Electronic Arts

Electronic Arts (Nasdaq: ERTS) is a large video game developer and publisher. It was founded in 1982 by Trip Hawkins. As such, it is one of the oldest and largest video game publishers in the world; sales top two billion (US) dollars annually. EA's success over the years was built upon a huge library of popular video games. In the early days of home computers, EA routinely ported their most popular titles across all platforms.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Notable Games Published by EA
3 Brands
4 Trivia
5 External Links

History

Electronic Arts was started by Trip Hawkins when he left his job at Apple Computer as Director of Strategy and Marketing. Hawkins founded the company in the summer of 1982 with a personal investment of US$200,000. His original name for his newly found company was Amazin' Software.

By September of 1982, the initial staff was in place. The original members included:

  • Rich Melmon, VP Sales and Marketing (formerly the president of a local PR agency)
  • Dave Evans, Producer (formerly a marketing manager at Apple)
  • Pat Marriott, Producer (formerly a marketing manager at Apple)
  • Joe Ybarra, Producer (formerly a producer at Apple)
  • Jeff Burton, Sales (formerly a sales manager at Atari)
  • Bing Gordon, Marketing (formerly an account executive at an ad firm, Ogilvy and Mather)
  • Stephanie Barrett, Administrator

They wrote the original business plan in October and November of that year and moved into an office. Their first office space occupied a building that overlooked the San Francisco Airport landing path. By Christmas they added four more people to their staff:
  • Tim Mott, VP Technology (formerly a manager at Xerox PARC)
  • Dave Maynard, Engineer (formerly at Xerox PARC)
  • Steve Hayes, Engineer (formerly at Xerox PARC)
  • Stewart Bonn, Producer (formerly sales)

Another employee, Nancy Fong, joined in March of 1983 to head up the art department.

The other early founders of the company universally disliked the Amazin' Software name. In October 1983 they held an off-site meeting to come up with a better name for the company.

Two advertising agents who were moonlighting for the startup suggested the name "Softart." Their proposed name was meant to imply that the company's software was a new kind of art. Unfortunately, one of EA's early investors was Software Arts, the creators of VisiCalc, and wouldn't let them use such a similar name. However, the name concept was liked by all the attendees.

Then Gordon proposed "Electronic Artists," in tribute to the film company United Artists. However, Steve Hayes opposed, saying, "We're not the artists, they are..." meaning that the developers whose games EA would publish were the artists. Finally Tim Mott proposed Electronic Arts, and the name was liked and approved by all.

According to the 1982 business plan, EA's original business goals were to grow to a billion dollar company in about 6 years. Another goal was to "make software that makes a personal computer worth owning." At the time, Electronic Arts was the 136th game publisher in the US, but the first to reach the billion-dollar goal (although it actually took 12 years).

A novel approach to giving credit to its developers was one of EA's trademarks in its early days. EA was the first video game publisher to treat its developers like rock stars in an industry where developers were more prone to be treated like nameless factory workers. EA routinely referred to their developers as "artists" and gave them photo credits in their games and numerous full-page magazine ads. EA also shared lavish profits with their developers, which added to their industry appeal. Because of this novel treatment, EA was able to easily attract the best developers.

In May of 1983 EA shipped:

Today, Archon, Pinball Construction Set, Worms and M.U.L.E. are still considered cornerstone products in the history of video games.

After a very successful run on home computers, Electronic Arts later branched out and produced console games as well. Eventually Trip Hawkins moved on to found the now defunct 3DO company.

Notable Games Published by EA

Some of the most notable and popular games of video game history have been published by EA. Many of these are included in the list below. Though EA published these titles, they did not always develop them. Many were developed by independent game development studios.

Brands

EA now operates under several brand names. Some of these include:

EA also operates the games channel on AOL.

Trivia

EA's classic Square/Circle/Triangle corporate logo was devised by Barry Deutsch of Steinhilber Deutsch and Gard design firm. The three shapes were meant to stand for the "basic alphabet of graphic design." The shapes were rasterized to connote technology.

Many customers mistook the square/circle/triangle logo for a stylized "EOA." Though they thought the "E" stood for "Electronic" and "A" for "Arts," they had no idea what the "O" could stand for, except perhaps the o in "Electronic."

Nancy Fong and Bing Gordon came up with the idea to hide the three shapes on the game covers, borrowing the idea from the urban legends concerning the placement of the bunny symbols on the covers of Playboy magazine.

External Links




copyright 2004 FactsAbout.com