Apex Legends Maker EA abandons NFT after internal drama

EA CEO Andrew Wilson walks on stage at E3 2017.

Photo: AFP (beautiful pictures)

Just three months ago, the CEO of Electronic Arts, Andrew Wilson called NFTs an important part of “the future of our industry”. Now he’s doing everything he can to downplay their importance. The movement of publisher of FIFA and Madden comes as the NFT backlash reaches new heights, including at EA, where Kotaku learned that even some of the company’s own employees have criticized Wilson’s previous positions on controversial cryptocurrency technology.

Asked about NFT (non-fungible token, Climate AKA destroys links to JPEG) in investor call yesterday, Wilson gave a long and tortuous answer that ended with a simple answer. “It’s not something we’re pushing right now,” he said, likening it to previous venture capital fads around 3D, AR and VR.

While EA was never in a hurry to embrace NFT the way competitors like Square Enix and Ubisoft yes, the company was pretty bullish on them in November, says Wilson: “Anything that brings in more people and engages those people more time in a setting that I think is a good thing over time. time. in a second quarter investor call last year. “I think that’s the foundation of our live services. I think the monetization or NFT chat is still really early. And there’s a lot of conversation and [there’s] a lot of hype about it. I think it will be an important part of the future of our industry on a growing basis. “

These reviews come only a month after New York Times report that EA was locked in a messy fight to renew the FIFA license. EA’s future plans for the soccer game apparently include exploring “other projects in the FIFA video game ecosystem, including actual game highlights, arena video game tournaments, and digital products such as NFT. ”

That’s the kind of move you can expect from one of the only companies to protect the loot boxes in the face of angry fans, critics and government demands. But NFT has been a particularly emotional topic not only in public discussions, but also within game publishers.

The emoji under Andrew Wilson's comment about NFTs in EA's Slack shows mixed reactions.

Screenshots: Kotaku

Last December, Kotaku reported that Ubisoft’s NFT plans faced harsh criticism from its own staff. However, some developers at EA felt similarly and expressed their skepticism directly when Wilson was asked about NFT in the company’s Slack channel in December, according to copies of the communication. viewed by Kotaku.

In a more nuanced answer than he provided on an earlier investor call, Wilson acknowledged environmental concerns and criticized the speculative push currently driving the NFT. At the same time, he also reiterated that the company is still very interested in the NFT space. Because the CEO’s comment was shared on a limited channel, employees were limited to responding with emojis, resulting in a slew of dislike symbols, stop signs, worried expressions, and even some Doctor Evil’s face Austin’s Power.

Not everyone reacted so negatively, and at least a few employees even voiced support for Wilson’s answer on a separate channel. There, a company communications representative posted under the account “EA Insider” jokingly punishing employees for reacting so rudely to the company’s CEO.

“I’m also surprised that some people disliked and put emojis like ‘Do better’ in response to the CEO’s comment,” wrote the rep. According to Squid Fishing Game, play whether your staff badge will grant you access in 2022 [zanny face emoji]. ”

Someone posing as an EA Insider on EA's Slack posted a joking comment about the employee being fired.

Screenshots: Kotaku

Employees took the threat seriously and immediately raised concerns.

“Oh snap… totally forgot we aren’t allowed to joke around here at all and some people will always default to negative connotations no matter what,” the EA Insider account wrote. “Wil removed the comment and made sure that EA Insider doesn’t have any life.”

Then a senior comms employee rushed in to confirm that the “funny attempt” had “crossed the line” and reassured everyone that they wouldn’t be fired for disagreeing with Wilson on the NFT.

When asked about the incident and Wilson’s 180 on the NFTs, an EA spokesperson declined to comment. “I do not approve of including internal dialogue in your story, as it only erodes trust in our employees feeling as if they can share their views without fear of being criticized. published in the media,” they wrote in an email.

In the meantime, EA joins develop list of companies and famous artists who decided NFT wasn’t the next big thing after all. At least until the next call with investors.

https://kotaku.com/nfts-ea-fifa-madden-apex-legends-crypto-scam-loot-boxes-1848467337 Apex Legends Maker EA abandons NFT after internal drama

James Brien

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