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EA CEO on mistakes made with 'Dungeon Keeper' mobile

EA CEO Andrew Wilson admits the company took the wrong approach in reviving the Dungeon Keeper series for mobile.
EA CEO Andrew Wilson admits the company took the wrong approach in reviving the Dungeon Keeper series for mobile.
Photo courtesy of EA, used with permission.

On Monday, EA CEO Andrew Wilson discussed what went wrong with the mobile revival of "Dungeon Keeper," which became the poster boy of financial exploitation seen in free-to-play games.

In an interview with Eurogamer, Wilson was questioned on the controversy surrounding "Dungeon Keeper" for iOS and Android and if EA had learned anything from the experience. Wilson began by acknowledging the lack of love consumers has with EA, made evident when the company won "Worst Company in America" for two years, and how he vowed to change that. He then admitted the situation involving "Dungeon Keeper" was a "misstep" for the publisher, going as far as calling it "a shame." EA had "misjudged" the economy placed in "Dungeon Keeper," along with scolding off longtime fans with a reboot that shared none of the quality from the original series. The end results of EA's "Dungeon Keeper" was a game that alienated fans and newcomers with its content, or lack of, with its monetization-based gameplay.

The biggest blow to the mobile version of "Dungeon Keeper" was when Peter Molyneux, original series creator, blasted the game for valuing money over gameplay. While the revival had some good parts to it, Molyneux said they were overshadowed by how "in your face" the in-app game purchases was to bypass hours of waiting time in completing simple tasks. "They're so greedy for forcing you to spend money it's scary," Molyneux said. He put no blame on developer Mythic for constructing the gameplay of "Dungeon Keeper" around in-app purchases, but instead on "analytics people" looking to nickel and dime players, than entertain them. The negative reception to "Dungeon Keeper" further damaged EA's trust with consumers and soiled the reputation of Mythic, as it became the last game developed by the company before it was shut down this year by EA.

Wilson says EA has learned its lesson regarding "Dungeon Keeper" and vowed to do a better job rebuilding player's trust in the company and its games. Eurogamer brought up "FIFA World" as an example of this, as the PC free-to-play game offered good gameplay value and fair monetization. However, news of "The Sims 4" not featuring a toddler life stage and swimming pools at launch has some fearing these longtime features will be sold as DLC down the line.