Riccitiello’s Left EA: Why You Shouldn’t Be Surprised

March 20, 2013, Author: Matt Parker

“Oh no! The head of one of the globe’s biggest games companies has left his job!? I don’t believe it!”

Did you say the above, either out-loud or in your head? Shame on you. This whole thing’s been a long time coming. Don’t go thinking this puts EA in a tricky situation either. They’re more than happy to say goodbye. Here’s why.Let’s get an idea of who Mr Riccitiello is, or was. The CEO of EA, John Riccitiello was the head of the entire company and the face of EA’s successes as well as its failures. Riccitiello bore the brunt of what has been a difficult time for the games industry, with EA proving itself to be just as susceptible to these changes in consumer consumption.

Joining as EA’s CEO in 2007, Riccitiello has been leading EA’s share prices into a fairly steady decline. Although not entirely his own doing (like I said, everyone’s had it rough), there have been a number of mistakes that haven’t helped his position at the top.

You don't need to be a financial expert to see what's happened here.

You don’t need to be a financial expert to see what’s happened here.

Even as far back as 2009, people were questioning how long he’d last. From the ‘odd’ acquisition of Bioware and Pandemic to the failed take-over of Take-Two, Riccitiello’s decision-making has been called into question several times. The latest disasters have to be Star Wars: The Old Republic‘s failure to create a solid base of subscribers as well as the terrible launch of SimCity.

The damage hasn’t just been done to EA’s share prices but it’s also their PR which has taken a hammering. DRM, a lack of new IP and an eagerness to dump IP that doesn’t sell 20 million copies has left everyone with a severe lack of confidence.

As mentioned before, to blame all of EA’s problems, both financially and in the hearts of the consumer, at the feet of John Riccitiello is just too simple. Yet it’s hard to say that he’s been a major success.

Don’t feel too bad for him either. He made millions by getting his then new employer (EA) to buy his old company (Bioware). On top of that, it’s reported that he earned millions in bonuses and will be getting paid two years worth of salary before he goes.

I’m not making that up.