Electronic Arts Is Rethinking How It Announces And Releases Large Online Multiplayer Games After Anthem Struggles

Electronic Arts Is Rethinking How It Announces And Releases Large Online Multiplayer Games After Anthem Struggles
Credit: BagoGames via Flickr (license)

There’s never been more pressure than there is today on publishers meeting tight deadlines. They’re forced to get their latest and greatest project out to the masses quickly. Target dates are set and promises are made. Ultimately, this usually hurts the final product.

Such was the case for Anthem. This game was reportedly in the works for years, yet the developers were unable to meet deadlines consistently. BioWare was thus left scrambling as Electronic Arts pushed for something tangible to put out on the market. Anthem was never set up to succeed, and this is clearly evident with its lack of mission development and cosmetic options.

Electronic Arts hoped Anthem would sell well out of the gate, but ultimately, the game suffered many issues. They’re taking it on the chin pretty well, though. Evidently, they want to learn from this hard lesson and improve the way they announce and release large online multiplayers like Anthem going forward.

In a recent conference call, CEO Andrew Wilson broke down some of the challenges the developmental team faced. He said, ”You’re moving from what was initially a BioWare game which would be somewhere between 40 and 80 hours of offline play to 40 to 80 hours of offline play plus 100 or 200, 300 hours of elder game that happens with millions of other players at scale, online.”

As far as his solutions for developing and publishing future games like Anthem, Wilson had some thoughts.

”You should expect that we’ll start to test things like soft launches—the same things that you see in the mobile space right now. And it also comes down to changing how we communicate with players. Our entire marketing organization now is moving out of presentation mode and into conversation mode,” Wilson remarked.

Soft launches would be a better strategy for Electronic Arts going forward. No matter how many resources are exhausted and how talented developers are, every project has limits. At least with a soft launch, EA could take time to see what glaring issues there are.

With ample preparation, they can make the necessary adjustments before an official launch. This way, fans of EA titles would have a more refined product and enjoy better gaming experiences.

It’s refreshing to see EA take accountability of these recent issues. They know what they did wrong and aren’t content on just putting out bland products. Future games from them should thus be more fleshed out come launch date.