Electronic Arts and How to Abuse Exclusive Content (It’s Killing Your Vision)



Exclusive content is pissing your customers off.

Is your business offering exclusive content?

Are you thinking about buying an exclusive product?

Think twice.

Exclusives are killing innovation. Moreover, your business model might be giving customers reasons to not buy.

Advertising is broken. How often have you bought a product and felt ripped off?

Being exclusive has become the worst of redundancies. It might even be putting your business in danger.

I remember the first time I bought Tekken 2 (a Playstation video game). I ripped off the shrink wrap, popped open the case, and inserted the disc into my PS1. To this day, it stands as one of the best fighting video-games of all time.

Why is this particular video game one of the best?

What did Tekken 2 do differently?

What can a video game teach us about the art of business?

First off, the first time that I beat the game and opened it were on the same day. I remember beating the game with each fighter and unlocking new characters. After unlocking every character, my friends would come over and we would play for hours exploring the different mission modes. We would play against each other to learn new combos. We also took turns playing single person story mode to unlock new character designs like color combinations, outfits, and accessories. Unlocking everything the game offered was the best part. After my friends and I had unlocked every single secret and beat every boss battle did the game lose its “new-ness.”

In recent years I have learned how this process affects our lives.

Industry has changed. And it has taken a turn for the worse. Innovation staggers across the globe while the majority of companies look for middle of the road solutions using half the amount of volition trying to solve short term problems. In effect, innovation has lost the battle between creation and redundancy. Companies are pumping out the same products time and time again. Consumers are pissed.

The video game giant Electronic Arts holds rights to sports games like Madden, FIFA, NCAA Football, and Fight Night. Dedicated fans have bought these games for years and years and despite a yearning call from its supporters to change their products, EA has failed to implement innovation. This presents a serious problem for fans of the franchise. One example is Madden: Due to licensing laws, no other competitors have the legal right to create an NFL product to compete with EA.

Besides abusing franchise laws, EA’s lack of creativity, vision, and responsibility stagger growth in an industry that should be making great products- that people really want to spend their money. Fans line up on release night to purchase these games. Most companies would kill for loyal supporters of this nature. Instead, Electronic Arts takes shortcuts republishing a similar game year after year. I cannot help but wonder if Apple will follow in EA’s footsteps. When we all have an iPhone, where’s the incentive to change?

Of course, not all the blame can be placed on Electronic Arts. The company is only a small part of the trend in business today where many developers are taking shortcuts to fill their pockets. Consumers are fed up with paying for a product that is incomplete and unimproved. In today’s technological age, the purchasing of almost any product lacks buyer fulfillment.

For video game consumerists, extra content is announced before the game reaches the buyer’s hands. Special weapons, new costumes, map packs, and different characters are left out of the initial game release. Instead of fully-developing and releasing their product as a whole, it is split-sectioned, maximizing profits for the company while abusing the supporter’s wallet. Certain weapons can only be unlocked by preordering the game, playing with your friends online forces you to buy the new map packs, and depending on where you buy your game depends on who your secret character is. Companies purposely leave certain content out of their games to fatten the bottom line. They drain loyal fans for every cent.

Vampire economics are sucking the blood out of our economy, finances, and lives. In a time where banks accounts are strained, wallets are thin, companies care less about their customer’s needs than ever before. Ironically, social networking has provided greater communication between buyer and supplier than ever before, but many companies fail to ask important questions.

Draining you cliental will not keep them coming back for more. Instead of valuing vision, companies focus on short term payoffs. Companies shotgun consumers with product content hoping they will buy something.

Exclusive content is killing innovation, consumer’s wallets, and the overall experience of buying. Very few people, business, or products can correctly give exclusive content. One great example of this is Tiny Wings developer, Andreas Illiger, who gave his existing Tiny Wings customers a free iOS update featuring exclusive content from Tiny Wings 2. Basically, he rewarded his supporters and gave them new, exclusive content for supporting him in the first place. People who had not yet bought the game had the option to pay $0.99 to enjoy the new game. The extra content was not saved content from Tiny Wings; it was an entire new system of gameplay. He gave it to his customers for free. Andreas Illiger understands the importance of vision and gratitude.

We can all learn something from his actions.


After finishing this article, I found out that EA was voted worst company in America for 2012!!!

Here’s the link from the Consumerist.

Forbes did a short summary too.


Update (April 2013):

EA was voted worst company in America by The Consumerist‘s readers again!

Electronic Arts’s Chief Operating Officer Peter Moore responds to The Consumerist here.

Dorkly created their own interpretation of Peter Moore’s response which I find both funny and an intelligent perspective.

What do you think about this poll? Deserved or ridiculous? Leave a comment at the top.

Image Source: Flickr

About Stephan Stansfield

Stephan is the owner, creator, and editor of Peregrine Poise.
He is currently traveling and teaching around the world. When he is not helping others discover their true potential, he finds time to surf, read, and reflect on the important issues of living a good life.

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