Electronic Arts president John Riccitiello says the videogame industry lacks innovation and relies too heavily on "rinse-and-repeat" sequels.
Speaking in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Riccitiello said, "We are boring people to death and making games that are harder and harder to play." While he praised new games such as Guitar Hero, World of Warcraft and the upcoming EA-distributed Rock Band, he also said, "For the most part, the industry has been rinse-and-repeat. There's been lots of product that looked like last year's product, that looked a lot like the year before." While he believes in sequels as a sound strategy, he said they needed to be more innovative than in the recent past.
Reflecting a new trend among game developers and publishers, he also stated his belief that the industry needs to come up with new sales approaches and aggressively pursue "casual" gamers who aren't interested in playing through a normal full-length game that, according to Riccitiello, few players ever finish. EA recently announced the creation of a new division called EA Casual Entertainment, intended to pursue that market.
While Electronic Arts is the world's largest third-party publisher of videogames, with sales for the fiscal year ended March 31 totaling $3.09 billion, its net income fell for the third year in a row, dropping 68 percent to only $76 million. The company's most well-known imprint, EA Sports, has so far announced 10 titles in its various sports franchises for 2008, including the 14th NBA Live sequel and the 18th Madden NFL sequel.