EA CEO John Riccitiello Resigns - UPDATED

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So it only took a crash in share price, being voted as "The worst company in America" and one of the worst launches in gaming history. If I was a shareholder I would be wanting more than just his head.

He won't be missed. Now we just need to figure out how to get rid of the rest of the company.

NortherWolf:
Yay!
A completely unimportant suit is removed, leaving a company that will be as shitty as ever and people think it'll change anything!
Sorry, I'll be in the Bitterness Corner. EA won't change to something "good" because I seriously doubt they ever were "good".

Damn I can't believe that it took till page 2 for someone to actually see what this really is, a fall guy. Sorry but John is just "taking the bullet" for EA's PR department, marketing department, and board of executives.

EA is not going to change at all by just removing the puppet figure at the front. To this day I still don't know why on both business and political side people think removing the puppet will do anything. When EA cleans house completely then I will say maybe there is hope for them.

Right now EA is trying to save face for the shareholders to explain how they are going to turn it around next quarter.

That is one scary picture. Where have I seen it? Ahh yes...


I strongly suspect Riccitiello's next big scheme will somehow involve destroying a major city.

an annoyed writer:
I hope this leads to a more consumer-friendly EA. Under this guy's leadership, Electronic Arts had made some very poor decisions and to be honest, I really wish he stuck to his original plan: he was greenlighting new IPs left and right, and EA even worked with motherfucking Valve for a short period of time. Don't believe me? Look at this box:

More specifically, the lower right-hand corner. Those logos were together on every PS3 case of The Orange Box, including mine. Something happened after 2008. Something bad. I hope now that they try and fix it.

My guess is that it wasn't his plan to begin with, the decisions of his predecessor were still in effect so it was like a transition period where a lot of the old projects were finishing up and after that was when things started going bad. Dead Space 1, Mirror's Edge, Mass Effect 1, The Orange Box, Bad Company 1, Spore, Burnout Paradise, all of those came out 2007 or 2008. Riccitiello became CEO in 2007, which means all of those good projects and new IPs were all greenlit and in development before Riccitiello took charge. Even Dragon Age 1 was in development well before he took charge, it was first announced in 2004.

All those games were part of the old guy's plan and it was working. But once those decisions ran their course and all those projects were over (so between 2007 to late 2008-ish), Ricci slowly started making his own decisions and that seems to be when things started going downhill. First the Spore DRM debacle (no doubt a decision of his). The Dead Space 2 PR debacle. DA2 being generally agreed to be crap. The Sims 3 being much more monetized and not as much of an improvement (so I hear anyways). The games slowly went towards more generic action-ish style (DS2, ME2, DS3). Then throw in Online Passes and more emphasis on microtransactions/DLC. And then they started trying to get in on other companies' successes. Origin in 2011 to get a piece of the Steam pie. BF3 to get a piece of the CoD pie. The Old Republic MMO to get a piece of the WoW pie. And now finally we have the Sim City debacle.

I'd wager all these things can be traced back directly to Ricci's decision making, and that most of the good stuff at the beginning had little to do with him. The further and further we get from the influence of his predecessor's decisions, and the more Ricci has a say in things, the worse things seem to get.

The other bad thing that happened in 2008 was the financial crisis, it probably didn't help things much either (though that doesn't excuse anything of course).

I think there's at least some hope for EA though, at least for a little while. Larry Probst was the CEO before Ricci and he's going to be Ricci's temporary successor, so I expect in the short term at least, things might look up a little for EA. Personally I hope he stays CEO since it was under his leadership we got all those new IPs...

Well, this certainly does brighten this cynic's day!

"and after six years I feel it is the right time for me pass the baton and let new leadership take the Company into its next phase of innovation and growth"

I love that I just read this sentence immediately after watching Jim's video about "innovation". Either way, me and EA strongly disagree about how one innovates in the game industry.

If we can get enough new stock, or old stock, for Probst, then we might be able to get a variety of games to come out of the EA stable, instead of generic action game in X setting.

Well, all the corporate bullshit speak aside, this might spell better times for EA. The first step in mending these kinds of relationships is usually to fire someone that takes the blame for it.
Maybe things'll get better, maybe not. We shall see.

But seriously... while they're at it, they really should give their entire PR department the boot as well. Those guys are a blight on this planet.

While I am happy at this news I fear EA might respond the way the GOP did after the 2012 presidential elections. Rather than realize that allowing nuts like Robert Murdoch ("even if life begins in that horrible situation of rape") and Atkins ("if it's legitimate rape, the female body has ways of shutting it down") to run rampant might be bad for the image of GOP, they decide they need to be even more conservative!

What I am getting at is the possibillity that the next guy to take over EA might be even worse.

just look at his picture, his business speak... he's not a gamer and couldn't care less about gamers. to him, we are numbers on a spreadsheet. which is precisely why that spreadsheet's bottom line is getting smaller and smaller everytime they look at it. of course, that's just the impression that i get.

i don't see this as good news for the simple fact that i don't see it leading to any real changes. i'd love to be wrong, i'd like to see them focus on the gamers instead of the investors. because at the end of the day, it's the gamers that are going to keep you in business.

EA, you're a huge company with lots of money to throw around. i can almost promise you that if you gave up some of your profits and instead spent that money on buying goodwill with gamers, it will pay off in the end. you've earned a lot of bad karma with gamers EA, so it's gonna take a BIG gesture to show you've changed. here are some of my ideas...

1. Whatever the next generation's standard game price is, make your games 5 or 10 dollars less. it will give more gamers a reason to pick your title over every other title out there, and will show that your dedication lies with making the gamers happy, not your investors. i promise that the money you lose on each sale will be more than made up for by increased sales.

2. don't make your digital games the same price as your physical ones. i shouldnt even have to explain this one. it's ridiculous and illogical. stop that.

3. if you insist on having microtransactions, make them things that are also available by in-game means. look at valve's tf2 to see that this ACTUALLY WORKS. for both sides.

4. never again pull this drm shit. countless studies have shown that drm does very little towards combating piracy and only alienates your paying customers. always on, or any other type of drm just doesnt work. stop that.

5. feel free to violate any of these pointers when dealing with the EA Sports crowd. those idiots have been buying the same games over and over again for 20 years, and they deserve to be punished.

A cathartic victory, and nothing more. EA won't change their model; they've proven far too pigheaded to even bother trying.

Larry Probst:
"John has worked hard to lead the company through challenging transitions in our industry, and was instrumental in driving our very significant growth in digital revenues. We appreciate John's leadership and the many important strategic initiatives he has driven for the company. We have mutually agreed that this is the right time for a leadership transition."

"We thank him for showing us how to better twist the consumer's arm with our thinly veiled price-gouging! It's incredible that we didn't think of this sooner!"

Riccitiello:
"EA is an outstanding company with creative and talented employees, and it has been an honor to serve as the Company's CEO. I am proud of what we have accomplished together, and after six years I feel it is the right time for me pass the baton and let new leadership take the Company into its next phase of innovation and growth," the soon-to-be-former CEO added. "I remain very optimistic about EA's future - there is a world class team driving the Company's transition to the next generation of game consoles."

Oh yes, you gave us so much "innovation and growth". Like pulverizing all of your biggest non-sports franchises into bland paste, laying off thousands, and forcing consumer-hating get-rich-quick schemes into your recent titles.

The best thing I can say about your tenure is that at least you didn't abuse your employees to the point where you got sued again (twice), and that you at least let your company take a chance on Mirror's Edge.

I can only guess what horrible business plans you have for the next generation, and hope that the more-anti-consumer centric schemes don't succeed and spread to the rest of gaming.

Poor Jim. He has to draw a smiley on Two new guys now. The temp CEO and the new CEO.

this means nothing, i dont think it will make a difference at all

president of EA 1991-97 Larry Probst
president of EA 1997-04 John Riccitiello
president of EA 2004-07 Larry Probst
president of EA 2007-13 John Riccitiello
president of EA 2013-?? Larry Probst

notice a pattern, even in regards to leadership EA is afraid of innovation.

I believe two of our titles - Battlefield and FIFA - will be among the top few franchises in the entire industry.

FIFA...the same FIFA that actually managed to tick off its fans by literally reskinning '12 and calling it '13?

Andy Shandy:
You know, that picture is actually more horrifying than Jim's version (below)

image

There's just a subtle hint of "I'm going to kill you and no one will ever know" about that face.

Moving on...

Can't say him leaving is a huge loss for me. While I know that just changing the man at the top will probably not do much to change EA, Riccitiello has presided over some of EA's shittier behaviour and whoever comes in after Probst (assuming he doesn't stay on) may be able to hopefully change them for the better, however slightly.

Well, we all can dream, can't we?

We can dream indeed. I was quite surprised that it wasn't Jim's picture actually. I've gotten so used to seeing that one that it's really quite unnerving to see the original photo. Disturbing, even. On the other hand I'm almost relieved to see him go. And then I remember that just getting rid of the one man is unlikely to actually change EA's current way of doing things.

lax4life:
One down gentleman (and ladies). We get Kotick and they'll all fall.

The weird thing is Kotick while incredibly annoying and clueless, somehow lacks the pure evit that has signified his EA counterpart. Kotick is a clown with a severely bad case of verbal diahrea. But I rarely find myself thinking that I am not getting reasonable value for my money from the vast majority of games that his company produces. even the ones that aren't the best ever have been at leasta reasonable degree of fun. Yeah Diablo 3 wasn't D2, but the worst that could be said was it was a meh game bundled to a failed always online experiment. So long as Kotick restricts his insanity and antics to infront of interviewers and speakers podiums, and stays mostly out of the way of game makers I can tolerate him.

Riccietello however took a well respected and highly profitable company, that used to make some of the worlds best games, and he destroyed virtually everything about it. Profits are way down. Game quality is way down. Creative people were savaged and let go in favor of corporate marketing drones. Customer service became literally criminal. He managed to take the worlds largest game maker. A company in theory dedicated to fun. And have it declarred the single worst business in the world. Surpassing things like AT&T and Bank of America at the height of the mortgage crisis. NOW THAT'S SOME STOCKHOLDER VALUE THERE! Somehow he never seemed to understand the difference between price and profit in the game world, and we all suffered for it. He has almost single handedly brought us to another video game great crash, not unlike the fall of Atari and early consoles in the 80's. I hope his next job is assistant manager at a Des Moines Taco Bell.

Hopefully the replacement will be someone who understands the gaming market and what the people want. If not, it's officially the beginning of the end for EA.

There's only so far down a company can be dragged before something has to give and sadly, under his leadership EA have hit rock bottom. Highlights of his stewardship:

- Buying BioWare, the most beloved RPG developer of the last decade and destroying their reputation within the first two games they published after buyout. BioWare co-founders resigned.
- Shutting down Pandemic
- Removing Crysis 2 and DA2 from Steam
- Cutting all ties with Steam and 10s of millions of potential customers
- Forcing Origin on everyone
- Introducing microtransactions into AAA games
- Coining the phrase "mass-market appeal" and watering down every single game they publish to a bland, generic shooter
- SimCity ('nuff said)
- Forcing multiplayer on EVERYTHING
- Killing Dead Space
- Killing Medal of Honor (though in fairness MoH should probably have been put down humanely years ago)
- Company fell out of NASDAQ-100
- The prevalance of online passes, SecuROM and Day 1 DLC can be attributed to them
- The numerous and impossible to account for antics that saw them banning forum users from their paid for games, threatening bans over promised refunds, removing phone numbers, pulling products and sheer greed.

Almost all shitty developments in the games industry for the last years has been theirs. Not all though...ActiBastards gave us Diablo III with real money auctions and always-online DRM that didn't work for a single player game. They're further planning to continue with microtransactions in CoD. Capcom I believe got the medal for on-disc DLC controversy. UbiSoft for forcing uPlay on everyone when we didn't want or need it. There's more, but don't have the energy.

So anyway, Ricitello won't be missed. If EA want to dominate the games industry, they should hire Ray Muzyka & Greg Zeschuk for new co-CEOs and leave them the f**k alone. 3 years people will be singing EAs praises.

Or get Gabe. Either way.

Ima just gonna leave that there. Says my feelings quite succently.

I'm gonna be honest, I figured he'd be the last person to hold himself accountable.

I would say "Good on him for that", but he waited so long to do it that it seems more like faint praise.

Pretty amazing legacy he's leaving...

Published 3 big budget MMO failures: (WAR,SWTOR,Secret World).

Saw EA drop from off the NASDAQ 100.

Killed the Medal of Honour franchise (which had been around for 14 years) in the space of 2 years.

The creation of Origin.

Killed Pandemic Studios and all but killed Mythic Entertainment.

Oversaw the cutting of thousands of jobs and posted losses in the hundreds of millions.

Saw EA named the most hated company in America, beating out AT&T for a golden poo trophy.

But hey...There was always Simpson's Tapped out right?

Awesome! Now every Escapist armchair hero who has never run a large corporation should apply for the job as they clearly have so much more knowledge and experience about it!

Respect to the man for taking accountability.

piinyouri:
Respect to the man for taking accountability.

If you don't believe that the board came to him and said "Time to go" than I have a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn. He hasn't taken accountability for anything in years. he didn't now. It's just less embarrassing for all involved than to say "We fired his ass".

Hades:
Lets not go cheering to soon. I expect the next guy to be much worse then him

I know right? The gem of wisdom "When one evil falls there will always be a greater one to take its place" sure comes to mind with this news. Still I can't place all the blame on him as there were no doubt countless others under him that agreed, and still agree, with his policy decisions. Of course the real puppet masters are the board of directors who no doubt have zero understanding of the gaming industry and are impossible to dethrone shy of buying out all their stock.

Wait, does this mean that EA might improve after all of his final planning decisions take their course?

I have to hand it to the man, he could lie like nobody else. Jim Sterling will probably give him a memorial next Monday and that will be a treat to watch.

I'm quite interested as to who's going to sit in the CEO's chair when Probst steps back to join the board again.

Rejoice, for nothing of any significance has happened today!

Yeah, business as usual for EA. It hasn't crashed or burned nearly enough to realize that, gosh darn, microtunzuctions ain't so nifty after all! Well, shucks...

Ahem.

I'll rejoice once DLC stops being profitable, which doesn't seem like it'll ever happen.

NO!

Ricardo Pepperoni! Don't leave us!

If you leave us what will we do with all our Photoshops?

Who will we make Italian cuisine jokes about?

Please Mr. Tortellini, what do we have to do to get you to stay?

Good on him for at least saying that all the bad things that have happened have been his fault.

EA have been getting desperate lately, I'm honestly surprised it took this long.

LetalisK:
I'm gonna be honest, I figured he'd be the last person to hold himself accountable.

I would say "Good on him for that", but he waited so long to do it that it seems more like faint praise.

Was waiting for someone to bring that up. Yeah yeah, too little too late and all, but amidst all the gag-inducing praise for EA's contributions to the industry, that resignation letter at least contained some admission of failure coupled with the words, "I am 100 percent accountable." If nothing else, it's more than I think any of us expected of him.

Now, that said...

Though he is gone and it may be time for celebration we can't exactly see this as a new form of change for EA seeing as how similar practices will continue to live on with the company.

Remember the rule of two, there will always be a master and an apprentice.

image

First they offer $60 games to apologize for a a crappy few days of a $60 game, and now John Riccitiello resigns and...and this is the shocking part...actually ADMITS that it is because he screwed up? In a world where most CEO's pull some bullshit excuse in order to save face? Is EA trying to be...ACCOUNTABLE?

I'm torn between my desire to mock them with my shock for all there underhandedness, and my desire to celebrate the fact that they are at least starting to try to act like adults. My opinion is still low, but you know what? This is actually a start.

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