Pros: brilliant and talented engineers, artists and designers. on-site amenities. aaa game making experience
Cons: heavy reliance on outsourcing quotas, blind adherence to legacy practices, poor management, culture that rewards cya politics, lack of regular training opportunities especially for managers
While I worked remotely with other EA studios and partners on occasion throughout my tenure, this review is mainly about my nearly decade long experience with the Redwood City, CA HQ location.
The executive leadership is ham-fisted and the only training middle management seem to have is how to politic, finger point and backstab when the quality of – more... their products and processes are under strain. The company breeds horrible middle managers and supervisors. The true "leaders" who are interested in growth, opportunity, transparency, innovation and quality quickly find themselves at odds with the company culture due to heavy, cumbersome, legacy policies and clumsy executive meddling.
For many teams, their defacto problem solving tool is to keep adding managers, GM's, directors, executive whatevers - but never to try to work smarter or with more agility. I worked on a multi-year project that saw 2 reorgs, 3 GM's, 4 EP's, multiple redesigns - and yet when it's time to lay off people, it's always the talented ground level designers, engineers, producers or artists that have the best shot of making something great who are let go. The (extremely invested and well-trained) talent that they've let slip into the hands of competitors because of dart-board decisions and mismanagement is astounding. I've seen managers admit to accidentally laying off the wrong people and giving the wrong raises because they were oblivious to what their direct reports were doing! How there haven't been lawsuits over this, is sheer luck.
Finally, I know outsourcing is all the rage for international, publicly traded corporations with fiduciary responsibilities that need to demonstrate their efforts to tighten operational overhead. However, I've been witness to some of the outsourcing quota decisions that actually resulted in increased overall cost due to administrative and managerial overhead, lower quality and even opportunity loss due to scheduling and contract issues. If I were still a stock holder in EA (which I'm not anymore - it's like watching sausage be made), I would be very critical of HOW they report to save money because I can guarantee it's ALWAYS at the cost of quality, scheduling or human capital. – less