A College Guide to EA

Slashdot | A College Guide to EA This white paper (I love saying that) was done by a professor at Carnegie Mellon based on his experience at EA. While it deals mostly with tailoring a “video game” curriculum at CM it also points out some interesting insights into the world of video game production. It’s an interesting read for gamers, as I’m sure we’ve all dreamed about working at a gaming company at one point. A couple things stuck out –

1. I’ve always wondered why games cost 49 bucks. According to the paper, the break down is as follows: 17$ goes to the retailers, 8$ to the console maker (licensing fees I assume), 4$ marketing and distribution, and 20$ to the publisher and developer (sometimes the same people). I know brick and mortars have high overheads that would justify the 17 dollars a game, but it seems online retailers could be leveraging their lower overhead to offer cheaper prices. Maybe it’s some type of unwritten rule.

2. This was disconcerting. Quoting the article –

“Making an outstanding game, but delivering it late, is not as profitable as making an acceptable quality game on time.”

I understand the mighty dollar rules the day at EA ($3 billion in revenues a year can’t be wrong) but it’s still disappointing to hear promising games never make it and games are dumbed down (I call it the Lowest Common Denominator Effect) to make ship dates.

I thought it was a great read, I encourage anyone interested in the gaming industry to read it. And if you think you can be a game tester to “break in” to the industry and land a job as a designer, I’ll leave you with this sobering quote from the article:

Testing used to be a path by which a highly motivated individual could eventually gain access to a production job; while not officially impossible, it is now difficult to move from testing to production.

(Link from Slashdot)

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  1. […] llion copies. At 50 bucks a pop, that’s a quarter of a billion dollars. Now, from my previous findings, the publisher and developer get aout 20 bucks a pop. (MS and Bungie […]

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