User avatar
Seattle, WA, USA

Posted Sun Mar 13, 2016 12:36 pm

Fascinating article from Computer Gaming World (CGW) in the June/July 1987 issue describing the early misgivings Electronic Arts (EA) had about a platform it tried hard to support. Amiga was still very new on the scene, but EA was already at this very early stage beginning to fear Commodore’s pricing and marketing strategies. This small entry makes painfully clear why software houses continued to produce for the C64 and often snubbed the Amiga even with the excitement of what the hardware was capable of doing artistically at the time.

"Amiga Prospects Still Bright!" was the original title of the article in the Industry News section of the magazine.
As the computer world anxiously awaits the actual merchandising of the two new Amiga machines [presumably the 2000 and 500], CGW has begun to hear rumors that the Amiga market is too soft to support the kind of attention it received in 1986. Certain insiders have even suggested that Electronic Arts, in spite of its much heralded commitment to the Amiga, has put Amiga projects on hold until lackluster sales of Amiga software improve. CGW approached EA executive, Bing Gordon, to determine whether EA's "Commitment to the Amiga" was, indeed, softening.

Gordon responded, "The Amiga has never done as well as we had hoped when we started out. We were under the impression that Commodore was going to price it at five or six hundred dollars and promote it as a high end home computer. Instead, it came out around $1800.00 and was positioned as a business productivity tool. I personally think it's the best machine to play games on and owning one myself, I try to see that a large percentage of our titles have an Amiga version. However, we don't want to bring out anything on the Amiga that doesn't take advantage of the machine."

Asked if EA was less convinced about the viability of Amiga software than before, Gordon replied, "No. We're still working on it with a rough goal of releasing one Amiga product per month. We're still approving projects, signing contracts, and hoping it will be the premiere home computer." Questioned as to why certain projects which seemed to be naturals for Amiga translations were shuffled over to the C-64/128, the executive noted that the best selling Amiga games sold about 25,000 units in 1986 while the best-selling C-64 games ran 125,000 to 150,000 units [emphasis mine].The executive affirmed that twelve projects were in development at the present time with four nearing completion. CGW speculates that many developers/publishers are waiting to see how the Amiga 500 broadens the user base of Amigas before making it their machine of choice. The next six months may well signal a watershed in the future of the Amiga, particularly for gamers.

Return to “The Lounge”