Offline: EA CEO John Riccitiello Has Stepped Down

By John Walker on March 18th, 2013 at 8:49 pm.

'Bums.'

Well another person has learned: you don’t mess with Rock, Paper, Shotgun. It seems our coverage of the SimCity… no, not really. The rather more unfortunate reason for EA’s CEO, John Riccitiello’s stepping down is due to the publisher’s struggles to turn a profit, alongside warnings that the next quarter’s targets won’t be met.

Explaining his reasons for leaving in a letter sent to EA employees, Riccitiello explained that,

“My decision to leave EA is really all about my accountability for the shortcomings in our financial results this year. It currently looks like we will come in at the low end of, or slightly below, the financial guidance we issued to the Street, and we have fallen short of the internal operating plan we set one year ago. And for that, I am 100 percent accountable.”

In saying so, this looks very much like one of those falling-on-a-sword moments, to stave off investor unrest when yet another set of pointy-down graphs are released. Obviously no one person is 100% responsible for a corporations finances, but it always looks good to shareholders if you cut off the drooping heads to allow other… pretty flowers to flourish? That metaphor took an unexpectedly lovely turn.

The temporary head pretty flower is to be Larry Probst (who importantly isn’t Jeff Probst off of Survivor), while they begin what I can only desperately hope will be a TV talent show-style auditioning process for the new chief.

And no, this isn’t a time for gloating after the dreadful mess of SimCity, or ridiculous over-investment in Medal Of Honor, or whatever other ways EA may have annoyed people of late. A lot of great games come from that publisher, and they support a lot of great studios – we do rather want this industry to flourish. Hopefully a new boss can whip everything into shape, ideally in a way that doesn’t involve buying developers then closing them down.

Check out Kotaku’s coverage of this story for a really quite shocking graph of EA’s share prices over the last five years, and the full letter from the former boss to his staff.

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265 Comments »

  1. Brun says:

    There’s a lot of speculation that this has more to do with his failures to penetrate the mobile and casual markets, than with spectacular failures like SimCity. It was one of the bigger releases this quarter, and that will doubtlessly hurt this quarter’s financials, but I think this is a result of several years of failure in other areas.

    So don’t pat yourselves on the back too hard, hivemind. I don’t think this one is on you.

    EDIT: Also, failure of SWTOR and of the MoH franchise are probably worse than SimCity in the long run, and were probably bigger contributors to his ouster. SimCity might have pushed the board over the edge, but he was likely on his way out anyway.

    • S Jay says:

      Might really not be about SimCity, but the “publisher’s struggles to turn a profit” is for sure connected with how badly they treat their customers for a long time.

      But they will keep straight ahead, full on DRM, Origin-only release, etc. Stupid managers, can’t understand.

      • Misnomer says:

        Activision put out 0 non-franchise titles last year and profited well enough to earn more respect from investors. What makes you think that EA would go the direction of more original content?

        SimCity threads here are filled with people wanting a prettier SimCity 4, now SimCity has other issues too that make its innovation problematic…but why would you innovate when gamers punish you for it in sales? Reread the article, he quit because of financials. We will be getting more Activision copying, not less, from a new CEO.

        • S Jay says:

          Re-read my comment, I did not say any of this.

          • Misnomer says:

            Reply failed, meant to reply to napoleon in rags below, sorry.

        • Consumatopia says:

          SimCity 4 with curved roads and individual sims would be awesome.

          New SimCity with offline single-player, saving/re-loading, scenarios and mods would be awesome.

          • MrLebanon says:

            if you want curve roads download the NAM mod for SC4

          • Joshua Northey says:

            You do realize that is impossible with current hardware?

          • Consumatopia says:

            @Joshua, I gave two options, and absolutely nothing about the second option would require any hardware advance.

            As to the first option, yes, it would, but I think it goes to show that there’s a lot of room left for improvement, at least in theory, along the lines of SimCity 4. People don’t love SimCity 4 because it’s some kind of perfect zenith of city simulation, it’s just the best we’ve seen thus far. “prettier” has nothing to do with it.

        • Apocalypse says:

          The thing is: Customers do not punish you at all for innovative titles. They punish you only if you over-budget and under perform in QA for those games. Look how much indie games and other good innovative titles make. The market is there, it is just that big publishers seem to be unable to operate in a way to actually benefit from it.

          Big franchises are more or less the only way to sell via gigantic pre-orders and huge marketing budgets mediocre games.

      • Shuck says:

        “’publisher’s struggles to turn a profit’ is for sure connected with how badly they treat their customers for a long time.”
        Honestly, I rather doubt it is, mainly because other publishers are hardly any better. EA has simply been spending money on games with insufficient popularity to give them the returns they needed. In the case of SWTOR, too much money. More successful publishers are being kept afloat by popular franchise games and in Activision’s case, by World of Warcraft. EA’s popular franchises have had lackluster sales for their most recent outings.

        • Baines says:

          Yes. EA, like too many developers, is digging their grave by using faulty logic to predict sales figures that are too high, and then budgeting their games assuming that the figures are a guarantee rather than a gamble. (Or using budget as the primary source to predict sales. Either way, it fails.) The end result is that they rely too much on luck and can manage to turn pretty much any game into a money losing proposition.

          It doesn’t help that EA thinks it is bigger and more important than it really is, appears deadly jealous of the success of others, and blindly and willfully throws money at trying to obtain mega-blockbusters (which is largely a matter of luck itself.) Sure, landing the next Grand Theft Auto or Call of Duty will guarantee you money for years even if you try to bleed it dry (much less properly maintain it), but EA has probably flushed more money down the toilet chasing that dream than they would have managed to exploit out of such a success (admittedly because EA would likely bury such a hit dry in record time.)

          • Kadayi says:

            Anthropmorphize much?

          • Consumatopia says:

            Baines is right. “That other guy is wildly successful, so I should do what he did” is a thought process that occurs way too often in creative fields.

    • John Walker says:

      Yes, hence my saying “no, not really.”

      • Brun says:

        Apologies if I caused some confusion, but I was talking to the commenters – I always thought that’s what the term “Hivemind” referred to (readers/commenters). I’ll freely admit that I could be wrong about that though, since I’ve never really gotten a solid explanation of the origins of the term.

        • Phantoon says:

          The RPS Hivemind refers to the writers for it, and ex writers, not the posters/commenters.

          It’s a legacy joke anyways. Wouldn’t make much sense to retell it.

          • c-Row says:

            The Hivemind term is regularly used between forum members as well despite the RPS core crew rarely posting there, so from my point of view it applies to the whole community.

        • mrmalodor says:

          Your comment was the first. Were you trying to be a smart-ass pre-emptively?

        • lijenstina says:

          The hive mind is also the perception that the hive mind exists. If you treat it as it exists even you don’t believe that it exists it exists. Damn, watched too much philosophers on Youtube. :)

      • prinzipi0 says:

        hah yesterday i watched the docu “you got trumped” i knew it had saomething to mean…
        in this case .. welcome you ve got EAed…

    • Kadayi says:

      Riccitiello was has had the noose around his neck for ages since TOR failed to deliver. This comes as no real shock in truth. Will be interesting to see whether Peter Moore is appointed as CEO as he seems like the popular choice as regards the gaming intelligentsia, or whether EA will look for someone outside of the company.

    • Tams80 says:

      *Whoosshhh*

      I don’t why, but some readers here don’t read articles properly and/or take themselves far too seriously.

      If you’re going to go into a rant, it may help to not speed read.

    • Yglorba says:

      A bigger reason is that, to my understanding, Simcity hasn’t failed — it’s sold well. Granted, its sales might slack rapidly off rather than becoming a continuous moneymaker like they were hoping, but it’s not a cataclysmic failure the way eg. NBA Jam, SWTOR, or games like that were.

      Although really, looking at that graph, it looks like it’s not totally his fault — the global financial crash hit EA hard, and hey, when people are suddenly poor, they buy less luxury items like games, so it’s not a surprise that they’ve had trouble recovering.

      • Brun says:

        “Well” is a relative term. Apparently the total is 1.1M at the end of two weeks, which is basically the end of the most active sales period for any game. 1.1M is pretty anemic for a AAA game, and with all the bad press it’s unlikely to get significantly more sales over its extended lifetime.

  2. Hoaxfish says:

    1. Holy Shit
    2. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
    3. Don’t forget SWTOR (F2P), ME3 (“patched”), that thing with the “promotional” real guns (cancelled), microtransactions in everything (retracted), multiplayer in everything, “worst company in America”

    I’m not really sure how “responsible” he is for many of these things given that I imagine there’re any number of middle-men playing chinese whispers.

    I’m not sure EA can survive given the whole collapsed economy, and their pursuit of “next-gen AAA” budget spending/profits… with or without the current headman.

    • Tssha says:

      I dunno, Disney survived a real terrible CEO (I mean, that guy almost lost them Pixar. Freakin’ Pixar!) and it turned out okay. With a new CEO, they’re putting out hit after hit.

      I’m not saying EA’s (now former) CEO was that bad, or that the next guy will be that good, but maybe a change in direction will start at the top.

      You never know. It could happen.

  3. man-eater chimp says:

    For all the EA hate recently, if they went under (unlikely, but after THQ nothing is certain) we would lose out significantly. Here’s hoping they turn it round with lots of awesome games!

    • lordcooper says:

      Debatable. They have a lot of talented developers chained up in their DLC mines and I for one would love to see what these fine people could accomplish elsewhere.

      • Kadayi says:

        Devs can’t make games without financing.

        • Amun says:

          Ideas bring money, not the other way around.

          • jalf says:

            And how, exactly, do ideas do that?

            You may wish to go and learn about the thing we call “the real world” one of these days. It is characterized by, among other things, needing money to develop games, and by ideas *not* automatically coming with a bag of money,

          • Kadayi says:

            With Jalf here. This whole ‘AAA publishers are the evil, they all need to burn’ mindset is devoid of any sense of reality. The costs of game development are enormous and that money has to come from somewhere.

          • Cinek says:

            jalf – ever heard of Kickstarter? or Petroglyph?

          • solidsquid says:

            Not really, ideas are a penny a dozen, anyone can come up with them. It’s the work involved in realising the ideas which is important, and to do that you need money. Whether EA is a good way of *getting* that money is another matter, but the money is as much a requirement as the idea and much harder to get hold of

          • Kadayi says:

            @Cinek

            The differential in scales in terms of the required financing between a kickstarter and a AAA is an ocean of money. That even moneybags Notch baulked at the financial reality of fronting telltale the cash to make a Psychonauts sequel (a modest 17 million by their estimate) having mooted it once should tell you that.

          • Consumatopia says:

            The only thing worse than ideas without money is money without ideas. You’ll soon have neither.

        • Narzhul says:

          Devs can get financing from companies other than EA.

          • Llewyn says:

            Have you ever thought about why EA owns so many studios and IPs?

            Hint: it’s related to the lack of large-scale funding for games available elsewhere.

          • Narzhul says:

            Sure I do. They were just really aggressive at takeovers and acquisitions. If they didn’t buy those studios, some other holding companies would have.

          • Kadayi says:

            @Narzhul

            You have an active imagination with respect to how much interest people outside of the industry have in financing game development.

          • Consumatopia says:

            It’s a little known fact that EA is actually a branch of the Federal Reserve. Their money doesn’t come from anywhere but their own printing press, and if EA never existed neither would their money or any of their resources. In fact, if the company goes bankrupt, it’s like going back and time and killing someone’s grandpa–all of their employees and resources are erased from existence.

          • Apocalypse says:

            @Llewyn EA is famous for buying studios and wasting them, and losing money in the process.

            Others like Microsoft buying studios as well, strangely they make a great profit on those. Or at least do not buy so many studios at once that they start to dig them holes into their balance.

            EA is simply driving the prices up, which actually is taking risk as well, just not on the game design perspective of the business.

            Studios without EA founding would be still there, maybe they would have less budget, maybe they would be smaller, maybe some would really have closed their doors, but as someone mentioned already: EA is not as important as they think of themselves, others in the industry have money to found projects as well.

            Good Ideas will always draw money, because they will make money.

          • Kadayi says:

            @Apocalypse

            Tell that to Vigil

    • Advent1s says:

      Lose out on what?

      Micro-transactions, always online DRM, despicable support (Blacking out your own Support number on your own forums…) , never admitting defeat (PR can handle it all, even if failing consistently like with ME3), strong incentives for developers to do things to a creativity crushing deadline and developer graveyard.

      While their redemption around 2007 may have seen my opinion raise, the after-years have been met with continual disappointment.

      The company is too large to offer the consumer what it wants, it is too busy being a company, shady deals, shady marketing, shady everything…it doesnt need us to do anything at this point, it is heading for its own graveyard.

      • Mario Figueiredo says:

        Likewise, it’s not that future projects would fold. As THQ revealed just recently, EA would sell its assets to the highest bidders and life would go on. There’s nothing really dramatic to the consumer base about the loss of a publisher like EA. It would have a tremendous impact on anyone losing their job for sure. And, goes without mentioning, to the gaming industry who would no doubt be forced to analyse the reasons behind it and protect themselves against it. If those reasons had anything to do with this company business practices and consumer alienation, the end of EA could have the potential of creating a more balanced and healthy industry, closer to its consumers.

        Similarly, regardless of the reasons and their effects (short of an industry meltdown) the planet would keep turning, new games would keep churning and gamers would keep having their fill of computer entertainment. I agree entirely that the whole idea that losing EA would be a loss to the consumer is the thought of doomsayers only. Many of us here have actually engaged in active EA boycotting and our lives haven’t become less rosy because of it.

        • Hahaha says:

          Again SS2, you have no idea what will happen your guessing and with a horrid anti EA leaning (anything bad that happens to them will be good for us)

    • MentatYP says:

      If EA folded a bunch of studios would die with them, but there’s no question that the best and most dedicated developers would form their own studios or put out indie games. I don’t want EA to fold–that’s a lot of collateral damage just for my enjoyment–but if they do the gaming industry won’t be worse for wear.

    • S Jay says:

      Agree with everyone except OT: we probably wouldn’t lose much if EA died.

      EDIT: might even win if devs saw that their amazing DRM + Origin strategy did not work very well.

    • napoleon_in_rags says:

      Uhm, what would we lose exactly? The various series they put out that are just rehashed clones of the one’s before? I for one would love to see the liberation of Bioware and its various licenses if EA goes under.

      • Wookie says:

        Except Bioware and probably every other EA owned studio would variously go bankrupt or see their IP’s stuck in hell like every other time a publisher has gone messily bankrupt. If Bioware survived look forward to Drake Age 1 (we literally had 50p to make this edition) and Bass Effect (extreme fishing edition).

        • Lanfranc says:

          Yeah, if EA were to go bankrupt, their remaining assets would be sold off to pay their credtiors, just as with any other company. That would include all the IPs, everything from Maxis, Bioware, Command & Conquer, even Ultima, all up for the highest bidder. Don’t think that would be a pretty situation.

          • Baines says:

            It could work out in the long run. Developers like Bioware would likely be bought up by publishers who are willing to throw money at them for the next Bioware game.

            Medal of Honor would go to some other company that wants to compete with Activision. Considering the number of military FPS out there, would it even be an issue if Medal of Honor died with EA?

            Battlefield would certainly be bought by someone. In the rare case that it wasn’t, it would just open the field for someone else to make their own Battlefield-like game. (Tom Clancy’s Battlefield-like?)

            What’s the worst that might happen with IP like American McGee’s Alice? Someone might actually buy it and make a game? Because as things stand, EA is just sitting on the license, and even American McGee can’t touch it. Maybe Richard Gariott could get the rights to Ultima, or it would end up in the hands of someone capable of bringing back its old magic, because EA sure hasn’t.

            If EA collapsed overnight, the worst thing would be the flood of developers and IP hitting the market at the same time. You’d see a lot of people out of work. Some stuff would still go for a premium, but with so much money at stake, smaller stuff might fall through the cracks (think of the THQ auction on a much larger scale). But EA likely wouldn’t collapse overnight. If things got bad enough, it would sell off some assets early to buy itself some more life. (Now, it could be bad for some franchises and developers while EA was in the process of dying, because EA would likely be cannibalizing itself at that point.)

          • Tssha says:

            What’s the worst thing that could happen?

            You could wind up with an IP held by a company that insists on selling the game way above market price and refusing to sell it for anything less than astronomical, leaving an old classic game in abandonware limbo. It happened with System Shock 2, and it could happen again. It took years for GoG to convince the company holding on to System Shock 2 that reselling at a lower price would be like turning on a veritable money shower…and we still don’t have System Shock 1.

            It wouldn’t bother a company like that to hold on to a property like that and not make money on it. It’s not like it costs them. They don’t understand the games industry, they don’t understand how to make money off the property, but they bought it anyway.

            So yeah, there will always be collateral damage. I’m just glad my System Shock 2 disks survived in good condition all this time.

          • TheTuninator says:

            American McGee’s Alice is the only IP EA holds that I really care about, and I can’t imagine that the IP would be worse off in someone else’s hands than it was in EA’s after what they did with Madness Returns; a great game, but one which was clearly rushed.

            I’d love to see EA turn things around and actually start making good games again, but given that they are currently pushing some of the most noxious and harmful monetization and anti-piracy policies in the industry, I won’t shed any tears for their misfortune.

          • Cinek says:

            “Yeah, if EA were to go bankrupt, their remaining assets would be sold off to pay their credtiors, just as with any other company. (…) That would include all the IPs, (…) Don’t think that would be a pretty situation.” – I think IT’S THE BEST THING THAT COULD HAPPEN.
            Loads of excellent game franchises could be released from EA slavery and actually get into a hands of people who might do something great with them. On top of that – long-forgotten games could be restored back into the gaming world.
            Sounds rather brilliant.

          • Hahaha says:

            YEAH and ss2 might of only just got a re-release

        • Apocalypse says:

          Hey, Chris Roberts is only waiting for that day to get his IPs back. He actually mentioned that he would like to buy his Wing Commander back.

          And iirc Richard Garriott has as well some money laying around for that day to get his stuff back from them.

          And I am quite sure that someone actually would like to buy not only the old origin systems stuff, but the old bullfrog IP as well.

      • SighmanSays says:

        You sure that would solve things for Bioware? No doubt EA is to blame for much of Bioware’s recent failings, especially DA2 and ME3 being rushed out the door. But the Bioware left today is not the Bioware that made Baldur’s Gate or KOTOR. Most prominently, Muzyka and Zeschuck have jumped ship. Looking at Bioware’s recent releases and practices I can’t help but feel that the company’s original corporate culture must have irrevocably transformed by now into an EA satellite, much like what has happened at Blizzard.

        And even if they were bought out from EA’s grasp, they don’t really have the competitive edge anymore. Once upon a time they were the go-to house for fantastic story/character based RPGs. But nowadays there’s Obsidian consistently coming up just short of lasting greatness, the Kickstarted old-school revivals (Eternity, Torment, etc.) seem to be shaping up with good pedigree to back them, and CD Projekt is blowing Bioware’s recent endeavours out of the water. (All just my opinion here of course.) Bioware may have become just too big and mainstream to keep up with it’s own history.

        In any case I think it’s time to let the brand go for good. Look to newer, fresher dev houses to pick up the torch. I don’t say this lightly. It was Baldur’s Gate that got me into gaming in the first place, and it’s fair to say I grew up with Bioware much as I did with Star Wars or Harry Potter. But every king has his reign, and then he dies and is succeeded. This is the nature of things, and is not something to be feared, mourned, or prevented.

        This is of course all assuming you share my opinion that Bioware’s recent releases (going as far back as Dragon Age 1) don’t stand up to the standard they built their name on.

        • napoleon_in_rags says:

          Quite true. I made my comment off hand without really too much thought. The Bioware of old (Baldur’s Gate, KOTOR) is gone and I should just learn to accept it.

          And I definitely agree with your opinion. I did beat all the Mass Effects, but didn’t get nearly the sense of immersion Baldur’s Gate gave me. I tried both of the Dragon’s Ages and avoided buying both. Neither seemed very good to me.

          I think you can even say the lackluster games from Bioware go as far back as Neverwinter Nights. NWN was terrible out of the box, in my opinion. Excellent modders and multiplayer did redeem it, however.

        • NotGodot says:

          I always see this kind of comment and it always pisses me off. The doctors were a huge part of what was wrong with Bioware. They were EA Execs who supervised multiple studios, including Mythic, Victory, Etc that were organized into the Bioware group, which had more autonomy than other studios like Sims Studio or DICE. The fact that they were there at the start in no way changes what they’ve done more recently, any more than Gaider’s work on BG2 and his helpfulness towards modders like Westley Weimer changes the quality of his writing on DA2.

          At the end of the day there’s this sort of myth of evil executives who fuck everything up, but the people who came up through development, like the doctors, are often just as guilty of chasing dollars or pushing bad content as the executives. Especially under the auspices of a wholly owned studio.

          • SighmanSays says:

            You bring up a salient point, but I didn’t actually say anything about the doctors more than that their departure demonstrated the diminishing connection that modern Bioware has to its roots. And in fact my whole argument was in alignment with yours: even if EA is taken out of the equation Bioware (and it’s staff) simply isn’t the darling arthouse everyone seems to remember, and I definitely agree that they’re not blameless. I’m not trying to paint the picture in black and white, so please don’t try to make it look like I am.

          • NotGodot says:

            @sighmansays

            Sorry, I just have this knee-jerk reaction when people bring up the doctors. Bioware is as guilty of doing this to itself as EA is, and the same goes for a lot of the studios they acquired. So when people bring up this idea of Bioware losing its connection to its past, I just sort of… I mean, the connection is still there. It’s the same as before in terms of how it functions.

    • D3xter says:

      At this point I just want them to crash and burn (hopefully within the next 3-5 years) facilitated by the next “console generation”, so everybody can forget and start anew.

      I don’t see how EA has contributed to “this industry flourishing”, especially in the last few years.
      They’re more known for their role as undertaker for successful developers that deal with decay every day: http://www.abload.de/img/jp1rcbdja8.jpg

      Over the course of EAs life (and if they are allowed to continue) a lot more people will also “lose their jobs” than if they just went. It could also be a flashpoint for the industry to stay far away from the way EA is doing business…

      I’m still holding out for the industry crash in the following years.

      As for Riccitiello, this is likely still fallout over the disappointment of Star Wars: The Old Republic, which was meant to be their “World of Warcraft” and is entirely his brainchild, as he was behind the whole “BioWare buyout” thing. I’m surprised he didn’t resign half a year ago already.

    • Bhazor says:

      Would we?

      Every studio that starts working with EA has been going down hill since they started working for EA.
      Crytek, Bioware, Maxis, Visceral, DICE and on and on.

      I honestly can’t think of a single game that has been enriched by the presence of EA since Mirror’s Edge.

      • Vorphalack says:

        I’d bey my best hat that the new CEO will drive many of those companies towards mobile and browser games, in an effort to target the growth sector and restore share holder confidence. As PC gamers I suspect that we wont be getting much more of worth from EA whatever happens, and if they did fold it might release the talent they have left to work on more worth while projects.

        • NotGodot says:

          To be honest Bioware moving towards mobile games might not actually be bad. Their audience reacts to and engages with the story way more than the gameplay anyway. Making visual novels, possibly with minigames, for PC, iOS and Android would probably be a better place for the company to be.

          • napoleon_in_rags says:

            They haven’t cranked out a worthwhile story since KOTOR, if you ask me.

          • NotGodot says:

            @napoleon_in_rags
            I agree, but it’s less about what they’re actually good at and more about what their audience responds to. No one likes Bioware gameplay. ME, even when the gameplay is strongest in ME3 Multiplayer, is still a middling Third Person Shooter at best. Dragon Age is strictly shallow and dull compared to real isometric RPGs. Their quest design is pretty catastrophically bad, especially the MMO quests in DAO. But people love those characters and romances.

          • Sparkasaurusmex says:

            I don’t know, I think there’s an illusion created that a story is good if it’s seen through a game. If these stories were done graphic novel or IF style, it would really shine a light on the narrative and dissolve the illusion.
            It’s much easier to see how bad a story is when there is nothing but the story. At least if they get to run around shooting from cover the players can maybe kid themselves into thinking they are playing some epic narrative.

      • LionsPhil says:

        …Origin, Bullfrog, Westwood…

      • TheTuninator says:

        This is an excellent point, and one more people need to consider.

      • jalf says:

        Every studio is *always* going downhill. Everything was always better then.

        That has nothing to do with EA’s involvement.

        • Cinek says:

          Not at all. Arkane studios. Obsidian, Paradox Interactive are first things that come to my mind.

        • mondomau says:

          Utter poppycock. Decreased development time to push out yearly iterations, hobbling gameplay to push DLC & microtransactions, stripping out key personnel and re-assigning them to other projects – these are all documented practices by EA that have damaged developers ability to maintain the quality of their work.

      • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

        “I honestly can’t think of a single game that has been enriched by the presence of EA”

        Ultima VII ;)

    • sophof says:

      The market doesn’t disappear with a company. If coca-cola suddenly goes on a crazy spending spree and goes bankrupt, we don’t lose coca-cola, someone will jump in that market.

      EA is not too big to fail, don’t worry.

  4. Psyke says:

    Well, here’s hoping EA will take a turn for the better now. Not that I believe it will though.

    • Geen says:

      The CEO is dead! Long live the CEO!

    • NotGodot says:

      Well, apparently a big part of why he stepped down is that he resisted pressure from shareholders to shift more emphasis to mobile/casual gaming. I can’t help but think that maybe the shareholders are right. I mean, look at Bioware. Look at their recent games, and at the fan communities for Mass Effect and Dragon Age. Almost no one talks about or defends the gameplay, because the gameplay is bad. Dragon Age: Origins was a lobotomized version of Neverwinter Nights in terms of how it played, and Dragon Age II was an inbred, lobotomized version of NWN. Mass Effect, likewise, has never been anything but a floaty, mediocre third person shooter with worse level design than dedicated shooters like Uncharted or Gears of War.

      The thing people latch onto is the story. I think maybe Hamburger Helper was right. Bioware games WOULD be better without all that gameplay between conversations and quest ‘choices’. I think that Bioware should really just give up on making games and develop visual novels for iOS, Android and Windows 8 devices. At the end of the day, they’d be doing what they’ve always put the most emphasis on, what their fans latch onto most, and what shareholders wanted. Plus they’d stop competing with actual RPG devs for market share.

      If he’d picked his battles better, we probably could’ve seen more good games out of EA during his tenure.

  5. TartFlavor says:

    Good job RPS!

  6. RedViv says:

    John, Killer of Johns. WHO SHALL BE NEXT?

    Seriously though… Everything I ever heard coming from that person was talk about monetising here, rapid growing markets there, and next year those heres and theres had only led to minimal profits at most. Not the most skilled picker of paths here.
    The “number one in the fastest growing segment” bit in the press release is very much in the same spirit.

  7. SuperNashwanPower says:

    At least one thing we CAN take away from this is some redress to the defeatist attitudes around complaints changing gaming. “It doesn’t matter what we think, millions will buy it and the company still makes a killing”. Obviously, they are not making a killing. I appreciate it may not be because of a consumer backlash, but at least we can put to bed the notion that EA sits forever at one end of a 60″ infinite money pipe.

    It is of course true that this may just make EA turn even more to “proven” money spinners and safe franchises. Anyway. Stuff. Things. Games. Oh look a squirrel.

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      Perhaps not because of a consumer backlash, but certainly not enough consumer support. Keep voting with your wallets, guys!

  8. db1331 says:

    I just hope they locked him out of his office and made him buy back all his personal effects piece by piece through microtransactions.

  9. caddyB says:

    I didn’t even hate the guy. Of course, the next person who takes the job will be even more hardcore on bleeding the games dry, because of the share prices and all.

  10. The JG Man says:

    I see this situation as more of a “Well, you can either step-down or be fired.”

  11. vash47 says:

    Maybe EA will get good again?
    This video is always relevant:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZR6-u8OIJTE

  12. Alexander says:

    Don’t cry for him too much, he’ll be made ceo of something else.

    • Bostec says:

      Yeah probably some oil/tin/copper corporation after he gets over his 6 months of crying failure in the bahamas. Its management. Even if they got demoted digging up shit in the sewers, they would come up holding gold watches in both hands.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      maybe Pepsi

    • stupid_mcgee says:

      The dude’s set for life. He’s still part of Elevation Partners, a private equity firm he co-founded with few other people, such as Apple’s former Exec VP and CFO – Fred Anderson, and is also supported by U2′s Bono.

      Elevation Partners, BTW, are the people who financed the partnership between BioWare and Pandemic. VG Holdings controlled BioWare/Pandemic and was helmed by, none other than, Riccitiello. Part of EA buying BioWare meant paying a huge sum of BioWare’s debt to Elevation Partners so that EA could own BioWare without the oversight and controlling factors of VG Holdings. Which, most likely, netted Riccitiello a tidy sum in bonuses.

      According to Riccitiello and other higher-up at EA, Riccitiello excused himself from the deal of buying BioWare because of his obvious conflicts of interest., since he was actively serving as EA’s CEO at the time that the deal happened.

  13. bladedsmoke says:

    Unfortunately, I get the feeling that the problems at EA aren’t confined to a single individual. It’s the result of the systemic, fundamentally flawed culture they follow – a culture that pursues profit at the expense of both quality and customer service, which (as this proves) works very well in the short-term and very badly in the long term.

    • Entitled says:

      It’s not just THEIR culture, but a fundamental flaw of entertainment and art being produced by incorporated companies driven by the will of shareholders, instead of an owner with a vision (or at least some kind of style).

  14. Tom Servo says:

    I can only hope that Riccitiello was solely responsible for things like the online pass, putting microtransactions everywhere, always on DRM and the accompanying lying about reasons for it and the spyware known as Origin. I dream that with him gone, EA will become much more gamer friendly. Nobody stomp on my dream!

    • RedViv says:

      Put the Arts back in the company.

      Umm. Do the younger disgruntled ones even know about how this company got started? And why we Ancients of Games (30+) are so annoyed by what this company does these days?

      • tumbleworld says:

        EA used to be such an exciting logo to see at the start of a game. Man, the time I sank into Archon, back in the day…

      • elderman says:

        I’m 30+ and I don’t know. What’s good about EA?

        • stupid_mcgee says:

          Back in the day of the Megadrive and SNES, and even before then, EA was a great company. Of course, back then they were actually called Electronic Arts and not just EA.

          Anyways, they published tons of great games. Starflight, Road Rash, Might and Magic II, Populous, Desert Strike, Dungeon Keeper, Bard’s Tale, Ultima, Skate or Die, a slew of sim games like Sim Ant and such, as well as many other titles. EA used to have an immensely diverse portfolio.

          Activision used to be pretty awesome, too. Then they had financial problems, Kotick stepped in, and now it’s cookie-cutter sure-shot titles milked to death on an annual basis.

  15. Blackseraph says:

    After all the crap with Origin, sim city, somehow succeeding in ruining bioware and all the other stupid stuff they have pulled lately I don’t really care.

    Perhaps new CEO is bit smarter than he was. And if not I would actually like it if they went under. Would be a nice lesson for all other publishers.

    How about starting with getting your games back in Steam EA. You’ve lost quite lot of customers with just that one. I’d at least like to finish ME at last even though I really don’t much care about bioware anymore.

  16. Clavus says:

    I have a completely relevant video for this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fzMue_wF0A

  17. Continuity says:

    “A A lot of great games come from that publisher, and they support a lot of great studios”

    At this point I don’t even give a fuck, we need a scorched earth policy, EA needs to burn and if 80% of the gaming industry goes with them then that’s a small price. They are a cancer.

    • Giuseppe says:

      I kinda feel the same. :|

    • Phantoon says:

      Considering their policy of devouring other studios and scorching the earth behind has been what they’ve done for over fifteen years, yes.

      Reap what you sow, et cetera.

    • Spazmok says:

      I’m right there with you. I haven’t touched an EA title since 2010, I don’t feel like I have missed out on anything. Even if a bunch of studios die in the fire EA built, the talented employee’s shouldn’t have much trouble getting back on their feet.

    • Stan Lee Cube Rick says:

      Agreed. The industry as a whole has been headed in the wrong direction.

      That said, thanks in part to big publisher shenanigans, we now have a thriving indie scene. I get the kind of games I want, and franchise fanboys get the games they want. It wasn’t long ago that I thought my gaming days were numbered, but now the future is bright and I expect many unproductive hours ahead of me.

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      We don’t need no water. Let the motherfucker burn.

    • Upper Class Twit says:

      You want thousands of people to lose their jobs because they make video games you don’t like?

      • Kadayi says:

        Careful there UCT, you’re bringing too much reality to the situation. The fact that there are people out there enjoying games that the OP can’t stand is utterly intolerable, it can’t be allowed to continue.

      • Prime says:

        So what’s the alternative? Let the monster survive to continue wreaking havoc upon the gaming landscape because you’re afraid of what might happen to the people in the company that have no say or bearing on how that company operates? It’s harsh, but you can’t rule out that for many of these people it might be the best thing that ever happened to them, that suddenly their lives could take an unexpected turn for the better. It’ll be tough, but I think I’d rather inconvenience a few thousand people than continue to read about the damage caused to millions buying shitty products, being constantly lied to, or having to heel to so many corporate rules of conduct with EA accounts just to protect their investments in digital gaming.

      • Sparkasaurusmex says:

        Well at some point you have to look at your job and say, “Do I like this company I work for?”
        Probably a lot of people would answer “no” and actually, depending on the person, this can be harder on your life than financial instability.
        So maybe they lose their jobs. Join the club, suckers!

  18. Yosharian says:

    Mass Effect 3, Crysis 2/3, Dead Space 3, Dragon Age 2, TOR, Medal of Honour: Warfighter, Sim City, Syndicate… just some of the recent trainwrecks of this company.

    I don’t think it’s all Riccitiello’s fault, but his ‘tone at the top’ is undeniably part of the problem. EA is destined to eat itself if it doesn’t change its ways.

    • woodsey says:

      Crysis is handled by EA Partners, so that’s really all Crytek’s fault.

      • Yosharian says:

        Hmm. Perhaps. I’m not convinced, but then I don’t have a lot of faith in Crytek either, they have their heads up their asses too.

        • Brun says:

          Yerli is bad enough for Crytek’s attitude by himself, he doesn’t need EA’s help to tell Crysis fans to go screw themselves.

    • Misnomer says:

      And yet http://www.metacritic.com/feature/game-publisher-rankings-for-2012-releases

      Even on the toxic metacritic they do better on average. So quality doesn’t sell? Or metacritic is too nice? Or perhaps, they simply spend too much making games? Hard to say.

      • Yosharian says:

        Mass Effect 3: metacritic score of 93. Enough said, get thee hence

        • Apocalypse says:

          Strange, when I check meta-critic on mass effect 3 it says 4.7 … ;-)

          (if you want to include reviews from people that are essential paid by EA advertising than it is still just 89)

          • darkChozo says:

            Man, I think I’d trust the recommendation of an actual EA employee over the Metacritic userbase.

            Also, the bi-modal distribution on those review scores is rather amusing.

      • Sparkasaurusmex says:

        Metacritic is just a metric to measure how AAA a game is. The numbers don’t signify quality.
        Mass Effect 3 is 93% a AAA game.

      • Apocalypse says:

        It is btw interesting the you have on place 2 Microsoft with Mark of the Ninja (PC) and a 91 rating. So in essence an indie titel with nearly the same rating, costing about 10 times less to produce but only 3 times less in retail than me3.

        And unlike me3 it had an overall good press a 7.9 user rating and more important, is not legendary for its pissed of fans over then ending.

        Maybe your link actually really shows the problems EA is facing. It gets even more funny: Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning (PC) which was not really finished nor polished when released and its developer going into bankruptcy, got a lot of attentions and seems to be still a broken game because simply its developer never was able to fix its problem.

        Medal of Honor: Warfighter (360) with a rating 53, a franchise that is super expensive, get alot of marketing budget and seem to have failed pretty hard. Even EA itself was aware of this in advance ( http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/120577-Medal-of-Honor-Warfighter-Sales-Continue-to-Disappoint )

        Than we got as user favorite mention the secret world, yet another mmo with a real bad launch and a bad business model for a game that actually was not really aimed to keep players constantly playing. If you want to push a subscription based game you have to push players to constantly keep playing and not drive them away with lots of bugs at release and a boring combat system.

        Last and least we got Need for Speed – Most Wanted for the PS Vita as a user favorite. How much vita actually sold so far? 2 or 3 (million) world wide? But hey, with the new price drop vita sales actually started new to get to a decent level. Good for Sony, and good for EA … if someone buys their games from last year still.

      • Apocalypse says:

        Post Scriptum

        How many games to you think a company will sale when its brand itself has become toxic? After all: All those “great” games from EA have a EA lable on their box, and most of them as well this little funny warn-sign that is telling you that they need origin to be played.

        You can have the best game in the world, if your service sucks because of hostile DRM you WILL hurt your sales. We have actually two sources for this: Ubisoft and Valve.
        Ubisoft faced a hard boycott for their always DRM and their sales numbers and statistical suggested that always on DRM may not be the smartest move for their sales.
        And valve is preaching since the beginning of steam that convenience will always will be trump. Offer convenience and people will pay and feel good about paying. That is the whole idea behind our golden cake that is called steam.

        FFS there are people who prefer steam keys over DRM free copys of their games because of the convenience! While the same people refuse to buy ANYTHING that involves origin. Lets talk about a bad reputation. ;-)

    • iucounu says:

      ME3 can’t really be called a trainwreck. I really enjoyed ME3 (though I didn’t finish the single-player, and a lot of the drama was about the ending. Still, I played about 90% of it, and loads of MP.)

  19. acheron says:

    I’d like to apply for the position. My first idea is to reboot Hard Hat Mack.

  20. zachforrest says:

    Oh John, stop being so thoughtful and lovely for one moment and claim this scalp for your own

  21. Kaira- says:

    Well, hopefully this ends well. I know hating EA for what they’ve managed to do in the last few years has been more than justified, but I wouldn’t mind more good games with sensible business practices behind them. I mean, good games are always a good thing, right?

    • elderman says:

      Good games are a good thing, and maybe EA makes some good games. I could be convinced of that.

      Here’s my perception of the company, though: they make games that don’t run on my machine (not my hardware or my OS), that cost more than I’d be willing to pay for them (much more than games that look like better experiences), that hide how much they cost, that would install DRM software on my computer that does me no good, that demand I sign up for services I don’t want, and that don’t look that different from the games distributed by the other big publishers. Many of the games they distribute, and the advertising for them, make games seem violent, superficial, and unimaginative. Until most of these things are no longer true, I won’t be an EA customer and won’t have any interest in the company’s products or the business-section gossip it provokes.

      Of course that’s how I see Sony, Microsoft, and Ubisoft as well.

  22. ZX k1cka55 48K says:

    Oh thats too bad, the guy had so many interesting Ideas:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZR6-u8OIJTE

    • Prime says:

      Good link. Love the background music. Didn’t realise how fucking perverse this Micro-transaction bullshit had actually become. Cheers.

      “We’re not gouging, we’re charging”

      Good riddance to bad rubbish.

  23. AlienMind says:

    I don’t care if it’s the Sim City DOS, the Dead Space 3 Singleplayer Micropayments,
    the Battlefield3 Pay-For-Being-First-In-Serverqueue milking, or the Origin BigBrother File Operations. The customers are finally learning to speak to EA with the only language they speak: MONEY.

    *Opens Champagne*

  24. Niko says:

    Rrright, because it’s always a fault of a singular replaceable executive, not because that’s the way the whole institution works. But who cares about EA anyway.

    • JoeGuy says:

      Sony thought bringing up one big exec and moving aside the one that screwed up would work and I really feel like people have more confidence in Sony and the PS4 thanks to getting in Kaz.

  25. sabasNL says:

    This isn’t really the EA as a concept, or ex-CEO John here, who is to blame.
    It’s the stockholders. It’s Wall Street. They ruin your game, and EA let it be because they need to please them.

    • Brun says:

      This. For the past 5 years Wall Street has only been concerned with the short-term. That’s an understandable viewpoint in the current economic climate – the future is uncertain, risk is everywhere. Why take a chance that you might make (more) money by playing the long game when you can play the short game and have a better chance of making some money now? That attitude filters down from the shareholders and investors and starts to dominate the businesses of publicly traded corporations, and you end up with things like EA.

      The sad thing is that this short-term vision only exacerbates the problem. Eventually the sacrifices that companies had to make to satisfy these short-sighted investors will come back to burn them.

      • Misnomer says:

        Agree completely. If you go over to Kotaku like the article suggests, you will find more reasonable discussion of people who remember Riccitiello saying quite a few things that showed he was a gamer at heart. He bet on things like MIrror’s Edge and Dead Space too. This is all about the profit margins and investors, a blood sacrifice to try to appease the beast. But look at Apple stock among others, the shine is off of the internet media now. Zynga, Facebook, trouble in paradise.

      • sophof says:

        That is one of the problems, but maybe a bit too vague still. I would say the main problem wall street (or any stock market) brings, is the requirement of growth. Everything always needs to be growing and that is impossible to sustain in the long term.

        I’ve seen whole departments been shut down because their margins are too small. it doesn’t matter that they make reliable money, the fact that the margins are small and constant is seen as a negative. This ‘logic’ destroys entire companies.

        Somewhere along the line people appear to have forgotten that the nature of the market is completely irrational (facebook is a recent good example in case anyone doubts this) and that the stock-price is not the actual value of a company. Shareholder value is a result of good business, it should never be the focus of a company. I find it mind-boggling that this is a controversial statement.

      • Apocalypse says:

        I would agree, but the new CEO was no different, EA sucks since about 15 years.

    • progmeer says:

      Maybe they should follow in HP’s footsteps

    • stupid_mcgee says:

      It’s a good thing Riccitiello never stuck to his guns or bothered to stand up for his convictions against shareholders. I mean, what kind of unsuccessful madman would do that?

      The outgoing president and CEO of The Brink’s Co. says he stands by comments he has made during his career that he wasn’t running the company for the shareholders.

      “At the end of the day, it is about the people who work for you,” Michael T. Dan said in a talk Thursday at the University of Richmond. “They deliver the services to your customers. It’s their morale that counts. The shareholder value will follow. It always does, and it always has in my business career.”

      Dan, 61, announced his retirement this week from The Brink’s Co. after a nearly 30-year… process that transformed Brink’s from a $100 million subsidiary of The Pittston Co., a conglomerate that had interests in mining and freight, into a standalone global business focused on security with more than $3 billion in revenue in 2010.

      http://www.timesdispatch.com/business/outgoing-brink-s-ceo-speaks-on-transformation-and-risks/article_29376bd2-ce11-5804-88d2-82725f9c4043.html

  26. aliksy says:

    I’m just picturing nelson from the simpsons going “HA HA!”

    I don’t think I’ve purchased an EA game since Dragon Age 2, and I don’t plan on buying any future ones.

    Also SWTOR was a train wreck of disappointment.

  27. TwwIX says:

    “The king is dead, long live the king!”

    Hahaha! As if changing CEO’s is going to make a fucking difference. The damage has already been done. They’ve managed ruin multiple, well established franchises in a short amount of time. Only EA can accomplish such a fabulous feat!

    Fuck them and their corporate culture that continues to poison this industry with their anti-consumer business practices and their stagnation of innovation. I hope that i am alive to see this cancer of a company collapse in on itself.

    I am not one to usually relish in someone else’s misfortune but i will be more than happy to make an exception for them.

    • Morangie says:

      I am not one to usually relish in someone else’s misfortune but i will be more than happy to make an exception for them.

      Misfortune? He gets to jump before he gets pushed and like every big CEO, he’ll have a massive leaving package. He’ll spend 6 months in the Caribbean on a private yacht then take a new job on ridiculous money at the top of another big company. You wish you could be as unfortunate as John Riccitello.

      • TwwIX says:

        Reading comprehension isn’t your strong suit, is it?

        • Morangie says:

          someone else’s misfortune

          A corporation isn’t someone, no matter what the US supreme court says. I guess writing isn’t your strong suit, is it?

          • TwwIX says:

            I take it, you’re one of the incompetent pricks that works for these assholes?
            Well, please allow me to reiterate myself.

            Go fuck yourself! You inane, arm-chair lecturing anal zit!

            I hope that was clear enough for you.

          • Brun says:

            I’m guessing you won a gold medal in the Conclusions Long Jump at the London Olympics last year…

          • Kadayi says:

            @TwwIX

            Kind of embarrassing yourself there girlfriend

      • napoleon_in_rags says:

        He’s talking about the misfortune of EA as a whole, not the misfortune of Riccitiello.

  28. godofdefeat says:

    This won´t change EA´s making money out off good studios practice.
    No-one wins here (Except EA due to people who buy their stuff).
    And if only the NHL series will come to the PC back :(

  29. Phantoon says:

    Nothing will change, and this will be spun into a “we learned from our mistakes” thing.

    • PedroBraz says:

      EA. EA never changes.

      The end off EA occured pretty much as we had predicted.
      Too many shareholders, not enough profit or growth to go around.
      The details are trivial and pointless, the reasons as always purely uncontrolled greed.

  30. Strangerator says:

    SimCity offline coming soon?

    I guess one of two things will happen… 1. new brass comes in and goes for a total change in direction or 2. they ratchet things up on the path they’ve started down.

    Perhaps the new CEO will come out and do a big mea culpa to the gaming public at large, and apologize for the evil ways of EA? Ha. Right.

    • smg77 says:

      I don’t think an official offline patch will ever happen. No matter how much bad press they are getting they seem to be sticking to the “online play is necessary for our game to work” lie.

      Hopefully modders will be able to actually make the game work the way we want it to.

    • sophof says:

      Like the war on drugs and the likes, the solution to stuff like that not working is always to throw more at it. Expect their practices to become even worse, especially with regards to ‘casual focus’.

  31. Droopy The Dog says:

    I’m pretty sure there are no pretty flowers left at EA, they’re more hydra than hydrangea.

  32. JoeGuy says:

    Would be nice if this ushered in consumer friendly PR and a grass-roots approach to discussing their content and pricing. Treating us like fans & not blips on a chart is what would turn around their image and hopefully their market share.

  33. Crimsoneer says:

    It’s worth pointing out that this probably doesn’t have a whole lot to do with PC releases. I suspect that’s a very, very small part of the EA pie.

  34. Dave L. says:

    This actually surprised the hell out of me. EA’s stock has been trending upwards for the past year, and three of the top ten titles on the February NPD charts were EA titles, with Dead Space 3 outselling Black Ops 2.

    I can only wonder whether if Brian Farrell had stepped down after the first downturn after THQ’s restructuring in 2008, would THQ still be around?

  35. Skaz says:

    So when did they stop Origins-only release and provide full games, DRM free, without day one DLC, give up on micro-transaction, stop thinking their customers are retards ?
    Probably never, so they will probably go nowhere. For sure my money won’t go to their pockets.
    Being so shitty you successuffly get boycotted making VIDEO GAMES, it seriously deserves a medal…

  36. Arkh says:

    Civitas Kickstarter closed:
    This kickstarter has opened doors for us that we never thought could be opened for such a small up-and-coming studio like ours. We just wanted to let everyone know that our studio has been able to secure private funding that will carry us through the development cycle of Civitas.
    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1584821767/civitas-plan-develop-and-manage-the-city-of-your-d/posts

    Inb4: Kalypso funded game.

    Also, Shroud of the Man in space Avatar is mostly funded and will probably succeed. Good for NASA Garriot.

  37. Deadly Habit says:

    Let’s see what good companies have become victims of EA: Origin, Westwood, Dice, Criterion, Maxis, Bullfrog. Bioware, Mythic, Visceral, Pandemic, Black Box…
    Also heaven forbid one of the original creators wants to do something with an IP they created that EA holds the rights to and will never do anything with it.
    Good riddance to this douche, who will likely be replaced by another douche.
    God I hope EA crashes hard, but their yearly sports titles is like having their own personal money printer.

  38. shutter says:

    Yeah….”currently looks like we will come in at the low end of, or slightly below, the financial guidance we issued to the Street” and “publisher’s struggles to turn a profit” are really not the same thing at all.

    Also, almost every publisher in the industry’s stock graph looks like that (Take Two, THQ, and Ubi all do, Activision does as well, though probably more because of a stock split), that’s what happens in long sustained depressions.

    Though maybe good games and business analysis is more than I should expect.

  39. popej says:

    Was Road Rash the last good EA game?

  40. alw says:

    “And no, this isn’t a time for gloating after the dreadful mess of SimCity, or ridiculous over-investment in Medal Of Honor, or whatever other ways EA may have annoyed people of late. “

    Nah, really, it is..

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      When a football club organises a press conference to state they have every confidence in the manager it’s a bad sign because the reason they had to organise a press conference to state they have every confidence in the manager is probably that people are questioning whether they have every confidence in the manager.

      When John says this isn’t a time for gloating, it means that he expects people to start gloating.

      • Sparkasaurusmex says:

        Yeah I mean, cmon. Tell people to vote with their wallet and we did. Look we won the vote! (too bad the next CEO will be a clone)

        • Apocalypse says:

          Keep voting. Keep voting till their house is burned down to the ground. THAN it is time to loot and pillage the ruins.

  41. Buemba says:

    He tried to make EA a more likable company, investing in new IPs like Mirror’s Edge, Dead Space and Dragon Age and salvaging interesting projects like Brutal Legend, but unfortunately that didn’t brink them a whole lot of money so I’m not going to fault him for doubling down on bullshit like microtransactions, always online and turning every game into “press A for awesome”.

    • caddyB says:

      At the end of the day: this.

      If people bought the good games and “appeal to COD audience” didn’t work then this wouldn’t have happened. My friends can’t even find where to go in corridor shooters without an arrow to point them in the right direction.

    • Droopy The Dog says:

      From a general standpoint I tend not to give people credit for only being half an arse when they could have been a total arse. There’s far too many people not being arses at all who deserve respect instead.

  42. The Sombrero Kid says:

    just remember what EA was before John Riccitiello & what it was after he joined but before shareholder unrest forced him to put micro transactions and drm in everything.

  43. kwyjibo says:

    Riccitiello always said the right things, but EA never executed.

    They were right to go into social and mobile and free2play, but they never realised those markets. Battlefield Heroes had no impact. Playfish cost a lot, and then got totally hammered by other social/mobile companies. It took so bloody long for Playfish to put out a Sims Social, and when that happened – all their other games fell apart.

    Look at the launch of The Simpsons: Tapped Out. That was just a big of a fail as the SimCity launch – shitty server engineering meant they had to remove the game from the app store. The game’s now turning over 10s of millions per quarter, so it’s done OK – but you’d have thought they would have learnt their lesson now. Zynga have never fucked up a launch, all you need is Amazon Cloud Services.

  44. Lone Gunman says:

    Anyone find the whole share holder thing a bit stupid?

    I mean a company has to please these morons when in stead it should focus on the consumers. Shareholders don’t always understand how your company/industry work either.

    Although it does help lots of smaller companies get started.

    • caddyB says:

      Shareholders are like football club fans. They want you to win all the time. They won’t wait for you to reform your squad or let you give your new manager some time to shape the team to his style. They want to win, that’s pretty much all they care about. Win win win. And even if you win all the time, they’ll start wanting you to score more.

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      This is the law in the US. A corporation is required by law to put shareholder’s interests above all else. This exclusively means the bottom line. Or well, I guess the bottom line compared to what you said it would be.

  45. Kamos says:

    “And no, this isn’t a time for gloating after the dreadful mess of SimCity, or ridiculous over-investment in Medal Of Honor, or whatever other ways EA may have annoyed people of late. A lot of great games come from that publisher, and they support a lot of great studios – we do rather want this industry to flourish. Hopefully a new boss can whip everything into shape, ideally in a way that doesn’t involve buying developers then closing them down.”

    Seriously, John. Why should anyone be expected to show EA sympathy, loyalty, or whatever, when It shows us none? It is a business, all about cookie-cutter games and anti-consumer practices.

    I get it that you think they can change their ways and return to a mythic era of a AAA publishers doing good things without them being absolutely accidental, but let’s be realist. It is just a beautiful dream. It is not like anything has happened that EA will repent about and “change its ways”.

    On the other hand, we have here the rare opportunity of witnessing the universe randomly striking down something that actually deserves striking, for a change.

    Please forgive me if I gloat just a little, while I can. Soon enough EA will be back on its feet and back to milking people for maximum profit.

  46. zacharygordon703 says:

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  47. Bishopchina says:

    Perhaps he got so rich he doesn’t need to work anymore?

  48. Liudeius says:

    So every single action of EA is to maximize their profits,
    Yet they are struggling to earn profits.

    So much for abusing the consumer (and manufacturer) to no end to earn money being a valid way to earn money.

  49. FecesOfDeath says:

    But EA supports gay rights! That counts for something, right? Right?

    IMO taking a social stand like that risks alienating half your customers.

    • Lars Westergren says:

      Yes, that does count for something.

      But you apparently think appeasing homophobes are more important than doing the right thing?

      As for “half of”, I think you are vastly overestimating the number of people who have a problem with EAs stance.

    • QualityJeverage says:

      That’s why it’s noteworthy. If it didn’t risk upsetting the people who don’t agree with it, it wouldn’t really be “taking a stand.”

    • 65 says:

      “risks alienating half your customers.”

      Half of EA’s potential customers are homophobes?
      Where did you get that from?

      • FecesOfDeath says:

        You’re right. I’d say about 60%.

        In addition, I never said that the alienated audience were homophobes, nor do I agree that those who don’t support certain LBGT rights are necessarily “afraid of LBGTs”.

        • 65 says:

          But they are, in both cases.
          Thanks for trying to clarify that, though. I can only imagine how long it took you, considering you appear to be living in the 50s.

        • Cockles says:

          It’s hard to see how someone could be alienated by being able to have gay relationships (completely optional gay relationships) in EA games unless they had a fear of homosexuality.

        • iucounu says:

          It is possible there is an argument more stupid than “The root of the word means fear, therefore homophobia is all about fear, despite the way it’s been defined and used for ever now”, but I can’t actually bring one to mind right now.

      • Apocalypse says:

        Most of EAs customers must be retards to get abused as heavy as they get, assuming that they are also homophobic, sexist and racist seems reasonable. After all they are stupid enough to buy from EA.

        Sorry, I could not resist.

  50. kud13 says:

    This is the guy who spent the entirety of EA’s last E3 conference telling us about “games as a service”

    Good Riddance. I pray and hope that somehow EA does an analysis that suggests “market really didn’t buy that idea”.

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