According to SEC filings made Friday, July 6, 2018 which were sent to Investors today on July 9, 2018 Blake Jorgensen (COO & CFO at EA Games) sold $1,503,967 worth of stock market holdings in EA on July 3, 2018 (last Tuesday). This took place over two transactions in which 6,200 shares were sold at $142.85 each (for a total of $885,670) followed by an immediate secondary motion to sell 4,300 shares at $143.79 each (for a total of $618,297). Typically game industry executives have been known to sell off large amounts of stock market holdings in the companies they work for when their inside knowledge allows them to predict a future drop in value will occur (sometimes legally, sometimes illegally based on past court findings of executives at EA in particular).
Let’s take this opportunity to give an EA News WrapUp of some recent events that may be related to this disposal of securities and late filing on a massive release of shares from a loathed industry figure who has defended loot boxes in games, even as governments condemn and ban them through new laws, as well as suggest the death of single player games, and why he may think that EA’s stock market value could be heading for a decline.
BIOWARE CONFIRMS NO STAR WARS
There will be no story-focused Star Wars adventure from development studio BioWare who has recently confirmed that they are working on another Mass Effect game. While this could at face value be seen as a good thing, you have to look a little bit deeper to really see why this could be a problem that will likely devalue EA’s stock over the coming years.
At E3 2018, the host of EA’s Press Conference was able to get the title of Respawn Entertainment’s upcoming action game for the Star Wars franchise. It’s called “The Last Jedi”, and gamers got nothing further for info about it. It’s not ready to be shown, which is fair enough, but one thing that was not addressed is the fact that gamers are concerned with the closure of Visceral Games and cancellation of Star Wars 1313 by LucasArts followed by the cancellation of Amy Hennig’s Uncharted-style Star Wars game, code-named Project Rag Tag, which was seeking to bring back the majesty of the 1313 project.
In other words, BioWare was the last hope for something cinematic, action-fueled, and with an interesting plot to release in the video game world while EA Games has the exclusive rights to produce Star Wars games. And they just confirmed they will be doing nothing of the sort.
ANOTHER MASS EFFECT FAIL INCOMING
Mass Effect 1, 2, and 3 pleased fans although the franchise suffers from a failure to incorporate player choice along the series in the final ending. Other than that, it is considered a very good trio of games by most gamers.
The last game to release, Mass Effect Andromeda, was supposed to be a brand new chapter matching the first three games in quality and fun-factor. Instead, the title released without the polish expected from high budget games, and is mainly hated by fans of the original series as well as other gamers who gave it a chance based on the reputation of the original titles. I just saw Andromeda in my local EB Games bargain bin for $5. Now the team at BioWare will be doing another one… great.
EA ACQUIRED “INDUSTRIAL TOYS”
The co-creator of the Halo franchise has a new studio of 14 game developers called Industry Toys and EA has announced today that they’ve acquired it as part of their focus on creating new gaming experiences. They primarily work on mobile shooter titles and reside in Pasadena, California. Their games include Midnight Star which is a sci-fi shooter in which auto-aim and on-rails movement are pointed out as major problems to enjoying the title by critics. It’s unknown how much EA Games has paid for the studio and what exactly the company will be tasked with creating.
The cloud-streaming subsidiary of GameFly (but not the mail-service itself) and Respawn Entertainment were also acquired by EA in recent times, with most press and gamers expecting negative effects to occur to each company given EA’s track record with ruining and eventually shutting down companies. Some have even accused EA of sabotaging Titanfall 2 in order to reduce the value of Respawn before acquiring them, as the title was released in the least desirable window during which EA’s Battlefield 1 and many other competing genre games were released.
WORST SHOW OF E3 2018
Andrea Rene, an online personality who was chosen to host this year’s EA Play 2018, did a great job but nothing she did could save the villains of the industry. This year EA Games had a terrible E3 showing (See for yourself here), which was given a D Rating by thousands of viewers in a poll where D was the lowest rank available for selection. In retrospect, that could have been generosity on the part of the poll itself or just limitations to the system that was used to host the poll.
Even though Anthem was shown by EA Games and is one of the most anticipated games the company had to show off, concerns about Anthem being an empty gaming experience riddled with a littered mess of micro-transactions just like Destiny still persisted. In addition to these concerns there has also been feedback that the gameplay itself looks generally boring and uninspired, despite the impression that Anthem is graphically good. Claims from BioWare that the title will have the narrative quality the studio is known for are, for the most part, disbelieved by press and gamers alike.
EA ACTS LIKE AN EVIL VILLAIN
Command and Conquer Rivals was also a massive low-point for the company as they have proven they don’t understand what gamers want and what is wrong with their methods over the past couple of decades. The game poured salt into the wounds of fans who miss the old C&C games and Westwood Studios which EA Games acquired, ruined, and shut down.
It was something of parading around the dead corpse of a well loved franchise from the golden age of PC Gaming RTS days. Simplifying the title to the maximum, revealing it like an eSports title, and then aggressively attacking gamers after E3 in defense of their awful design decisions rather than taking the feedback on-board has only further cemented the fact that EA Games just doesn’t get it when it comes to the gaming industry as a whole.
They’ve been voted Worst Company In America over 5 times now. And then there’s the fact that EA’s most well-known accomplishment is ruining the Star Wars name with one of the largest controversies in recent entertainment history, Battlefront 2. During the continued regulation of loot boxes and gambling mechanics, EA Games continues to defend the greed-based practices, even as they become banned and made illegal by governments worldwide.
The backlash of the Star Wars Battlefront 2 scandal as well as general mishandling of the Star Wars franchise finally was too much to ignore and the CEO of Disney had to step in to force EA to change their stance on the game.
$1.5 MILLION (USD) IN EA STOCK SOLD
When you put all of this together, you might want to sell of some of your stock options in EA if you were Blake Jorgensen too. For the record, their stock value has indeed been sliding since E3 2018.