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20 Things You Didn't Know about Electronic Arts

If you're one of the many people that loves to play video games, there's no question that you know who Electronic Arts, often referred to as EA, is. Even if you don't play video games and you haven't played a single game in years, you would have to be living in a bubble not to at least know who the company is and what they do. This is mostly because of their marketing strategy, which will be discussed later on. If you're an avid gamer, there's no doubt that you have your own personal opinion about Electronic Arts and whether or not their games are worth having. Either way, there's probably a lot about the company that you don't already know. If you read through the list below, you might find some of it rather interesting.

1. The company is headquartered in California

It probably won't surprise you much that the company is headquartered in California. It only makes sense when you really stop and think about it. Almost all companies that thrive on some type of electronics associated with the computer age got their start in California and the overwhelming majority of them still operate out of the area. In this particular case, the company is headquartered in Redwood, although they have had locations in other cities throughout the state in the past.

2. They're often considered one of the first companies to take advantage of the video game craze

The video game industry has been around for a long time now. When it first started, it sort of took the world by storm. At the time, most people didn't know if this was going to be a fad that would eventually fade away into nothing more than a memory or if its popularity would stick around. It's fairly safe to say that most people didn't think that the gaming industry would only continue to become more and more popular with each passing generation. That being said, there are those rare few individuals that seemed to know that they were getting in on the ground floor of something that was about to explode in popularity. Electronic Arts is definitely one of those companies and they've been making money off of that particular vision ever since.

3. They've been around since the early 1980s

They got their start in 1982, at a time when the video game industry was very much in its infancy. There weren't that many gaming consoles and to be honest, there weren't that many games. Most people that had game consoles were fairly affluent, because as is the case with most things that are new, people that didn't have a lot of money really couldn't afford them at the time. Nevertheless, Electronic Arts got in on the action and they found a way to make it work. They even made consoles that were specifically for the games they were producing so they didn't have to worry about compatibility with the products made by anyone else. This virtually insured that they were going to be able to create something of a monopoly on the market and while some people might argue that this hasn't been the case, they have certainly done very well for themselves, to say the least.

4. They are currently the second largest company involved in this industry

At the moment, they are the second largest gaming company in the world. The only company that's more popular than them as far as yearly revenue is concerned as Activision. Another company that's also very popular, Ubisoft, has been competing with them for years and coming up short. That being said, they've gotten close enough a time or two to make Electronic Arts nervous. There will be more discussion about that later on.

5. They've made some of the most popular video games in history

More often than not, people that can't even name most of the video games out there are familiar with at least one or two that Electronic Arts has produced at some point during its history. They do most of the sports-related video games that you see for sale these days and they have for several years. If it involves the NBA, the NFL, NASCAR, or virtually any other sport, the game is probably produced by Electronic Arts. Therefore, they have basically cornered the market on sports related games, and they certainly haven't stopped there. They also produce games like Need for Speed, Wing Commander, and SimCity, just to name a few.

6. They also have dedicated gaming studios

They're always looking for a way to do things differently so that they remain relevant. As such, they've opened a number of studios that are dedicated to gaming, places where people can go to host tournaments and be immersed in the gaming culture. Currently, they operate a number of these studios throughout the country, including one in California, one in Florida, and two or three more that are interspersed in different areas. The idea is to make gaming as popular as any other physical sport, even to the point that it might be an Olympic event one day.

7. They were instrumental in pioneering the way games are played today

They are always been looking for new and innovative ways to keep gamers interested. If you remember how games were during the early days of gaming, it involved popping a game into a console and then playing against the computer or if you were lucky, against one other player that was in the same room with you. Electronic Arts is largely responsible for the way games are played today in the sense that you can play online with dozens or even hundreds of competitors at the same time, and those competitors don't even have to be in the same country. It really has changed the way that things are done in the gaming industry and it's virtually guaranteed that the company will continue to be relevant for years to come.

8. They've always managed to find a way to be innovative in their chosen market

They always seem to be thinking outside the box. Several years ago, they started creating what they referred to as pocket games, smaller versions of games that were already popular and could be sold individually to take on road trips. It wasn't too long before virtually every person you saw ended up pulling one of these games out of their pocket and playing during recess, while riding in the car, and virtually any other time.

9. They have a unique marketing strategy

It wasn't until recently that a lot of gaming companies advertised in the mainstream but Electronic Arts has been doing that for years. That's how so many people became aware of their existence who weren't interested in playing video games to begin with. If you watched a sporting event of any kind, you could bet that there were going to be commercials for the company throughout that particular event. Moreover, the commercials were innovative and they combined game footage with real footage, leaving a memorable impression for people that saw the commercials. As such, they created a name for themselves among people that weren't even interested in playing video games themselves. That was their goal, because even if you don't play yourself, you probably know at least two or three people who do. That meant that these individuals were more likely to purchase games from Electronic Arts for other people as opposed to buying some arbitrary game from another manufacturer.

10. Their games have often been considered more realistic than others

These days, playing a video game is a lot like watching a movie. They're that realistic. Of course, that hasn't always been the case. It's worth noting that the games from Electronic Arts managed to achieve a level of realism that didn't really exist with most other game manufacturers for several years afterward. They've always been a cut above when it came to that type of quality and it's something that they still maintain even in today's market.

11. The company patriarch used to work for Apple

Although he's been retired for several years, the company was started by Trip Hawkins, who had previously worked for Apple. That's basically where he got all of his technological knowledge to begin with. In the early 1980s, he decided it was time to start his own company, so he obtained funding for Electronic Arts and then left Apple to pursue his own endeavors.

12. More than 10 years ago, they entered into an agreement with a major cell phone company

Back in 2006, the company entered into an agreement with Nokia, a major cell phone company, in order to place their own games on all of the phones that were being manufactured. As far as anything that was made by Nokia, Electronic Arts had cornered the market when it came to combining the gaming and cell phone industries. This is one more example of their desire to find new and innovative ways to remain at the forefront of their chosen field.

13. They're very much on the verge of changing the entire gaming industry

For several years now, they've been working on changing the way that video games are played yet again. Today, it's all about virtual reality and even using something called BioWare. Think about going to a facility and playing laser tag where you're outfitted with special gear that tells you when you've been hit by an opponent. This is largely the same thing, only you can play in your room against someone that's half a world away. It brings a great deal of reality to the situation, which is exactly what people want these days. It also gives people the opportunity to become virtually anyone they want to be while they're playing that game and it becomes so real that they feel like they're actually there.

14. They have previously come under fire for buying up other companies

It's very rare that any company manages to last for very long without getting at least some type of negative publicity and Electronic Arts has had more than their fair share. One of the things that they've come under fire for several times over is attempting to buy up smaller companies, often with some rather ruthless business tactics. This is largely because they don't want someone coming up behind them that could eventually become more popular than they are, so they decide to take care of that potential problem long before it ever exists. They also tried to do this to one of their main competitors, Ubisoft. That issue lasted for years and resulted in a lawsuit that forced them to promise not to interfere with the company again.

15. They even acquired a nickname that no one would want to have

Their nickname will probably make you think of the Star Wars franchise. Over the years, this need to ensure that no other company became more popular than they are has earned them the nickname of the Evil Empire. It's largely in regard to the fact that they use some aggressive tactics to buy other companies and they don't always pay what most people would consider a fair price when they do it.

16. In more recent years, they've gotten in trouble for working their employees too hard

They've also gotten in quite a bit of trouble for working conditions at their facility. Former employees have claimed that it is not at all uncommon for them to be forced to work more than 100 hours a week, threatened with termination if they refuse to do it. According to them, this is just a regular business practice at Electronic Arts.

17. Occasionally, they've been criticized for what some believe is subpar game quality

Despite the fact that they're often known for their game quality, they have taken over some games that were made by other companies that were much smaller than them and then continued the franchise under their own name. In many cases, they've been criticized for changing too much about the game and making the whole experience one of questionable quality.

18. Much of this has been caused by having different people who were in charge of daily operations

A lot of their problems started when Trip Hawkins retired. Since then, they've had a number of people stepping into service as CEO, so there's been very little consistency. This translates into a number of different business practices that are constantly placed on others, and they're not always well received.

19. The company is currently working to repair the damage caused by all the negative publicity

Just like any other company, they've been forced to do some damage control over the years. In reality, they're still trying to recover from some of their business practices such as making employees work too many hours each week and essentially gobbling up every other startup out there that produces video games.

20. Despite everything they've been through, they still sell more video games than most other companies

Although there has been some negative publicity, they still sell more video games than anybody else except for Activision. When it really comes right down to it, gamers are interested in a certain product and as long as they are capable of turning out that product, there's not a lot that is going to make their customers change their minds.

Garrett Parker

Written by Garrett Parker

Garrett by trade is a personal finance freelance writer and journalist. With over 10 years experience he's covered businesses, CEOs, and investments. However he does like to take on other topics involving some of his personal interests like automobiles, future technologies, and anything else that could change the world.

Read more posts by Garrett Parker

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