EA exec: Zynga and THQ struggles don't help us

EA exec: Zynga and THQ struggles don't help us

By Rob Crossley

February 27th 2012 at 5:03PM

Hilleman takes wider view: Problems for any games firm puts whole sector in negative light

One of EA’s most senior and longest-serving directors believes the publisher’s executive inner-circle shouldn’t rejoice when its rivals struggle.

“Look, I don’t like it when Zynga gets bad press, and I don’t like it when THQ gets bad press,” EA chief creative officer Richard Hilleman (pictured) said in an interview with VG247.

“There are folks at EA who think it’s a ‘they lose, I win’ type of thing. I think that’s not true,” he continued.

THQ could soon be delisted from the NASDAQ stock exchange as a slump in investor confidence dragged its value under the minimum $1/share threshold.

MEanwhile, Zynga's share price has zig-zagged ever since its protracted and luckless IPO in December.

“We are not a business that’s big enough yet where we can afford for people to make our business look bad, regardless of who they are or what their intentions are," Hilleman said.

“So if somebody writes something about Zynga that’s wrong, I’m as likely to say it’s wrong as anyone else is because I think misconceptions and misattributions in our business are just negative. They hurt everybody. They help nobody.”

Hilleman, who joined Electronic Arts in 1982 as one of its first few employees, said he was a “fierce, fierce competitor”, but takes a wider view in how the industry is perceived.

The veteran games developer has close working ties with many Zynga employees, and believes that the links between both companies allowed EA to respond to the social games trend faster than its competitors.

“I think we were more aware [of the social games revolution] than almost anybody else,” he said.

“A lot of the early Zynga employees are actually ex-EA employees. In fact, it’s almost disproportionate. It looks like an EA satellite operation sometimes.”