Each day, 175+ million people log into Facebook. More than half of these play games while on the site, creating characters—hunting for hidden objects, or competing in the World Series. The enormous popularity of social networking is just one of the trends—including the proliferation of games across a multitude of digital platforms, from consoles to mobile to social—that are fundamentally changing the gaming business. Publishers that want to successfully navigate this shift are changing the way they engage with customers and adapting their businesses to become social.
Electronic Arts (EA) is transforming its business to keep pace with innovations in gaming and engage more closely with customers throughout the lifecycle. According to Jeff Bradburn, Senior Director of Support Systems, "Building a great gaming experience is no longer enough. Publishers need to up their game and be totally connected with customers, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year."
EA—the juggernaut known for titles such as Battlefield 3™, The Sims™, and Madden NFL—has historically been a leader in selling packaged goods games at retail. Its primary customer touch points were around support issues. Today, with products like The Sims Social™ on Facebook, EA is responsible for the end-to-end customer experience: from payment to playing and support. As EA's business evolved, the company needed to provide a richer experience to customers, build stronger relationships, and capture feedback in real time to support iteration and rapid dev cycles.
Working with salesforce.com, EA's Worldwide Customer Experience team created immersive, interactive websites to help customers quickly access up-to-the-minute status updates, engage with EA game advisors, and discuss hot topics with other members of the community. Most importantly, gamers can immerse themselves in the EA brand. With Salesforce, EA was able to grow its advisor staff from 400 to 1,600 in only 6 weeks. And, EA's Worldwide Customer Experience websites were able to manage millions of hits per week during peak launch periods.
"Salesforce helped us execute on our social transformation at a faster pace than anyone thought would be possible," says Bradburn. "The close relationships that we're building with customers are a real game changer."