Gamespot posted an interesting article about how EA is serious when it comes to games. Steve Seabolt, EA’s vice president for The Sims label discussed the fact that EA serves up two types of games: educational games (The Sims, SimCity Societies) and entertaining games (Army of Two or Madden Football). He goes on to explaining how people go about submitting their games for educational or training purposes but that EA has to turn down eight or nine such proposals for every one they accept.
The reality is that we are a hit-driven business,” Seabolt explained. “And economically, we can’t really commit to launching a product unless we think we can sell a minimum of 2 million units.
Steve also goes onto detail of how The Sims division has met this criteria.
As for what projects have met the criteria, some have already been well publicized. For instance, the publisher last year donated an open-source version of SimCity to the One Laptop Per Child project. The SimCity Societies partnership with BP Alternative Energy also started off as a serious gaming proposal.
Seabolt said that 18 months ago, with development well underway on SimCity Societies, BP approached EA with an offer to pay for a game to teach youth around world about energy choices and consequences. Instead of creating a new game from scratch, the publisher decided to update the way pollution works in the game.
Instead of managing the generic “pollution,” players have to consider the various amounts of carbon each of their energy sources pump out into the atmosphere. Technologies like solar panels and low-carbon power plants might cost more up front, but they provide longer term benefits that can lead to a happier, healthier population.