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  1. The Future of EA Bing Gordon May 2004

  2. EA was the 136th game company • The big idea: “software artist” • Organization: • “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” • Business: • Distribution + brand marketing • Development: • “Artist workstation” + Producers

  3. The learning organization • 5-6 year technology cycles • Written objectives • “Transition is our friend” • A.C.T.I.O.N. values • Invent local, share global

  4. Generations of EA • 1982-88: Company entrepreneurs • “Great interactive depression” • 1989-93: Sega founders • Bet the company! • 1994-00: Content founders • EA Sports, Sims, Sequels • 2000-2006: Reinventors • Organization, online, guerrilla • 2007-2012: Transition • New leaders, new business models

  5. Powers of 10 • 1981 Atari VCS 128 bytes • 1986 NES 2K + 2K • 1989 Sega Genesis 64K+64K • 1994 Sony Playstation 2 MB + 512K • 2001 Playstation 2 32MB +4MB • 2006? PSX3 256MB • 2012? PS4? 2G?

  6. Chasing Snow Crash • Atari VCS 2 sprites, 8 colors • NES 16 sprites, 128 colors • Genesis 80 sprites, 512 colors • Playstation 500 Polygons, true color • Playstation 2 5000 Polygons • PSX3 30,000 Polygons • Rendered film 5M polygons

  7. Future customers • IM generation • Multiple media • Multi-ported • Peer to peer downloaders • Social ganging • Virtual worlding as a rite of passage • Older, female, global

  8. Future designs • 100x physics and AI • “Emergent” behaviors, collisions, physical • Co-opetition • Customization • Portable avatars, persistent assets • Communities • Economies and money • Camera POV drives gameplay control • Star Trek customer management

  9. 100x physics and AI • Everything is modeled • Pushing tech envelope here • Water, fire, gravity, wind, explosives • Awareness, memory, complex motives • New science of emergent patterns and behaviors • Doom 3; Half Life; Madden; GTA

  10. Win-win and make-make • From “you are not ready” to “let’s beat the world together” • More open-ended ways to win • Everything is customizable • It will take game designers a decade to learn what Maxis is already trying to do

  11. Avatars and assets • Your “secret friend” • Your “treasure room” • He who dies with the most toys wins. • Consumers will pay for navigation, data integrity, membership • Housing in PSW’s; weapons in D2

  12. Join Hands • Builders and elders • “Built to Last” • Value of heavy users vs browsers • Reputations • Sims.com; Everquest; Madden frat parties; ebay

  13. Ka-ching • More reasons to play and build • Prizes • EQ time valued at $3/hour • Sims.com website “amateur” hosts

  14. Everyone has a vidcam • From interactive TV to cinematographer and editor • Close up cam for suspense, combo moves • Medium cam for relationships, dancing • Long shot for teamwork, spatial tactics • Unusual cam for replay, special effects • User-controlled speed and pacing • Street + Live + Sim City in one game

  15. What Gene Roddenberry Knew • Initial season: 4 action, 1 relationship plot • Men: Kirk is a problem solver • Women: Kirk is Spock’s best friend, but they’re very different • Second season: 80% action, 20% relationships in each story • 50% female fans

  16. You are so Killer (app) • Atari VCS: Pacman--home arcade • IBM PC: King’s Quest, Flight Simulator • NES: Mario, Zelda--adventures • Genesis: EA Sports, Mortal Kombat—two player • Playstation: Gran Turismo--racing • PC-CD: Wing Commander--interactive movies • Internet PC: Doom, Everquest—multiplayer, server • PS2: Grand Theft Auto—emergent environs

  17. New categories (of da future) • Movie co-launches w/ new game IP • RPW (role playing worlds) • Real-world simulations • Reinvented character mascot games • Server based strategy games • Dating/matchmaking • Searchable gaming • Blogging games • Your idea here

  18. Today is too complex • Engineers write 15x lines of code than industry average! • Artists, designers 1x output, but worse tools, and realtime. • Producers manage ¼ production budget but changing pipelines and organization models • Alpha-beta 1month!!

  19. Future “rationalizes” • Fewer lines of code/day • Runtime modules • Digital film level art and animation tools • Proven pipelines • Alpha-beta 2-3 months

  20. More of what works… • Design pod org structure • Tools groups and tech leadership • Multiple teams per franchise • Cross-trained leaders • More central specialists (music, lighting, writing) + character, +movie • WW functional peer leadership groups (tech, art, sound) + design, production, women • Great campuses get better

  21. Organization innovations…on the horizon • Intern matriculation program (I.M.P.) • Producer/designer fast track • Prototyping skills team • Polish team

  22. The best jobs in Vidgaming • Executive producer • Designer • Lead • Studio GM • Chief Creative Officer • Intern

  23. Jobs at EA - 2003 • 910 product development • 241 engineers and mgrs • 350 artists • 103 producers and designers • 21 audio • 2 studio execs • 110 summer interns! (25% FT job offers)

  24. 2012 Internal talent development • 35 new exec producers • 20 new lead designers • 10 new art dirs • 10 new dev/engrg mgrs • 3 new GMs • 1 new CCO

  25. How to Succeed • “Lights and flashers”, “nerd poetry” • Think large, pull the barge • 4+ = write your own ticket • Plagiarize! • Groundhog day • Idea of the month club • Napster career development • Live the EA values

  26. Next Gen Game makers • Pattern of achievement • Love of media and gaming • Experience or education • Computer science • Visual engineering and art • Design

  27. My bookshelf • Confessions of an Advertising Man, Ogilvy • Positioning, Ries and Trout • The Learning Organization, Senge • How Hits Happen, Farrell • Net Gain, Hagel & Armstrong • Snow Crash, Stephenson • Replay, Grimwood

  28. Why join a big game company? • Best peers in the industry • Work on Top 10’s • “#1 people company” in entertainment • Teamwork • Practices • Internal promotion • Learning, sharing, achieving

  29. Join us. We see farther.

  30. The hit formulaSales/(dev cost+mkt budget) 1980: $2.5M / ($50k + $100K) 1990: $15M / ($250K + $1M) 1995: $50M / ($2M + $2M) 2000: $100M / ($8M + $5M) 2010: $250M / ($30M + $30M)