Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello has expressed dissatisfaction with EA’s performance, despite the company’s status as the top first-party publisher in 2007.

The statement came following the announcement of the company’s third quarter results, when Riccitiello said that increased competition in the industry has resulted in a loss of market share for the publisher. According to a report posted on GamesIndustry, he said EA was prepared to delay the release of forthcoming titles in order to improve their quality.

“We did not have any internally developed breakaway titles and no one of EA’s internally developed titles reached a Metacritic rating of 90 or greater,” he said. “This hit us particularly hard in North America where EA faced toughed competition on a number of fronts. In North America, excluding EA Partners, our business was essentially flat in a very robust market.”

While some EA releases, including Skate, FIFA 08, Madden NFL 08 and Rock Band have performed well, the company’s performance compared to publishers like Activision and Ubisoft. In-development titles Battlefield: Bad Company and Mercenaries 2: World in Flames have already been pushed back into fiscal 2009, which begins in April.

“When I came back to EA I made a commitment to investing in quality, both because I think it’s the right decision for the long-term financial health of the company and because it is what our consumers have a right to expect,” Riccitiello added. “This is an important principle, even if it results in short-term pain. We have made the decision to move Battlefield: Bad Company and Mercenaries 2 into fiscal 2009. Both titles are looking great and we believe with additional polish we will build a better consumer experience and thereby maximize our economics.”

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