How EA's legal team keeps one eye on former employees

Correspondence from Electronic Arts to an ex-employee has revealed how the publisher attempts to enforce confidentiality agreements and maintain control over company secrets long after staff have left the company.

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zebramocha2189d ago

No,no,no,they have their cloak shield engage.

v0rt3x2189d ago

I'm really starting to hate EA more and more.

iamnsuperman2189d ago

I find all the gaming companies go through these cycles of being evil then innovative and nice then back to evil and so on. It is weird.

BitbyDeath2189d ago (Edited 2189d ago )

EA's been evil since it closed Bullfrog down in 2001. They will remain evil until they reopen them. I doubt that will ever happen though. :-(

dark-hollow2189d ago

Not EA man.

I'll take square enix stubbornness, capcom greed And Activision milking combined over what's EA's doing for their developers.

I lost the count of how many great studios they acquired then just simply threw it in the trash later.

grayfoxx8812189d ago

As much as I love Mass Effect and Battlefield, EA is just not healthy for the gaming industry. They have systematically bought and dismantled so many development teams over the years, their PR department does the OPPOSITE of what a PR department is supposed to do, and I highly doubt any of the big execs have ever touched a game with any serious interest.

Kalowest2189d ago (Edited 2189d ago )

"They have systematically bought and dismantled so many development teams over the years"
What about Activision, they've also closed many studies in just the past 3yrs.

grayfoxx8812189d ago

Sure Activision has. We're in total agreement. However, I never stated that EA was the only publisher that shuts studios down.

sjaakiejj2189d ago

How about Sony, Microsoft? They closed a lot of studios as well. Have you ever considered that the studios may have been closed because they under-performed, both critically as well as financially?

grayfoxx8812189d ago

No. I think the studios are shut down because EA stifles creativity and new concepts that are usually shown by the development studios that are acquired. EA does not take risks, everything must look like what is considered successful on the market. EA copies, it does not create. The problem is EA does not copy formulas well. Game sales tank, thus the studio is closed because it is not considered financially viable. Rinse and repeat. Look at Insomniac's trailers of Overstrike and Fuse. Fuse is what happens when EA gets its talons in a project.

Kalowest2188d ago (Edited 2188d ago )

Most of the studies get shut down because of financially reasons, not because of creativity/not receiving praise reasons.

TenkoTAiLS2189d ago

How is that even considered lawful. Once your contract is terminated, it's terminated, you are no longer bound by the companies edicts. Once they stop paying you they can't by law enforce their rules on you.

sjaakiejj2189d ago

"you are no longer bound by the companies edict"

Wrong. NDAs and Trade Secrets extend far beyond the end of your contract with a company. By law you are not allowed to breach these contracts, regardless of employment status with the company that holds them.

TenkoTAiLS2188d ago

There must be a time period on these things cause there are plenty of people that leave companies and start their own in the same sector, or talk about the company or it's ideas and plans after leaving said company. And very few of them get taken to court. Personally I would never sign a contract that tried to tell me what I could and couldn't do after I left a company. They stop paying me, I stop doing what they tell me.

sjaakiejj2188d ago

"Personally I would never sign a contract that tried to tell me what I could and couldn't do after I left a company"

Well, that's a problem. Every company has trade secrets, and you are legally bound to not reveal those to any other company pretty much indefinitely.

"And very few of them get taken to court."

How many employees that revealed a company's trade secrets can you name that weren't taken to court? Trade Secrets are what gives a company an advantage over its competition, so it's in a company's best interest to show to their employees that they don't stand for breach of contract.

In fact, in many (most) companies you're not even allowed to reveal ideas you came up with yourself during your time there to the competition.

rainslacker2188d ago

Most employees at game companies sign a non-compete agreement, which extends for a period of time after they leave the company, typically 6-12 months. The letter sent by EA seemed to point to this. Also all game companies(publishers and developers) have non-disclosure agreements to protect their trade secrets. Part of this guys contract was to not poach EA staff, and from a business standpoint it makes sense.

This isn't something that only EA does, but something all companies do. They do have to protect themselves. Giving out trade secrets can seriously hurt a companies bottom line if someone decides to go and make a competing product, especially if they have insider knowledge of what the other company is doing. Poaching staff can put their developers in a bad position of having to re-staff, thus delaying a game, thus hurting the bottom line.

As far as you not signing a contract...well that's up to you. But if you wanted a job in the game industry it's pretty much par for the course. No sign == no job. If you do sign, the company has a right and a duty to protect it's best interest, and you have the legal obligation to hold to your contract.

v0rt3x2189d ago (Edited 2189d ago )

Well I continue to vote with my wallet.
I never touched origin and I never will and as good as some of their games may be - I'm not spending a cent on them.

No regrets

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