Entrepreneurial Thought Leader Speaker Series

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Allocating capital for new products - Nick Earl, Arcadia Kim, Erin Turner (EA)
Date: 11/12/2003
Length: 1 minutes
Speaker(s): Nick Earl , Erin Turner , Arcadia Kim
Sources: Stanford Technology Ventures Program
Description: Earl talks about how the majority of the products at EA are sequels that are released every year. The main decision for EA on these projects is budgeting how many people to work on each every year, he says. Occasionally, there is
a new product idea. This idea must pass a lot of market opportunity analysis before it is launched because it is very expensive and risky to build a new product. Still, new products are seen as a critical part of the future of the company, he
adds.

Other Videos in Series

Allocating capital for new products - Nick Earl, Arcadia Kim, Erin Turner (EA)
Nick Earl Erin Turner Arcadia Kim
11/12/2003
Summary: Earl talks about how the majority of the products at EA are sequels that are released every year. The main decision for EA on these projects is budgeting how many people to work on each every year, he says. Occasionally, there is
a new product idea. This idea must pass a lot of market opportunity analysis before it is launched because it is very expensive and risky to build a new product. Still, new products are seen as a critical part of the future of the company, he
adds. Watch More
Career Development: Going in circles until you come home - Nick Earl, Arcadia Kim, Erin Turner (EA)
Erin Turner Nick Earl Arcadia Kim
11/12/2003
Summary: Kim describes her own path into game development at EA. She majored in film making as an undergraduate, started working in management consulting, and then decided to start a web-design company. Afterward she acquired an MBA and
joined a startup company. Later on, she joined EA online in an entry-level position. Watch More
Competition - Nick Earl, Arcadia Kim, Erin Turner (EA)
Arcadia Kim Erin Turner Nick Earl
11/12/2003
Summary: Earl and Kim respond to the question: How has the competition from Grand Theft Auto influenced EA? Vice City is brilliant in its open world design, says Earl, you can go in any direction and interact with the environment. Grand
Theft Auto was a little bit of a wake up call for EA suggesting that they should be doing something like it and watching out for the competition, he adds. Watch More
Flexibility: Recognizing Growth Sectors - Nick Earl, Arcadia Kim, Erin Turner (EA)
Arcadia Kim Nick Earl Erin Turner
11/12/2003
Summary: Earl explains that EA was previously focused mainly on sports games, but they found that they could not grow fast enough without expanding into other areas, namely entertainment. Games are continually becoming more mainstream and
a lot of people can relate to movies making them a popular choice a game topic, he says. EA is now divided into three brands, EA Big (sports), EA Games, and EA Online. Watch More
Game Design: James Bond - Nick Earl, Arcadia Kim, Erin Turner (EA)
Erin Turner Arcadia Kim Nick Earl
11/12/2003
Summary: Turner talks about how the James Bond character was done in the third person in the game and his style and control comes from the mechanics of how he moves. He is always the master of his environment, she says. Watch More
Game Development Process - Nick Earl, Arcadia Kim, Erin Turner (EA)
Erin Turner Nick Earl Arcadia Kim
11/12/2003
Summary: Kim explains that EA's strategy is based on nailing down the "X," or organic fun concept for that product. EA shares knowledge across studios and around development creating a collaborative environment. The development process is
pretty standard: build prototypes, do market tests, start to build it and, ultimately, finalize the product, she says. Watch More
Innovation and Growth Post-IPO - Nick Earl, Arcadia Kim, Erin Turner (EA)
Erin Turner Arcadia Kim Nick Earl
11/12/2003
Summary: Earl and Kim respond to the question: How do you increase innovation when a lot of the game development relies on established brands and sequels? A lot of efforts are going onto create new intellectual property, says Earl. Though
risky, the new products will ultimately be the core component of the company's future. Watch More
Intellectual Property - Nick Earl, Arcadia Kim, Erin Turner (EA)
Arcadia Kim Nick Earl Erin Turner
11/12/2003
Summary: Kim talks about how there is a large range in the projects at EA. Team sizes range from 30 people to 200. Development times take 10 months to 2-3 years. Some projects are original licensed intellectual property, like Lord of the
Rings; others are hybrid intellectual property, like Golden Eye, based off of James Bond. Some games at EA are developed completely internally, others are partly outsourced to third party companies, and some are the result of
partnerships. Watch More
Lessons Learned: Game Development - Nick Earl, Arcadia Kim, Erin Turner (EA)
Erin Turner Nick Earl Arcadia Kim
11/12/2003
Summary: Turner talks about lessons learned in game development. The first lesson, she says, is that the product is only as good as the people that build it. The second lesson is to be a customer. In order to create a good product, she
notes, the team was using the product everyday. The last lesson is to know when to add more features and when to cut and ship the product. Watch More
Lessons Learned: Game Development - Nick Earl, Arcadia Kim, Erin Turner (EA)
Erin Turner Nick Earl Arcadia Kim
11/12/2003
Summary: Kim talks about lessons learned in game development. The first lesson is to focus. You can't build a game unless you know what it is, she says. The second lesson is that with an enormous team, team culture is an issue. EA solved
this by dividing the teams into smaller pods with their own leadership, she notes. The pod leaders would all coordinate on reaching milestones. Watch More
Making an Interactive Game Successful - Nick Earl, Arcadia Kim, Erin Turner (EA)
Arcadia Kim Nick Earl Erin Turner
11/12/2003
Summary: Earl talks about how EA is good at figuring out early on if a game is not going to be successful and starting over before it is too late. EA brings a compliment of distribution, marketing, resources, larger teams, better
technology, and high caliber designers, artists, and engineers to help increase the chances of creating a successful game, he says. Watch More
Market potential: GameBoy - Nick Earl, Arcadia Kim, Erin Turner (EA)
Nick Earl Arcadia Kim Erin Turner
11/12/2003
Summary: Erin Turner, a producer at Electronic Arts specializing in action-hero titles, explains that the GameBoy has a pretty substantial market with 40 million sold worldwide. The mission with the GameBoy is to create some unique draw or
additional fun factor, since it does not have nearly the graphical capabilities as a console, she says. The team's challenge is to provide the optimal gaming experience, while working within the constraints of the limited
hardware. Watch More
Opportunity Assessment: Lord of the Rings - Arcadia Kim (EA)
Arcadia Kim
11/12/2003
Summary: Kim talks about how in November 2001, the value proposition for Lord of the Rings was mixed. There was no movie yet and movie producer Peter Jackson had a questionable record. There was a lot of uncertainty over the successful
prospect of the movies. However, the core team took an entrepreneurial attitude and decided to see what they could make of the opportunity. Watch More
Opportunity Assessment: Return of the King - Nick Earl, Arcadia Kim, Erin Turner (EA)
Erin Turner Nick Earl Arcadia Kim
11/12/2003
Summary: he goal from the outset with Return of the King, says Kim, was to turn it into a perennial business. The "X" for Two Towers was "play the movie," but Return of the King was "live the movie." The development was brought in-house.
Fan feedback was incorporated. The game was done in 16 languages for X-Box, Playstation2, GameBoy Advance, Nintendo GameCube, and the PC. Watch More
Opportunity Assessment: Two Towers - Arcadia Kim (EA)
Arcadia Kim
11/12/2003
Summary: Kim explains that the Two Towers development was done with a team of 40 at EA and the help of a third party developer in order to get it finished in time. The EA team injected their values, processes, management style and work
ethic into the outside team, she says. Watch More
Organizational Structure: Directors vs. producers at EA - Nick Earl, Arcadia Kim, Erin Turner (EA)
Nick Earl Arcadia Kim Erin Turner
11/12/2003
Summary: Kim talks about how producers have the creative vision for a product, while directors make sure the resources are properly allocated and the game ships on time. These are basically flipped from the roles of movie directors and
producers, she adds. Watch More
Organizational Structure: General Manager at EA - Nick Earl, Arcadia Kim, Erin Turner (EA)
Arcadia Kim Nick Earl Erin Turner
11/12/2003
Summary: Nick Earl, General Manager of Electronic Arts Redwood Shores Studio, talks about how the General Manager's job is to run one of EA's six studios, which are the places where they actually build the product. The GM administers and
manages the portfolio of products at the site. Each product is then run by an executive producer. The executive producers are entrepreneurs in their own right and the products are managed almost like independent ventures. Watch More
Positioning: James Bond and GameBoy - Nick Earl, Arcadia Kim, Erin Turner (EA)
Nick Earl Arcadia Kim Erin Turner
11/12/2003
Summary: There were a number of creative imperatives that were addressed in the development of James Bond, says Turner, primarily, retaining authenticity to the Bond character. Bond has an aura of always being in control of his
environment, and this had to be maintained in the game. At a practical level, this required integrating combat and stealth in moment-to-moment game play. This was achieved by combining the best features of two competitive products, she
adds. Watch More
Seeing Failure as Opportunity - Nick Earl, Arcadia Kim, Erin Turner (EA)
Erin Turner Nick Earl Arcadia Kim
11/12/2003
Summary: Kim's first game experience was a hugely successful online parlor game that was launched on AOL. Majestic, her second game, tried to stretch the Internet experience into the next generation of games, but didn't do as well, she
says. The core team from Majestic was out of work and looking for another project, and stumbled into the Lord of the Rings. Watch More
Team Size and Product Development - Nick Earl, Arcadia Kim, Erin Turner (EA)
Erin Turner Nick Earl Arcadia Kim
11/12/2003
Summary: Turner explains that while console teams can be upwards of 100 people, GameBoy games can be built with 10-15 people. This core group of people is divided up into engineering, art, animation, game design, and production. The
product cycle was optimized to get the best product out as quickly as possible by condensing the concept cycle, focusing on a target, and rapidly incorporating feedback, she says. Watch More
The EA Creative Process - Nick Earl, Arcadia Kim, Erin Turner (EA)
Nick Earl Erin Turner Arcadia Kim
11/12/2003
Summary: Earl and Kim respond to the question: How do you manage the business imperatives versus the creative imperatives when developing a game? The decision makers at EA are people who really understand the creative side and have
generally worked on the production side as well, says Earl, and are therefore able to make more informed decisions. Watch More
The Entrepreneur in the Game Industry - Nick Earl, Arcadia Kim, Erin Turner (EA)
Nick Earl Erin Turner Arcadia Kim
11/12/2003
Summary: According to Arcadia Kim, Chief Operating Officer for Electronic Arts Los Angeles, an entrepreneur is someone who sees an opportunity that other people cannot see, tries to understand the competitive landscape around this
opportunity, assumes the inherent risk, and relentlessly and persistently pursues success. Specifically in the game industry, however, the objective for the entrepreneur is to deliver fun, she adds. Watch More
The Future of Online Games - Nick Earl, Arcadia Kim, Erin Turner (EA)
Erin Turner Nick Earl Arcadia Kim
11/12/2003
Summary: The PC market has not been growing as much as was hoped, says Earl. Creating games that can be played against other players from a TV set is an important goal, but the commercial side about how to make money is still under
development. Watch More

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