Monday, August 08, 2005

Lather, Rinse, Repeat

Thanks to DQ reader Don Barree for letting me know about an article in the New York Times about Electronic Arts. Here's the link (free registration required):

The article is titled "Relying on Video Game Sequels" and here's an excerpt:
Increasingly, industry analysts and game reviewers are wondering if the company's dependence on sequels is a sign that it is losing its creative edge.

By year's end, Electronic Arts plans to release 26 new games, all but one of them a sequel, including the 16th version of N.H.L. Hockey, the 11th of the racing game Need for Speed and the 13th of the P.G.A. Tour golf game. The company also relies heavily on creating games based on movies like the James Bond and Lord of the Rings series, rather than developing original brands.

Holy crap! Twenty-five sequels out of twenty-six games? I'd have to say when over 96% of your released titles are sequels, you aren't "losing" your creative edge--you've lost it.

Even funnier, here's EA's response:
Lawrence F. Probst III, chairman and chief executive of Electronic Arts, dismisses that view. "The teams that work on the franchise properties have a great deal of pride in constantly looking to improve the product," Mr. Probst said. Besides, he said, sequels, because they have a steady following among consumers, appeal to Wall Street investors.

He added that the company had a goal of putting out at least one entirely new game every year, and had several major original games in its pipeline.

A "goal" of one new game a year? Damn, Larry, don't be so crazy ambitious. Remember Icarus.

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