Alright, calm down love. Hear me out on this one.
I visit a number of gaming websites to catch up on news and views on as many varied aspects of gaming as I can gather. There’s this one site I go to that delivers pretty good news but the views expressed by the contributors and commentators reek of such strong industry bias and feeling of superioty that I makes my blood boil.
Today, in a piece of news they proclaim as ‘non-news’ they cover a tabloid report on Electronic Arts’ proposed releases over the next fiscal year. It appears that, of the 26 titles, 25 of them are franchises or sequels and only one of them is an original.
My first reaction is “This is news?” but then, they already covered themselves by declaring that it’s non-news anyway. So it’s just fuel for the anti-EA brigade’s fire.
Hating EA is a popular passtime for gamers, it’s up there with hating Microsoft and Sony. Just below that level of hate rests that bastard of a publisher who promised GameX as an exclusive and then declared it would be out on other platforms as well. The fiends. But I digress, EA, Microsoft and Sony. What’s to hate? Well, I can see where people come from but I can’t escape noticing that the three popular targets are also the number one companies in their respective fields. Let’s face it, humans love to see the mighty fall.
Now, the critique of EA is based on ignorance, lack of understanding and incredible tunnel vision. To focus so heavily on EA’s activities whilst ignoring every other remotely succesful publisher in the industry borders on the obsessive. A popular statistic cites that of the top ten selling games of the last year, no less than nine of them were sequels or franchises. Only one (God of War) was original.
I know what you’re thinking. The other nine games must have all been EA games right? Well, EA are certainly the worlds largest and most succesful games publisher, but aren’t we forgetting GTA San Andreas (GTA5 by any other name), Halo 2 and Halflife 2? I believe we are. The quality of these games speak for themselves, I believe their success is deserved. But they too are all sequels.
Ah! But EA games aren’t even sequels! They’re just updates! And this is based upon what? Your involvment in their production and development or your instant bias when you see “o5” or “EA” somewhere on the front of a box. Tell you what, next time you write a game sequel – heck – next time you write a game, come back to me with that one. Now Championship Manager mid-season updates – THOSE are updates. Same game, new stats. The yearly stuff that EA do doesn’t just happen by itself. If you think that it does, then go and sit in the corner.
I’ve seen some awesome EA sequels. Burnout 3 anyone? But that’s not EA! Oh but it is. It’s funded by EA and developed by Criterion who are owned by EA. Yeah, but the sucky bits are EA. Which sucky bits? That DJ Stryker and the whole EA Trax thing. Oh, well, I hate to say this but you need to check your facts and read some of the comments on those very topics by Criterion themselves. But, but.. Oh be quiet.
I personally LOVE the SSX games. SSX was one of the earliest PS2 game and was a superb showcase for it’s potential after the lacklustre release of launch titles like Ridge Racer 5. It’s sequel expanded on the promise of the first one and when SSX 3 was announced I wondered just what they could add that wasn’t already in SSX Tricky. They added loads and made the game look even sweeter. A cookie-cutter sequel? Yeah, in precisely the same way Half Life 2 is a cookie cutter sequel.
But they steal licences from other developers!
Pardon? Did you say they STEAL them? How so? Wouldn’t somebody report them to the authorities if this was the case? I don’t believe that licence theft goes on in the industry. However, I do believe that where licences are concerned there are two parties – the licence holder and the company persuing the licence. Now, obtaining licences is a long, messy, legal affair and one that consists of two parties. So, if the licence shifts from being owned by Sega to EA then there’s a good reason for it. The key factor is the licence holder. It’s up to them who they want to sell their licence to. It’s up to the companies persuing the licence to make the most attractive offer. That, in an overly simplified way, is how it works. I guess EA make better offers than their competitors.
The fact of the matter is most gamers might as well be wearing white pointy hats with their unreasoned unsound and ignorant hate campaign against EA. To add insult to ignorance, they don’t chant “White power!” they chant “Nintendo power!” instead.
But that’s another story..