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In Their Own Words: Farah Ali, EADP Player and Developer Experience

Meet Farah Ali, Senior Director of Engineering, who leads EA’s Player and Developer Experience group

At Electronic Arts, everything we do is meant to Inspire the World to Play. Approximately 8,800 employees bring the spirit of play to EA every day, living our Purpose & Beliefs – Creativity, Pioneering, Passion, Determination, Learning and Teamwork – to deliver powerful and immersive experiences to millions of players around the world. To celebrate employees who embody these values in their work, EA recently launched our first annual Purpose & Beliefs Awards.

Meet Farah Ali, Senior Director of Engineering, who leads EA’s Player and Developer Experience group. Farah’s team was recognized with the Teamwork Award for working seamlessly across time zones and global locations to deliver important game updates and improve player experiences.

What is the role of the Player and Developer Experience group at EA?

The Player and Developer Experience group is focused on enhancing the player experience, both before and after a game’s launch. We listen to what players are saying and monitor in-game metrics such as load times, frame rates and service latency to get a comprehensive view of what players are seeing in real-time. Machine learning helps us anticipate ideal player behavior, which we cross-reference with real user data to find areas we can improve. Working alongside development teams, we identify solutions so players have the most delightful experiences possible.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I really enjoy seeing how passionate people are about our games. Whether we are introducing toddlers in The Sims or a new game feature, it’s eye-opening how much players care about what we do. This passion is what pushes us to take our work seriously and recognize the impact we are having on peoples’ lives every day.

What is your favorite game of all-time?

Monkey Island, by LucasArts, is a series of five adventure games about a pirate who becomes one of the most notorious pirates in the Caribbean. The game features a lot of quirky storytelling and creative problem-solving, which I think is lots of fun!

How does the Player and Developer Experience group embrace Teamwork at EA?

The Player and Developer Experience group operates without boundaries. If you come to me with a problem, I will do everything I can to help you solve it or find someone who can. We don’t allow titles or roles to limit our ability to support the broader team, motivated instead by a curiosity and satisfaction in helping each other solve problems.

It’s eye-opening how much players care about what we do. This passion is what pushes us to take our work seriously and recognize the impact we’re having on peoples’ lives every day.

In your mind, what does it mean to Inspire the World to Play?

At their core, games are entertainment that ease your mind, push you to think in new ways and embrace your best self. If we can create great experiences for millions of players, then we are helping the world to play, escape from the day-to-day, and most importantly, have fun!

How does Teamwork advance EA’s purpose to Inspire the World to Play?

With close to 100 people across seven locations and five time zones, the Player and Developer Experience group is comprised of passionate individuals representing a diversity of cultures and backgrounds around the world. Working together, we embrace this diversity to better understand our players and cultural sensitivities so we can focus on creating delightful player experiences.

What was your team’s experience being recognized as recipients of the Teamwork Award?

In addition to participating in a company-wide awards ceremony, we had the opportunity to donate to the nonprofit of our choice. The team chose Malala Fund, an inspiring organization committed to promoting girls’ education. We were also excited to name a dog tag, “EA Teamwork,” in Battlefield 1 and a street in Need for Speed Payback, so we will forever have “Banyan Blvd” named after us, an inside joke based on a tool developed by the Systems Engineering team.

What does it mean to you and the team to be recognized?

Receiving the Teamwork Award was an opportunity to internalize the impact we’re having as a team and take pride in the company-wide recognition of our work. The Teamwork Award is special to receive, because the recognition isn’t for one person or manager, but rather, an entire team that is really passionate about our players. For me personally, I’ve only been with EA for two and a half years and it’s rewarding to know I can make an impact in this short amount of time.


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