game, game. repeat.

Transfering To Executive Producer

Tue 17 February 2004

Chris Writes:

I have about three years experience in creating stochastic simulations and visualization systems for the US Army at WSMR. In addition I am currently the Executive Producer of a CG kids show for APTN. I’m interested in flying the coop here sometime in the next couple of years. What kind of chance do I have to get into an Executive Producer slot at EA. A great deal of my experience is in getting a team of modelers/animators/programmers to create specific simulation systems for the military. In other words, I build very expensive/limited market video games. Does this kind of experience translate into something EA would be interested in?

My Reply:

Your experience sounds like it would put you in a good position to tackle the sorts of issues that we have in game production. But, my limited exposure to EPs at EA leads me to think that jumping straight into an EP position would be hard to do for a few reasons:

  1. There arent that many EPs in the company. My guess is that there are 5 on the studio side and another 20 in partners and subsidiaries. And at any given time, EA is probably not actively looking for more than a single EP…if we are looking at all.

  2. There are people both within and outside of EA with 10 years of game production experience that would love to be an EP at EA. You are competing with them for these rare positions.

  3. Games cost $10m+ and are typically shipped in 18 months. You would need to have experience with projects of comparable scale (roughly $750k/mo).

  4. Most people with experience in other industries take a step down when they come to EA. For better or for worse, the game industry generally expects people to prove themselves before they are given serious responsibility. EA is like that too. Before I got here I thought that this was a little odd (most of corporate America promotes you into the role first and then you grow into it), but having been at EA a month the value of this conservative approach is very clear–a lot depends on your chemistry with the people on your team as well as your knowledge of how games are made. Even if you have skills that enable you to ramp quickly, there is still ramp time for someone coming from another industry. I must offer the disclaimer that my experience is pretty limited…you should talk to some EPs if you want a more reliable opinion. But for what its worth, thats my 2 cents. If you aren’t married to starting at the top I think you would find some cool opportunities an EA that your skills would help you adapt to, but you will have to fight for it. EA’s not looking for people that kinda want to be here…weve got our pick of talented, experienced, and passionate people that really want to work at EA. Thats what youve got to compete with!

Updated on October 10th, 2013

Removed the link to Chris’ email, I figure he doesn’t want to keep hearing from people through this page nor be exposed to more spam.