Electronic Arts, Inc. (EA) (NASDAQ: ERTS) is an international developer, marketer, publisher and distributor of video games. Founded and incorporated on May 28, 1982 by Trip Hawkins, the company was a pioneer of the early home computer games industry and was notable for promoting the designers and programmers responsible for its games. Originally, EA was a home computing game publisher. In the late 1980s, the company began developing games in-house and supported consoles by the early 1990s. EA later grew via acquisition of several successful developers. By the early 2000s, EA had become one of the world's largest third-party publishers. In May 2008, the company reported net annual revenue of US$4.02 billion in fiscal year 2008. Currently, EA's most successful products are sports games published under its EA Sports label, games based on popular movie licenses such as Harry Potter and games from long-running franchises like Need for Speed, Medal of Honor, The Sims, Battlefield and the later games in the Burnout and Command & Conquer series. They are also the distributors of the Rock Band and Left 4 Dead series. EA reported a $1.08 billion loss for the financial year ending March 2008. Revenue for the same period was up to $4.2 billion, a 15 percent rise from the previous year’s $3.6 billion.
- EA All Play - Founded ??
- EA Baton Rouge - Founded ??
- EA Brazil - Founded ??
- EA Casual Entertainment - Founded ??
- EA China - Founded ??
- EA Deutschland - Founded ??
- EA France - Founded ??
- EA India - Founded ??
- EA Japan - Founded ??
- EA Korea - Founded ??
- EA Montreal - Founded 2004
- EA Romania - Founded ??
- EA Russia - Founded ??
- EA Salt Lake - Founded 2006
- EA San Francisco - Founded ??
- EA Singapore - Founded ??
- EA Games - Founded ??
- EA Maxis - Founded 1987
- EA Redwood Shores - Founded ??
- Maxis Salt Lake - Founded ??
- Maxis Melbourne - Founded ??
- Maxis Helsinki - Founded ??
- EA Sports - Founded 1991
- Easy Studios - Founded ??
- European Integration Studio (EIS) - Founded ??
- Motive Studios - Founded 2015
- Respawn Entertainment - Founded 2010
- Uprise - Founded 2012
The EA Partners co-publishing arm is dedicated to publishing and distributing games developed by third-party developers. EA Originals is a program within Electronic Arts to help support independently-developed video games. The program was announced at EA's press event at the 2016 E3 Conference.
Frostbite: The first iteration of the Frostbite game engine made its debut in the 2008. The newest version, Frostbite 3, released in 2013. Said to be one of the most powerful engines available but also the hardest to work with. It is not ideal for RPGs.
Criticism and Controversy
Since the mid-2000s, Electronic Arts has been at the center of numerous controversies involving acquisitions of companies and alleged anti-consumerist practices in their individual games.
Public Distrust: In 2012 and 2013, the company was named "Worst Company in America" by Consumerist, while in 2018 it was named the #5 most hated company in the United States by USA Today.
Studio Acquisitions: The company developed a reputation of acquiring development studios, primarily for their intellectual property (IP) assets rather than for the studios' talent, and then subsequently forcing changes on the studios that impacted the quality of their work. The studios were then deemed no longer necessary due to poor performance and dissolved.
Treatment of employees: It is not uncommon for publishers and developers to have employees work extra hours near the last few weeks or months of the development cycle to make sure a game is released on time, often unpaid as such workers are classified as exempt from overtime pay; this is commonly known as "crunch time". In 2004, Electronic Arts was criticized for employees working extraordinarily long hours, up to 100 hours per week, as a routine practice rather than during the "crunch time" period.
Game Quality: In 2006, the games review aggregation site Metacritic gave the average of EA games as 72.0 (out of 100). Since 2007, EA's aggregate review performance had shown a downward trend in quality and was expected to affect market shares during competitive seasons. EA had also received criticism for developing games that lack innovation and for charging full market price on games that are updates of previous titles rather than being brand new games.
Sports Licensing: On June 5, 2008, a lawsuit was filed in Oakland, California alleging Electronic Arts is breaking United States antitrust laws by signing exclusive contracts with the NFL Players Association, the NCAA and Arena Football League, to use players' names, likenesses and team logos. This keeps other companies from being able to sign the same agreements. In June 2016, EA settled with Jim Brown for $600,000. On September 26, 2013, EA settled a series of wide-ranging class action lawsuits filed by former NCAA players. The settlement is reported to be around $40 million, to be paid to between 200,000 and 300,000 players.
Loot boxes: EA's initial approach to loot boxes during Battlefront II's open beta period involved pay-to-win elements, containing unlockable characters that otherwise would require hours of play to acquire through in game funds, in-game boosts only earnable through loot boxes, and other effects. Both Belgium and the Netherlands issued rulings that loot boxes may be considered unregulated gambling but EA refused to comply with new laws and continued selling games with "surprise mechanics" (aka Loot Boxes) to minors. In the United Kingdom, EA defended its use of loot boxes, saying they "didn't agree" with studies that demonstrated a link between Loot Boxes and the development of gambling addiction.
Pro-Censorship: EA along with Activision Blizzard and Bungie, started a petition in 2021 to censor games they deemed too violent, starting with the unreleased Six Days in Fallujah. The move was seen as an unnecessary attempt to appease news media and stifle video game creativity. The petition may also violate the Federal Trade Commission's ban on "Group Boycotts" - companies, especially those with market power, banning together against targeted individuals or bushiness.
Forcing Frostbite: EA forces its developers to use EA's Frostbite Engine in order to avoid the licensing costs that come with using someone else's engine. The Frostbite Engine is said to be very powerful but hard to work with; suited mostly to shooters and few other genres. Mass Effect: Andromeda and Anthem were two games that suffered a troubled development cycle in part because of the Frostbite Engine.
EA Games fan