What Is Wrong With Electronic Arts

What Is Wrong With Electronic Arts

I am a video game enthusiast and I know quality games from the majority of poor ones that are released. Electronic Arts has put out a lot of high quality games this past year: Mass Effect 3 (the whole ending controversy aside), Madden 13 (the most innovative iteration in years), Tiger Woods 13 and the more recent Fifa 13. Sure, EA has had some duds this year as well, Medal of Honor Warfighter was downright terrible, but which major game publisher hasn’t bombed out at least once a year?

With brand name, marquee franchises like Crysis, Battlefield, The Sims, Madden, Need for Speed, Fifa and Mass Effect (most of which are capable of churning out releases annually) one could think EA is in prime position to lead the video game sector. The problem is I’ve been thinking that for years now and it just never happens.

2012 was without a doubt a terrible year for the video game giant. The company sank over $100 million into a bungled Star Wars online multiplayer game that produced lackluster subscriber growth and soon went free to play, it managed to upset its consumer base at almost every turn (including skimping out on a proper ending for the much beloved Mass Effect series) and it won the dubious award of ‘worst company in America’ from voters at The Consumerist, EA wrestled the title away from Bank of America. As bad as the news was for Electronic Arts in 2012, the stock’s performance was even worse. Take a look at the following one year chart of EA’s stock price, courtesy of Yahoo! Finance:

(click to enlarge)

EA is down over 30% in the past year alone and is no where close to its all time highs set back in the mid 2000’s, currently off more than 70%. The company has also managed zero equity growth over the last five years and almost zero Return on Capital growth. For the year ending March 2013, the average analyst estimate is for $4.1 billion in revenue, which is slightly lower than last year’s $4.14 billion. To top it off, both liabilities and debt are increasing quickly.

So, I ask again, what is going on?

Clearly, management has a part to play in such pathetic results. They have proven themselves unable to guide this company in the right direction. Current CEO John Riccitiello has been the subject of many rumors for dismissal but so far has managed to keep his job despite his company’s terrible performance. Peter Moore is thought to be his future replacement.

The disturbing slowdown in overall video game sales is a leading factor as well. Sales of games have dropped dramatically over the last year. But the real reason could be that of the impending console update. If you take a look at the sale figures for each major console for the year 2012 compared to the same time period for 2011, the results are not good: the Xbox 360 sold about 2.6 million fewer consoles, the Playstation 3 sold about 2 million fewer consoles and the Wii sold about 4 million fewer, which is a drop of over 50%. The Wii system’s dramatic drop can be partly attributed to the release of the new Nintendo WiiU system, but that still sold only about 800,000 units.

With most rumors suggesting a 2013 release for at least one of the big next generation systems, Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s Playstation, gamers have simply not been buying new consoles like they used to. Less consoles being bought equals less games being bought, that’s a simple correlation. This slowdown in big hardware has no doubt affected games sales negatively over the last year.

But don’t take my word for it, take the word of Yves Guillemot, CEO and co founder of video game giant Ubisoft. He recently told Polygon, “We need new consoles. At the end of the cycle generally the market goes down because there are less new IPs, new properties, so that damaged the industry a little bit. I hope next time they will come more often.” Check out Polygon’s full article here.

So, are Microsoft and Sony partly to blame for EA’s struggles, and those of all other video game publishers as of late? I’d say they definitely aren’t helping too much. It is obvious that EA is suffering through a downturn in the market in which they operate but any good management team has to have a plan to overcome such difficulties. With the new console generation fast approaching, I am curious to see what EA has in store for both consumers and investors.

The Best of Mobile Sites

The Best of Mobile Sites

1. ESPN MobileIt should come as no surprise that ESPN would offer an optimized mobile version of their sites, after all the company did run ESPN Mobile Carrier Services for a short period.

So why is ESPN Mobile so great? First it allows users to easily track their favorite sports teams including their teams and team player stats, injury reports, breaking news and pretty much any other stat they’d like to see. During game time fans on the go can even receive up to the minute scores from their favorite teams, making gathering past and on the minute information very simple.

Users can also take advantage of ESPN alerts. These alerts will automatically send text messages to the users phone when updates are available from their favorite teams, such as updated scores, breaking news and even fantasy alerts.

ESPN also offers some fun mobile gaming options, the mini games are pretty addictive and usually free of charge meaning you can play fun little mini games any time you want.

ESPN Mobile also offers “On Demand Video” which includes clips from ESPN’s daily sports programming, including highlight reels, breaking news, and other clips taking from daily shows.

The above mentioned information is just a quick look at the ESPN Mobile options available to users, make sure you check it out for more information. You can visit ESPN Mobile directly from your mobile by Clicking Here.

2. CBS Sports MobileCBS offers several ways for users to take advantage of their mobile in terms of “Sports Updates” On the one hand users can download the CBS Sports App and pay $4.99/month for access to sports updates and other information. On the other hand users can simply visit CBS Sports Mobile. On the CBS Sports site you’ll find many of the same types of offerings as the ESPN site, such as access to sports scores, video programming on demand and even some fun mobile games. CBS Sports Mobile also offers Ringtones and Wallpapers for your favorite teams including collegiate sports offerings.

Several carriers offer easy access to CBS Sports Mobile including Cingular, Sprint, T Mobile and Verizon. If you want to learn how to access the CBS App with those carriers visit the link I’ve included in this section, or contact your carrier for help with step by step directions. The Application version is fast to use and easy to setup with very little system resources being wasted.

CBS Sports Mobile is definitely another great choice that will keep you connected to virtually every sport your heart could possibly desire.

3. EA MobileThe first two postings I made focus on News updates for your favorite sports, EA Mobile on the other hand focuses on the fun Mobile Games you can play on your devices. EA Sports has long been the leader in Sports Gaming and with EAMobile theres no exception.

EA Mobile includes all EA Mobile games, but I specifically as a sports gamer loved the Sports Mobile options such as Tiger Woods 09, Madden NFL 09, The Sims Pool, FIFA 08 and many more.

The games will cost you up to $9.99 on average, but I promise you the graphics considering they are mobile versions, and the overall gameplay are definitely worth the cost of admission. In most cases simply enter your mobile number and have the game delivered directly to your phone and billed to your mobile account.

With plenty of games to choose from EA Mobile is your one spot stop for mobile sports games and each of the downloads available play closely to the game console versions of the same names, this site is definitely worth a look.

4. and BBC Sport Mobile is no exception, this 100% free application.

Much like ESPN and CBS Sports Mobile you’ll find your favorite sports with the ability to receive breaking news, sports scores, and more. Unlike ESPN you’ll also find some sports that you’d be hardpressed to find on ESPN such as Cricket, while more in depth Soccer (Football) scores and information is available.

Another cool bit of info, users can text the BBC Sports page with their favorite teams name and they’ll actually receive up to date information on their favorite teams. The site even allows for quick access to headlines that are easily accessible via your device. You can also access league wide schedules to find the games you want to watch.

Overall a simplistic offering that’s optimized for easy mobile phone access while still providing valuable information for free.

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