Ethan Levy, who was formerly employed as a producer at the San Francisco studio for developer BioWare, believes that publisher Electronic Arts is no longer interested in creating any new intellectual property and is just trying to add more content to the game universes that it already owns.
The former developer writes on his own Quarter Spiral blog that, “EA’s stated strategy is fewer, bigger brands. Of the many new IPs developed for this generation, only Army of Two, Dead Space and Dragon Age continue to see new versions. As far as I can tell from publicly facing information, creating innovative, new IPs just isn’t a priority for the organization.”
The producer has previously worked on the Dragon Age franchise, one of the two new game universes that BioWare has created and has then turned into franchises since it was acquired by Electronic Arts.
Ethan Levy says, “Big brands + big marketing budget + high production values = $$$. This is the EA formula. They may have been late to the mobile & tablet freemium party, but now that they are here they will out-compete the Dragon Vales and Tiny Monsters of the world.”
He mentions Lord of the Rings, James Bond, Brutal Legend and Mirror’s Edge and Godfather as games that showed a former incarnation of Electronic Arts, more willing to take risks in order to deliver innovative content to players.
Electronic Arts was long seen as a company that bought smaller developers in order to acquire their intellectual properties and then stifled their creativity and dismantled them, something that it did with Bullfrog and Westwood.
At the moment, the biggest hit for the publisher is the sports simulation created by EA Sports, and the company also has a growing presence, led by PopCap Games, in the mobile and social game space.