Laura Miele Is Listening
Bloomberg Businessweek|May 24, 2021
The most powerful woman in gaming is trying to make EA more responsive to its customers
Joshua Brustein

One of the first things Laura Miele did when she became chief studios officer of Electronic Arts Inc. three years ago was to gather 19 video game influencers in a conference room. “What do you want me to hear? Lay it on me,” she recalls asking them. “One guy sitting at the corner of the table, he just said, ‘I don’t understand why you don’t give players what they’re asking for.’ ”

It’s something many gamers have wondered about EA for years. The $40 billion company, one of the biggest in gaming, is responsible for Battlefield, Madden NFL, and other megahit franchises. But many gamers have long seen EA as a necessary evil, resenting the direction in which it took some games and bristling at its aggressive attempts to extract money by charging extra for digital items in games that cost as much as $70 upfront. This dissatisfaction was no secret in 2018: Gamers spent their days filling up Reddit and other message boards with free advice for EA—but many felt its decision-makers weren’t listening.

EA’s leadership knows it has to improve that relationship, and Miele is a key player in its efforts to do so. Her focus group asked for new content for Star Wars Battlefront II and requested new types of games. Miele quickly assigned 70 people to the Battlefront development project, which dramatically improved its net promoter score, a measure of how likely people are to recommend the game. She also prompted EA to create a skateboarding game and committed to reintroducing its college football franchise, the two genres at the top of the influencers’ list.

In a sense, the guy at the meeting became a stand-in for all of EA’s long-suffering customers in Miele’s eyes. “I wanted to do right by this player,” she says.

As chief studios officer, Miele manages 6,000 staffers and thousands of contractors globally. She oversees EA’s 24 studios, where she makes personnel decisions and sets strategy, and she’s reshaped how the company uses analytics to create and market its games.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEKView All

Bottom-Fishing Can Be Scary

In a rough year for stocks, it’s tempting to try to grab bargains now. Just be careful

6 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
May 09, 2022

RETHINKING FAIR PAY

Companies are overhauling compensation amid an uptick in relocations

4 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
May 23, 2022

MAKING CONTACT

Getting close enough to touch an animal usually isn't a great idea. But in a quiet lagoon on Mexico's Baja Peninsula, the whales are happy to oblige

6 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
May 23, 2022

BUILD BACKS BETTER

In a scoliosis market where treatments have changed little since the 1970s, even new brace technology shows how far we still have to go

10+ mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
May 23, 2022

ASTRONOMICAL HARASSMENT

A long-term survey of women in astronomy reveals a sordid culture of discrimination and inequality in academia

4 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
May 23, 2022

The Teen Who Defied DeFi

How a young math whiz nabbed $16 million by exploiting decentralized finance | Index Finance was one of the great hopes of decentralized finance, the blockchain-based movement challenging Wall Street's gatekeepers. With one swift set of transactions, an 18-year-old math prodigy liquidated $16 million of its assets and opened a new legal frontier

10+ mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
May 23, 2022

Nigerian Projects Stall as Chinese Loans Dry Up

President Buhari's legacy could be marred by Beijing's waning appetite for costly public works abroad

4 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
May 23, 2022

The Twitter Deal's Big Debt Bill

If the acquisition goes through, the company will face mounting interest expenses as it tries to grow

3 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
May 23, 2022

The Very Last of Lehman Brothers

The bank whose collapse marked the beginning of the 2008 financial crisis is only mostly dead. Meet the people attending to its final remains

10+ mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
May 23, 2022

This Time Is Different

The slump that startups thought would never happen has arrived

6 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
May 23, 2022
RELATED STORIES

East Meets West

KALYANI ADUSUMILLI grew up in a minority group in the United States, straddling cultures, learning how to fit in, and later learning how to accept the traditions of her heritage. Today, she is watching her children going through the same process, shifting their cultural identity, as they head toward adulthood in the melting pot of a multicultural society.

4 mins read
Heartfulness eMagazine
May 2022

EA SPORTS AND FIFA END PARTNERSHIP, BOTH EYE NEW VIDEO GAMES

Electronic Arts will stop making its hugely successful FIFA video game in its current name, marking a split in one of soccer’s most successful and lucrative partnerships after the sides failed to strike a new licensing deal.

2 mins read
AppleMagazine
May 13, 2022

Living the Dream

Both family-friendly and perfect for entertaining, the forever home SoCal architect Chris Brandon designed for himself, wife, and kids marries modern design with old-world charm.

4 mins read
Ocean Home
April/May 2022

Chocolate Cake

This delicious recipe is the ideal way to serve up any leftover Easter eggs. If you have no leftover eggs, it’s the perfect excuse to buy a few more!

2 mins read
Farmer's Weekly
May 06, 2022

How Iron Levels in Maize Have Changed Over 2000 Years

According to a study by Ale Vidal Elgueta et al, researchers from Chile and France, the intensification of agricultural production over the past two millennia has led to a reduction in the level of iron in maize.

6 mins read
Farmer's Weekly
May 06, 2022

The Planet Was There Before Us and Will Be There After Us

DAAJI shares how caring for Mother Earth begins with eliminating thought pollution from the mind and nurturing the attitudes of love and reverence. When love and reverence are there, will we intentionally hurt anyone or anything, especially our Mother Earth?

6 mins read
Heartfulness eMagazine
April 2022

Good Mood Food

Easy recipes packed with greens, grains, nuts and oily fish are key to Khanya Mzongwana's feel-good eating plan this winter

10 mins read
Woolworths TASTE
May/June 2022

Tick All the Right Boxes

These contemporary design ideas prove that it's hip to be square!

3 mins read
Home South Africa
May/June 2022

Building Bridges

Amid ongoing cultural clashes about whether it's really necessary to learn and to talk about race (it is), one Austin woman's faith-based program brings dialogue and racial reconciliation to communities around the world.

9 mins read
The Oprah Magazine
Volume 2. No 2 - 2022

The Reluctant GALLERIST

How a rare book seller became an under-the-radar art world powerhouse.

2 mins read
Town & Country
April 2022