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How does Electronic Arts keep players hooked?

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The gaming industry has faced significant changes and disruption in the past few years. As one of the world’s biggest publishers of video games, how is EA responding to the challenges?

The gaming industry has faced significant changes and disruption in the past few years – from massively multiplayer online role-playing games to mobile games to the new entrant of virtual reality. After being voted by the readers of Consumerist.com as the most hated company in America 5 years ago, Electronic Arts (EA) has been in the middle of the storm as they have traditionally been the leading incumbent with legendary platforms such as Madden NFL, Battlefield, the SIMs, and FIFA.

To redeem themselves and win back the customers, EA deployed a big data strategy, by strategically utilizing existing data and proactively gathering new data from their games.

  • Keeping players hooked is the name of the game, and Big Data is helping EA do just that. For example, if a particular point during a game is too hard and is causing too much frustration among players. EA would make appropriate adjustments to keep the players continuously engaged. [1]
  • Before its new, big games, EA would offer pre-release test versions and collect feedback early from the players. The initiative was very successful, and millions of players would sign up to participate. Hence, the official release of the game would give gamers exactly what they wanted. [2]

EA’s data-driven approach has enabled its share price to double in the past two years, as it reshapes around data and connectivity.

EA still faces significant crossroads ahead as the gaming ecosystem is continuing to face rapid change from new hardware platforms such as VR to changing gaming preferences from consumers and gamers around the world. I believe that EA can truly continue become not just a leader in the industry but that it can become a global leader if it harnesses the continued growth of global innovation. Gaming preferences are not standardized. Gaming preferences are local and are particular to every system and country. EA needs to continue to be a global leader by using data and connectivity wisely and promoting global innovation. EA can do this by continuing to promote innovation centers in the local culture, building joint ventures with local gaming companies (such as game developers in China), and to view global opportunities for growth. EA needs to critically think about how it can promote the right activities and developments to be a truly global gaming leader.

 

Reference:

[1] What EA’s turnaround teaches marketers about big data. Kelvin Claveria. 2015.

[2] Electronic Arts: Big Data and video gaming. Bernard Marr. 2016

2 thoughts on “How does Electronic Arts keep players hooked?

  1. Thanks for sharing. How do you think EA was able to make such a big mistake with Battlefront 2? The way they handled loot boxes has fundamentally changed the industry and how it views micro-transactions and has even led many gaming platforms to change their policies and even some governments to enact regulations to change how loot boxes are managed. Given their reliance on data and player feedback, its surprising they were able to have such a misstep.

  2. I was curious on the same question as the above comment. It seems like a company that collects so much customer data and feedback should have been able to avoid such a huge PR disaster. I wonder if it was just an issue of greed for more revenues or if some data they had collected led them astray – possibly related to the differences in preferences across regions and platforms.

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