Industrial

[翻譯] ‘Strange Ideas’: EA’s strategy for fostering innovation


本文轉錄自gamasutra

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/168455/Strange_Ideas_EAs_strategy_for_fostering_innovation.php

‘Strange Ideas’: EA’s strategy for fostering innovation Exclusive
by Kris Graft [Console/PC, Exclusive, Business, Design, Production]

April 12, 2012

‘Strange Ideas’: EA’s strategy for fostering innovation
EA的育成策略

When running a publicly-held video game mega-publisher made up of around 7,700 employees, executives at Electronic Arts have the daunting task of trying to foster innovation within a giant machine that cranks out video games, one after the other.
運行一個有七千七百人員工的遊戲發行商,EA的高層運行一個令人驚訝的培育計畫,想要像一個有機體持續發布遊戲。

Patrick Soderlund, EVP of the EA Games label, which houses major brands like Battlefield and Mass Effect, recognizes that in these huge corporations, there is sometimes the need for more of a creative outlet. After all, video games are the product of human creativity, and once that is snuffed out, there’s not much left.
Patrick Soderlund,EA遊戲的執行副總,曾經孕育Battlefield與Mass Effect兩個品牌,他說明這個大法人計畫就像一個創意暢貨中心。否則電子遊戲就像創意產品,一旦熄燈,就什麼也沒剩下。

That’s why about a year ago, EA decided to pay closer attention to small groups of developers within the company that were coming up with interesting new ideas; bubbles of innovation that were emerging within the belly of EA.
這就是為什麼EA會開始關心公司內小型團隊的開發者,希望那些小創意與改革可以在EA的內部浮現。

“We have to come to a point, and we are at that point now, where we can actually afford to experiment," Soderlund recently told Gamasutra. “We have several ideation teams at our studio — we call them ‘labs’ — that may be working on five or six things at one time. And there may be five, ten people, or maybe even 20 people, who won’t even have a direction.
Soderlund在Gamasutra上說明:我們必須且已經在正確的時間點上,支持那些實驗性開發。我們有數個概念團隊,稱為實驗室,同時可能執行五六種開發。每個團隊可能有5到20位成員,不一定有明確的方向。

“I firmly believe that you need to let people experiment and test things and come up with strange ideas," he continued. “We may present a larger problem to them. For example — a rather bad example — ‘We’re missing a character-based action game’ or something. They’d make a ton of things, and show us the results. The idea is to test things and either continue them, or kill them early.
我強烈相信必須讓員工去實驗新奇的點子,甚至是面對較大的問題。我們正尋找一個角色為基礎的動作遊戲。然後他們將進行很多事情,告訴我們結果。測試是否要真正進行,或是及早捨棄這點子。

“Most ideas probably won’t be the right ones. But then, one out of 10 or 15 ideas will be the right one. And that’s the one that we’ll say, ‘We like that, continue.’ Then we’ll start funding it."
很多點子沒有用,但是十幾個點子總會有一個出線。計畫因而開始推展。

Small experimental teams within larger publishing bodies are not unique to EA. But the fact that EA is now paying attention to and investing time in innovation in such an organized manner might be a surprise to those who view EA as a monolithic video game factory.
大發行商運行小實驗團隊並非EA獨創。但是這樣有組織地投資時間改革創新對被認為已是巨大遊戲工廠的EA倒令人驚訝。

“When you have a company this big, you’ll have these [small groups] form naturally, because there’s so many people," Soderlund said. “We just said, ‘It’s kind of happening anyway, so let’s take control over it, and make this okay to do — let’s make sure that people can work with us.’
公司規模龐大,自然就會有小型的組織與團隊。我們試圖掌控並納入正式的管理。

“We’ve been doing it in a controlled form for a little over a year within our label," he added. “We started small, with one team, then we tested and saw some good results with it. A lot of the things you see today in our products come from these ideas. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a new product. Maybe it’s a way to make better animations, or a way of making cooler destruction."
我們在我們的事業部內以一個可以掌控的形式運行它超過一年。從一個團隊開始,並測試是否有好結果。公司內很多事情都由這運作機制開始。不一定是一個新的產品,可能只是製作動畫的好方法,或是更酷的破壞特效。

Soderlund, one of the founders of EA-owned Battlefield studio DICE, said the seed for these idea labs was planted at DICE during the development of the experimental downloadable online shooter, Battlefield 1943.
Soderlund身為Battlefield的股東之一,說明這些種子已經撒在像是可下載並線上遊玩Battlefield 1943這個產品上。

“That [game’s development] was basically a way for us to control ups and downs in our production cycles," he said. “Normally, people would go into a production too early, or they would basically get transferred to an existing game team. Instead we said, ‘Do whatever you want. We’ll put you in this pod, do whatever you want.’
這樣的遊戲開發過程就讓我們可以控制開發的週期,通常成員會過早進入開發,或是被指派到一個已經存在的遊戲團隊中。相反地,我們把成員放在這個點上,告訴他請作你想做的任何事情。

“And they said, ‘Hey do you want to do Battlefield back in World War II again?’ So they kept working on that. That kind of started something. Now we do it in all our studios.
然後他告訴我們難道你們不想把Battlefield改成二戰版本嗎?這種機制在我們的公司團隊中運作。

“I think it’s important that we enable our people to innovate, and to be able to come up with new ideas. Because frankly, that’s what our audience wants."
我認為啟發我們的員工創新很重要,才能生出新點子,也是玩家所要的。

Gamasutra will have more from Soderlund in a wide-ranging interview in the near future.
Gamasutra會在不久會有Soderlund較詳盡的訪談。

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