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Feature: 'We See Farther - A History Of Electronic Arts'

Today's latest exclusive Gamasutra feature traces the history of major publisher and developer Electronic Arts, from a humble upstart in 1982 to to the world's largest publisher of vide
Today's latest exclusive Gamasutra feature traces the history of major publisher and developer Electronic Arts, form a humble upstart in 1982 to to the world's largest publisher of video games, including insight from founder Trip Hawkins and current EVP Frank Gibeau. In this excerpt, writer Jeffrey Flemming describes Electronic Arts' plans following the infamous industry crash in the early eighties, illustrating that despite adversity, the company did indeed live up to its moniker at the time, “We See Farther”: “Electronic Arts was forced to revise their business plan in order to weather the lean years following the crash. "I made a conscious decision to ignore Atari and to focus on the next generation of technology," Hawkins said. "We had to operate like the Fremen of Dune, recycling our own saliva to live in the desert, to survive. We had to rebuild the industry brick by brick over a period of years." Although EA’s original marketing had focused on promoting individual game designers, the company quickly realized that consumers were more attuned to the games themselves. Designers were still credited, but EA’s marketing shifted in favor of game genres and building brand recognition.” He later adds: “Initially, Hawkins had little regard for the wounded console market, and felt that the personal computer would be the dominant entertainment platform of the future. However, as the Nintendo Entertainment System brought some stability back to the business, EA began its first in-house development with Skate or Die, which was published by Konami in 1988. Electronic Arts itself would not truly begin publishing console games until the era of the Sega Genesis. "Once we were publishing for Genesis, we did go back and publish a few titles for NES, like Skate or Die 2," said Hawkins. "But it was a token effort. We did a lot more titles for SNES later on when it came out, but the Genesis was the real focal point, because I negotiated such a favorable deal."” You can now read the the rest of this in-depth Gamasutra feature on the subject, with more insight from both Hawkins and Gibeau on where EA has been, and where it is heading (no registration required, please feel free to link to this column from external websites).

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