Electronic Arts – corporate insanity on display

Electronic Arts apparently exploits the willingness of hardworking, creative people and perverts that into an insane company-mandated orgy of 7-day work weeks. It is manifestly insane because long hours of non-stop work increase errors and require even longer working hours to repair the damage.

This scenario comes about when top management focuses on maximizing short-term financial return and ignores what it takes to produce quality products.

EA’s work practices were exposed earlier by an EA Spouse, but a recent article by Joe Straitiff, a former software engineer at EA, provides a first-hand view of what it is like to work in such a mentally unbalanced environment. His disturbing account of his work and termination from EA elicited 443 comments, most of them corroborating his observations.

The confusingly unreal dialog between Joe and his management at EA
brought back painful memories for me, as this bizarre business practice
is not confined to the game industry. Long hours are a fact of life in
almost every high tech industry, because the work is all about dealing
with challenges that have never been tackled before. What stings is the
betrayal.

Most designers I knew worked very hard to produce the best possible
designs to whatever deadline was needed and we often put in 60 hour
weeks for months on end. As I mentioned earlier, the only goad we
needed was the promise that we would get to work on the next big
project as soon as we finished this one. When this willingness becomes
the target of calculated enforcement, the payoff for long hours is no
longer satisfaction. Management uses subterfuge, falsehoods and guilt
to compel that which was once given willingly.

The middle managers who enforce this destructive activity and behave
so callously, have drunk the corporate Kool-Aid and understand that
their own retention depends on following the company script, even when
it is obviously non-productive. The few decent managers and HR people
get severely reprimanded by upper management and are fired as an
example to the rest. You will see this in their comments to Joe
Straitliff’s article.

The end result of this insanity, in every company where I have seen
it, has been impaired product quality, cover-ups, more floggings,
declining sales, declining stock values, more firings, and eventual
collapse or takeover by a competitor.

One of the critical points, in my opinion, occurs when qualified job
applicants are warned off by reports of actual working conditions. In
that regard, Electronic Arts may be on its way down the chute.

There are still many applications for every opening, but their
annual employee turnover is currently around 20%. Would you want one of
your friends or family members to work there?

This entry was posted in Basic Business Concepts. Bookmark the permalink.

0 Responses to Electronic Arts – corporate insanity on display

  1. slayer1 says:

    ea sucks and needs to die out.They are ruining the gaming industry with their ten cent crap.Ea needs to stop i am boycotting ea and have over half a million supporters that are more than willing to follow me. Ea is going to cause another game crash and if it happens us gamers are ready as long as ea dies cause the world would be better without their crap they call games. The buying of ubi soft and westwood major mistakes for ea because we the gamers are not buying that shit and without us the gamers ea isn’t shit their going down. Us the gamers are not satisfied we want them out of buissness and we wont stop until this happens they wan’t to hurt us well we will hurt them right back.O and they are also a bunch of cry babies,assholes,etc who cried because sega made a better way better football game so they decide to take that away from us for 5 years well fine fu because we will just play espn 2k5 for five years until the release of 2k9.Madden football is the biggest damn joke we yhe gamers have ever seen it’s been the same game for over 12 years. The same platform,plays,game control,just improved graphics what a way to rip off the people because you care about nobody but yourselfs you jerk offs.Without us the gamer’s you are nothing and will be nothing so for ruing the gaming industry for us we ruin you. Ea sucks EA it’s in the trash challenge nothing. SEGA that’s what it’s all about SEGA rules!

  2. Gerardo says:

    I buyed NFSCARBON for PC AND I DONT REALLY LIKE NEED FOR SPEED CINCE HOT PERSUIT 2 NO LONGER EXIST BUT I TRY TO PLAY IT. WELL Surprise the game doesnt work, I visited forums and they said that I have to update and I already did and tried all the things that they said.

    and I noticed that many people have problems like mine and/or different and/or even worse. so I check out other games forums and there are not that much problems… almost all the people on the other forums have solved their problems… think about it, Only EA have this kind of problems and I think they are becoming another Microsoft, selling poor products at high prices and that is not fair, even their updates doesnt work, so I think I will not buy another EA game until they notice that they have to make quality products… and if you have a problem they should tell you how to really solve it and not the kind of answer on the trobleshooting of “this-should-work” thing.

    thats all, sorry about my english.
    —–
    PING:
    TITLE: Examples Of Poor Business Management
    URL: http://weekendpundit.blogmosis.com/lastweekend/026997.html
    IP: 63.247.141.200
    BLOG NAME: Weekend Pundit
    DATE: 12/08/2004 09:35:10 PM
    David St. Lawrence of Ripples links to and comments on the corporate insanity of Electronic Arts, a gaming software company. Both his comments and the…
    —–
    PING:
    TITLE: Pearl Harbor and More
    URL: http://www.accidentalverbosity.com/index.php?id=P1397
    IP: 63.247.141.250
    BLOG NAME: Accidental Verbosity
    DATE: 12/07/2004 10:31:33 AM
    Have you read Ripples? I was reminded today what an excellent blog it is.

    David wrote a superlative post for Pearl Harbor Day. It is sad that so many
    —–
    PING:
    TITLE: HourMania
    URL: http://truetalk.typepad.com/truetalk/2004/12/hourmania.html
    IP: 66.151.149.17
    BLOG NAME: The TrueTalk Blog
    DATE: 12/06/2004 01:55:24 PM
    How much work is “enough”? David St. Lawrence gives us another of his deeply human posts at Ripples, this time the story of an Electronics Arts software designer/engineer who was fired for, apparently, not wanting to work enough. Here’s

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

five + 1 =