda: Breath of the Wild. And people are furious.
The line Jorgensen is spewing just doesn’t match up with reality. If he was being honest, he would just say “we want to only make games with microtransactions” or “we want to make Overwatch, but Star Wars” – admit that, like previously-respected-but-now-widely-disliked game company Konami, they want to go towards a different style of gaming.
“We will pursue mobile games aggressively. Our main platform will be mobiles,” Konami’s 2015 statement reads. “Following the pay-as-you-play model of games like Power Pros and Winning Eleven with additional content, our games must move from selling things like ‘items’ to selling things like ‘features’.”
EA wants you to buy their games, but then pay for the pleasure of playing them, as well as paying to actually succeed within the game. They are turning gaming into gambling, and the house always wins. EA has become an enemy of fun, to the point where they are almost cartoon villains, sitting in a glass-walled boardroom, throwing bundles of money at each other and cackling.