I feel like they have their business model, and they see indy developers doing really well with a decent fan base and they say "We want that" then they try to incorporate them into their business model, and it ends up destroying what made that indy dev successful in the first place(IE forcing Bioware to jam multiplayer into every game despite being known for their single player experiences.)
I don't know in general, but that's certainly not what happened with Bioware. The obligatory MP mode started with ME3, and the multiplayer component in that game was handled by a completely different studio (Montreal, while the main game was developed in Edmonton), and it was a stripped down version of what seems to have been initially prototyped as a standalone Battlefield-esque FPS. It was also such an unexpected success that its monetization model was copied and has more or less become standard. Their focus on multiplayer can be said to have begun with the choice to make SWTOR an MMO instead of another single player installment in the franchise, and whose development begun before the company was acquired by EA.
EA basically appears to be a cliché American "enterprise" with everything that entails (I expect to walk straight into a Dilbert cartoon should I go to work there). So yeah, the company culture is likely a big part of the reason why big names have been quitting (if not for what I wroter earlier). Those that stay either do so out of convenience or because they can't afford to leave for some reason.
(1) the problem here being the "low wage" part, not the "country" part, as my girlfriend always says: "If you pay peanuts you get monkeys".
I would disagree here. It's not a matter of pure cost cutting, it's a matter of a corporate culture at your destination.
For example in Poland you'd often get as good programmers on average if not better than your average in high cost locations. Just look at various global contests in this field and what these guys can do on technical universities with funding of 0.01% of what US top schools get (might exaggerate the cost part a bit, but the disparity is huge)
Then look also at the studios, which bring on average similar quality products to the high cost locations in terms of games and sometimes they can produce a real gem (see the Witcher franchise for example)
Same goes to other technically low cost countries. if these countries have good education, they can easily compete with their work force. however the problem often lies with mentality and corporate culture.
For example, if in India employees get financially punished even for minor errors and are thought to adhere the procedure to the letter, then do not be surprised that your email with a problem will bounce 20 times, including three times telling that you should raise an error ticket.
If the culture pushes for cheap drones, then you will get those. If the culture pushes for problem solvers, you will get those as well, as long as you pay competitively in relation to the local market and purchase power of a dollar. That way you can still save 60% and get similar if not better quality.
I don't think we disagree, I think I just wasn't clear enough, so let me try to clarify and hopefully not make the misunderstanding worse...
Since you were talking about Poland (not the country that comes to my mind first when talking about low cost countries, but hey )
The reason why they outsource is *cost*, *what* they outsource is generally "the boring stuff". That Polish employees are relatively cheaper than, say US employees (and I don't think the difference is quite as big as you'd think at first if you factor in social security, retirement funds and all that). Generally these companies pay decent wages by local standards (not high, possibly slightly above average) but the work they have is usually, well, boring. So they get an influx of average, at best, programmers. The good ones can simply get better jobs elsewhere (better, or at least equally well paid; more intellectually stimulating,...)
Simply put: you get paid the same to go work on The Witcher, where you likely have some creative freedom or at least input in the process. Or you can type out code to exact specifications for, say, EA for the same wage. Where are the good programmers going do you think? (and in practice I think that the first job would actually pay better too since they actually *want* you to think, the second just requires drones). That's not to mention that I somehow suspect the atmosphere at CDPR is, errr, different from the one at EA companies.
Now if EA was willing to pay top money (again, by local standards) they might be able to snatch some real talent and they'd still get it cheaper than having to find an equally skilled programmer (or artist, or w/e) in the US. But that's not what they want and it's not what they do... (however, that is very much what Google, for one, does)
And this is assuming it's the company (eg. EA) itself that does the outsourcing, if they are using a dedicated "outsourcing" firm then you usually get the bottom of the barrel (they get programmers as cheap as possible as long as they are still competent enough to get the job done somewhat satisfactorily so as to not lose a customer), regardless of the country you're dealing with (though I guess one could argue that some barrels might be deeper than others...). Not sure if there are of those firms for Poland tbh, I think that the wages in Poland just aren't low enough for two companies to profit off of it (the outsourcing firm + the firm hiring the "resource"(1))
Of course there are companies that open entire branches somewhere to get entire projects done at location, that's an entirely different discussion though (we have an office in Eastern Europe and those guys are great, but they're not *so* much cheaper that I need to fear for my job or maybe I'm just underpaid by my country's standards )
(1) ugh, how I hate that term, I think I need to vomit now