Electronic Arts

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2 people found this helpful  

"Challenge Everything" has turned to "Change Nothing and Outsource Everything"

Product Manager (Former Employee) Redwood City, CA

ProsEA has always attracted some of the most brilliant designers, engineers and artists. The teams I worked with featured people with Masters degrees and Phd's in some of the mind blowing disciplines. They are generally a joy to work with, love quality and can solve some of the most intense problems. Amenities and benefits were great - but they needed to be in order to attract talent.

ConsFirstly, regardless of CEO pitches, there has been a de-emphasis on process and product quality. Support disciplines like quality assurance and technical support have been relegated to "loss leader" departments under a central operations umbrella - instead of integrated functions of the development team. Add to this, EA's executive culture of lack of innovation and for consumers, this translates into rocky product launches, day one patches and lackluster (usually outsourced) post-ship support.

For employees though, there are several things to watch out for.

Firstly, be very purposeful about how you enter the company. DO NOT try to get in on the "ground floor" especially if you are capable and eligible of doing a more senior job! For the reasons stated above, at an executive level, they are squeezing more and more disciplines and job descriptions into the "nice to have / can cut corners" category of game development. It started with customer service - ah we don't need that. Then it moved on to things like QA/QC. (I was in a meeting where an executive said - engineers will just need to make less bugs!) Now you see junior engineers, artists, producers, designers being shoehorned into contracts and cut loose at 6 months - regardless of their contributions. Meanwhile, technical managers, senior development directors, executives and people managers are all trying to save their own jobs - leaving the little guy's a** flapping in the wind.

Next is the lack of training - especially at the manager level. Many "managers" are unwilling people who just happen to have seniority - but are not leaders or agents of change. The thing executive teams really don't understand at EA is that money and benefits are only one type of motivation. Being appreciated, taught new skills, opportunities to master new things - are all sometimes more valuable to employees. When an employee comes to you asking for more money, it's usually code for "you don't pay me enough to put up with you." EA's internal training core has all but become extinct. It's you vs. nature there at almost every turn.

Finally, be prepared for a "culture" that's actually comprised of two different schools of thought regarding game development: "we've done it like that in the past" and "we need to change it". Neither of these are bad, but you will find many decision makers are NOT critical thinkers who can apply these opposing approaches situationally. The clash is usually between the "old guard" who universally thinks that the processes they've used for the past 10 years are fine vs. the "new guns" who almost universally believe everything needs to be bulletproof and robust beyond the point of diminished return. There's rarely middle ground and instead of systematically working things out for the greater good of the product, decisions come down to:

- do what I say because I have the big stick (or know someone who does) and you'll be fired
- do what I say or the company will crumble in an apocalyptic fire
- do what I say because my last two mediocre titles shipped just fine
- do what I say because our competitor does it that way
- do what I say or I'll go behind your back to get it done anyway

Advice to Senior ManagementI understand sometimes decisions need to be made quickly, with less than complete information and not everything can be left to a group vote. But most situations I encountered during development could have been solved easier and with less pain by managers impressing upon their staff the challenges they are facing and included the smart people around them in constructing ways to help. Most of these brilliant people across disciplines actually WANT to make a better product and help the company make money. Seek training for YOURSELVES in ways to become better managers - I met only a handful of people in my 8 years that I actually enjoyed marching into HELL (crunch mode) behind. The others were politicking, sycophantic, thoughtless, spineless, clumsy idiots who couldn't lead their way out of a wet paper bag.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

     

    Much improved since the EA Spouse days

    Senior Software Engineer (Current Employee) Austin, TX

    I have been working at Electronic Arts full-time for more than a year


    Pros: Fair compensation, bonuses, and stock incentives Interesting technologies to work with Some very cool projects to work… Cons: Frequent changes in direction, one of the downsides of working for… Advice to Senior Management: Pick a direction and stick with it to completion Focus more… Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend More
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

    2 people found this helpful  

    You have to be strong and willing to seize the opportunities when they are there or be lost in the masses.

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee) Redwood City, CA

    I have been working at Electronic Arts


    Pros: Talented and passionate individuals, great benefits, all types of people… Cons: Exec management seems to react and make decisions out of excitement or passion, not… Advice to Senior Management: I wonder how differently the company could operate if we weren't in blind silos. We pit studios against one another instead of building… More
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