With the appointment of John Riccitiello as CEO in 2007, EA decided that it was time to transition from relying solely on licensing brands such FIFA and James Bond to creating their own new franchises. In the few years that followed, the company was able to create several strong franchises such as Dead Space, Dragon Age, Mirror Edge and Brutal Legend. However, it seems that this trend has come to a halt as they released no new franchises to speak of in 2011 and 2012.
"We've reached an end of an era," admitted Ethan Levy, a former BioWare San Francisco producer who worked on Dragon Age Legends.
"EA's stated strategy is fewer, bigger brands. Of the many new IPs developed for this generation, only Army of Two, Dead Space and Dragon Age continue to see new versions. As far as I can tell from publicly facing information, creating innovative, new IPs just isn't a priority for the organization," he wrote on his Quarter Spiral blog.
Levy then pointed out that licensed franchises have made EA a fortune on the iPhone Store. For example, it is estimated that The Simpsons: Tapped Out alone has made more $20 million in its first few days in market.
"Big brands + big marketing budget + high production values = $$$. This is the EA formula. They may have been late to the mobile & tablet freemium party, but now that they are here they will outcompete the Dragon Vales and Tiny Monsters of the world."
"This formula may have finally run its course in the core space, where 80+ rated Lord of the Rings, James Bond and Godfather games have all fallen out of favor with gamers' wallets," he continued. "But as Tapped Out proves, the players who enjoy the games produced by this formula have simply moved to another platform. EA's digital future has less to do with big, risky new IPs like Mirror's Edge or Brutal Legend and much more to do with the huge return on investment proven by The Simpsons' $20.7 million breakout success."