It seems that the eSports industry is growing a bit today with the announcement of EA’s new Competitive Gaming division, which intends to bring the likes of Battlefield and FIFA to a more focused competitive circuit. While the company has made efforts towards more popular competitive events in the past, most notably with the FIFA World Cup, this marks the first real initiative that the company has taken solely focused on improving the popularity of their multiplayer gaming events.
In the blog post detailing the goals of the new company branch, it is revealed that well-known industry member Peter Moore will be heading the division, joined by EA vet Todd Sitrin in an effort to push Electronic Arts to the forefront of competitive gaming. While their success largely depends on advertising and community support, there’s no doubting that Electronic Arts has some of the most popular multiplayer titles out there, with Battlefield, Madden, and FIFA each holding strong communities that continue zealously to this day. There’s a decent chance that the popularity of their games alone will be enough to carry them into being an eSports giant, but EA’s shady business dealings and the overall negative outlook many people have regarding the company’s behavior in the past, it may be a rocky road to success.
There’s also a line in the blog entry that I would like to draw mention to:
“As the latest step in our journey to put our players first, this group will enable global eSports competitions in our biggest franchises including FIFA, Madden NFL,Battlefield and more.”
My interest is not so much in the intention of competition, but rather of the mention of taking steps to put players first. While EA has been quite the greedy company in the past (including in the past few weeks with the Star Wars Battlefront Season Pass and their newly announced batch of Sims 4 content,) I’m going to stay cautiously hopeful that they do end up eventually changing their ways and start treating their customers with the respect they deserve, not just as walking sacks of money. I’ll be the first applauding Electronic Arts once they release a game without the garbage they’ve been stuffing into their titles of late, and at least a greater community involvement with the Competitive Gaming Division is a step in the right direction.