Electronic Arts’ ad tech hiring plans signal the publisher’s streamlined advertising dreams

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Ad tech could be about to have a new and surprising entrant: Electronic Arts.

Electronic Arts is making key ad tech hires that appear poised to streamline the company’s advertising offerings. It’s the latest development in EA’s push into advertising, following CEO Andrew Wilson’s statement that ads represented a “meaningful driver of growth” for the company during its May 8 Q4 2024 earnings call.

At the moment, EA has four active job listings for ad tech roles, which went up on various job boards beginning in late May and as recently as weeks ago. The jobs are based across EA’s various offices, with the majority located in the company’s headquarters in Redwood City, California. An Electronic Arts representative declined to comment on the hiring plans, pointing to Wilson’s earnings comments as the company’s statement on the matter.

“Everybody’s fear is that the big, bad EA are going to come in and implement this in some way they may hate — but it’s not in their interest to do that,” said Kristan Rivers, CEO of the in-game advertising company AdInMo. “We trust a publisher to do what’s right for their gamers, so I trust EA to hopefully do what’s right for the gamers first.”

The job postings include listings for an ad tech program manager, ad tech software engineers and a product manager for in-game data solutions. Another job listing, for an integrated technology lead, was marked as no longer accepting applications on July 1.

The in-game data product manager listing provides some insight into the impetus behind the hire, saying that the individual hired will “reimagine [EA’s] data flows and reporting processes, starting by identifying advertisers’ needs and implementing solutions across multiple game studios and tech teams. Your role is critical in defining the strategy and roadmap for the ad tech program and ensuring its success.”

Indeed, working across multiple game studios seems to be a feature of many of EA’s open ad tech jobs. In addition to the aforementioned product manager role, there’s also the platform engineering job, which “will evaluate where and how EA’s live service solutions, studio tech stacks, and vendor solutions can work together.” There’s the vendor solution engineer, who “will use massive data sets from 20+ game studios to promote a data-driven decision-making process.” And then there’s the integrated technology lead, whose work will span “across [EA’s] amazing franchises and experiences.”

The general focus on bringing together EA’s different studios and their advertising offerings reflects one of the publisher’s biggest challenges as it builds out its advertising arm. Although EA has long offered in-game ads inside titles such as “EA FC” — and employs a dedicated sales team for this purpose — it does not have a simple, unified advertising offering. Instead, each EA studio has its own tech stack and suite of advertising products, making it relatively complicated for the company to scale up its ad business. 

“This is a serious revenue driver for EA,” said Nina Mackie, the co-founder of the agency WeGame2, who previously worked in partnerships and agency sales at in-game ad firms Bidstack, Admix and Gadsme. “They are going to have less game releases this year, so over the next 12 months, I think this is a very smart move for them to monetize.”

One potential challenge for EA is that the majority of its current in-game ad offerings are hard-coded into games rather than placed programmatically across different titles. If EA wants to scale up its advertising business by making it more accessible to more advertisers, it will have to eschew its pre-existing direct sales approach in favor of a programmatic framework that promises to bring in more brands’ advertising dollars.

“That would be the smart move, and that’s what I think they’re doing,” Mackie said. “If they get it right, they have enough reach in terms of player base that they will dwarf most of the smaller ad tech companies out there.”

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