My love affair with EA Games began all the way back in 1994 with the classic, “NHL 94” on the Sega Genesis. That’s right, before some of you were even born, I was playing this game with my friends afterschool every chance I got. I enjoyed nothing more than holding onto the “C” button and ripping an Al MacInnis slapshot right past the powerless goalie and into the bulging twine. Who’s Al MacInnis you say? Be quiet is what I say to that. You millennials with your X-booxe and Sony Funstations know nothing of the joys of the golden years of EA games. Just check out the awesome title screen below:
Outstanding. Now take a look at this gameplay…
Who needs the desensitizing violence of Call of Duty when you can have good wholesome fun like this. How I long to go back to this innocent time. A time when the worst thing you could do in a video game was have Sonic the Hedgehog lose all his shiny rings. Also a time when I could never imagine a future where I’d still be in school, surrounded by young people who have about a billion times more energy than me.
But I digress.
You can understand my excitement when I learned that I would have a chance to visit the home of EA Sports a few weeks ago. Sure the original creators of NHL 94 are probably ghosts by now, but it was still EA. And boy did it live up to expectations. I got to see firsthand where hundreds of world-class games have been produced since. And not surprisingly, the environment in which this creativity takes place was unique, fun, and utterly impressive.
Let’s take a photographic tour…
Thanks to Allen Roh for these great pics.
And now for a recap of the final part of the tour, here is Communications Committee Member, Brian Tang, who was also along for the ride…
A Lesson Learned at the Q&A Session with EA
The world of marketing has shifted over the last 50 years. Few brands and companies continue pushing products, services, and ideas (otherwise known as the hard-sell) towards customers. Most will use persuasive and creative measures to entice customers to buy things they think they need or want. But how effective is that anymore?
With increased technology, customers have become more demanding, more desiring of instant gratification. The smartest brands and companies have caught on. Marketing and advertising are no longer one-way streets. Successful brands and companies don’t pummel current or potential customers with products, services, or messages anymore. They can’t. As customers, it’s easier than ever to interact with a brand or company; it’s even easier to not interact with a brand or company. In the world of marketing and advertising today, the relationship between company and customer is a conversation, or a two-way street.
Our neighbours at EA, just up the road, are an example of a smart company less focused on traditional marketing. At the Q&A session after our tour, Colin Macrae, Senior Director of Communications at EA, and Darin Perfonic, Marketing Manager for the Americas, hit on the importance of maintaining the two-way communication with fans and customers. Macrae said that putting players first is the best way for his company to conduct business. “Putting fans first provides the best market research. Talking to fans gives us 365 days to get dialogue and ideas”. He also noted how traditional PR has shifted to the digital, with social media the best way to communicate with fans.
“Digital media is becoming a tool to help hit up a specific fan base,” added Perfonic. He explained how in a conversation with your customers, first you present, then you listen. EA recognizes that in doing so, satisfied fans drive and maintain sales (especially with annual game releases). EA is not relying on stores to increase retail space for their games anymore. While retail marketing will continue to be a major player for EA, Perfonic notes that “knowing the customer helps get past the clutter and the noise”.
With better technology and faster communications, it may not be enough to make great products or offer great services. As a customer, pay attention to how a brand or company talks to you. As a marketer, make sure your customers have a voice and a say. By building relationships with customers, companies establish lifelong connections. And that is marketing gold.
Ok, back to me.
And there you have it. With no interest in dispelling stereotypes, three Asian men came together to contribute to this post about video games. It’s also the first time I’ve written in first person for an event recap, and there’s a good chance they will never let me do it again. So from me to you, cheers all around – enjoy the rest of the year.