Home
News Post



We're learning this afternoon that Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello is stepping down from his position at Electronic Arts effective March 30. Publisher of Madden NFL Football, FIFA Soccer, NHL and several other sports titles, Electronic Arts is one of the biggest sports gaming companies on the planet and this could have definite impacts on our genre's future.

The company is tapping former CEO and current Chairman of the Board Larry Probst to oversee the transition to a new permanent CEO.

"We thank John for his contributions to EA since he was appointed CEO in 2007, especially the passion, dedication and energy he brought to the company every single day," Probst said in a press release issued this afternoon. "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."

The reasoning for the resignation appears to be that EA is expecting to fall well short of revenue guidelines.

In a letter to Probst, Riccitiello said, "This is a tough decision, but it all comes down to accountability. The progress EA has made on transitioning to digital games and services is something I'm extremely proud of. However, it currently looks like we will come in at the low end of, or slightly below, the financial guidance we issued in January, and we have fallen short of the internal operating plan we set one year ago. EA's shareholders and employees expect better and I am accountable for the miss."

This transition in leadership comes at a time when EA is gearing up to take on a new generation of consoles amidst an expanding digital goods business, of which Riccitiello was a key driver and proponent of. EA's stock is up over 2.5% in after hours trading on the news.

Until we know of a replacement, we won't have an adequate idea as to what this means for EA's sports game lineup, if anything. We will update this story with additional details as they come available.

What do you think this means for EA Sports' future?

Member Comments
# 1 mauro78 @ 03/18/13 05:02 PM
Meybe they'll drop the NFL license?
 
# 2 CM Hooe @ 03/18/13 05:04 PM
With regard to the topic question, it could mean the official end of the maligned NBA LIVE / NBA Elite. Beyond that I'm not sure how much of an impact this does have on EA Sports, however, which by all accounts is reasonably successful.
 
# 3 PVarck31 @ 03/18/13 05:08 PM
Have to wonder if this is Sim City related.

And I don't see anything really changing with sports.

EDIT: The more I think about it, the new CEO might want to flex his muscles by getting a deal done with the NFL.
 
# 4 chi_hawks @ 03/18/13 05:32 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by mauro78
Meybe they'll drop the NFL license?
Please let this mean the NFL exclusive license goes bye-bye.
 
# 5 mauro78 @ 03/18/13 05:48 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by chi_hawks
Please let this mean the NFL exclusive license goes bye-bye.
Nobody knows....let's just hope it won't be renewed....
 
# 6 TreyIM2 @ 03/18/13 06:04 PM
Regardless, there were SOME hits with EA and EA Sports with this man at the helm but I am glad he is stepping aside and taking some accountability. Hopefully this will mean an even better EA going forward with next gen.

Sidebar - EA Sports has been damned quiet about Madden 25, not counting that now annual cover athlete BS, other than 2 minor stories about refs and that crap earlier today. I doubt if Madden 25 is coming to the PS4 and that's what I'm itching to know the most BUT what's also up with Live 14 for EITHER gen??? THAT'S a game EA really can't be quiet about at this point in time unless they are REALLY going hard trying to get the game together for this gen and possibly next gen. I have a sneaking suspicion they are bypassing this year or, at least, the rest of this gen with Live. This could be apart of why dude is graciously "bowing out".

I wonder what that golden parachute is looking like. Heh....
 
# 7 Jimbo614 @ 03/18/13 06:25 PM
It means that EA isnt the invincible machine we thought they were. That they do have a weak spot in their armor, called a Profit Margin.
BTW, this Sim City controversy bodes well for us offline Madden players.
The other side just blinked.
 
# 8 Amoo316 @ 03/18/13 06:29 PM
CEO steps down and stock goes up...guess that should tell them something.
 
# 9 Crimsontide27 @ 03/18/13 06:56 PM
Well look at the historical stock price during his tenure, its taken a huge double digit loss throughout his entire tenure. Lot of us are glad to see him gone. He took a company that was riding high and trading at around $54ish per share when he took over, to where its below $20 per share and actually dipped into the $12s recently.

Basically, at one point EA suffered around a 80% loss while he was in control. Good riddance. Too bad his severence package will be worth more than every producer / developer / artist / admin guys salaries combined. He took a thriving company into the ground and will profit well for it. It disgusts me.
 
# 10 DaReapa @ 03/18/13 07:05 PM
I'd be hard pressed to believe the Sim City fiasco didn't have a role in this decision. Many of you are hopefull that this would have some bearing on the NFL license. Although to me that's just wishful thinking, I'm hoping this move would compel the next in line to at least mandate some form of desire and innovation in the Madden series going forth. This is the first time in an entire generation of gaming of which I haven't purchased a single Madden.
 
# 11 pietasterp @ 03/18/13 07:12 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crimsontide27
Basically, at one point EA suffered around a 80% loss while he was in control.
The discussion begins and ends here. The board members and shareholders really don't give a flying f* about SimCity and some server gaffes or Madden or NFL exclusivity - they care that the company has lost three-quarters of its value under his watch, and that they have consistently missed even conservative quarterly earnings guidances to The Street. I won't speculate as to how much of this is Riccitiello's fault, as no one (even in EA) knows the answer to that, but if you are driving the boat when it runs aground, you take the blame.

My only concern is that the investors by-and-large think EA's problem is not moving more quickly/aggresively into mobile and social, and that's why their stock price is tanking...My suspicion is that that is not true, but I guess we'll see. Business groupthink is always chasing trends after they peak, and I fear we'll see EA dive further into mobile/social at the expense of console/PC because that's where the investors want the company to go. And they will more aggressively try to monetize their products (read: microtransactions galore) because The Street loves that sort of thing. Even as a longtime EA basher, I fear that Riccitiello leaving will lead EA further down a path gamers would rather not see them go (and neither will investors when they see what happens)....
 
# 12 Amoo316 @ 03/18/13 07:22 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by pietasterp
The discussion begins and ends here. The board members and shareholders really don't give a flying f* about SimCity and some server gaffes or Madden or NFL exclusivity - they care that the company has lost three-quarters of its value under his watch, and that they have consistently missed even conservative quarterly earnings guidances to The Street. I won't speculate as to how much of this is Rccitiello's fault, as no one (even in EA) knows the answer to that, but if you are driving the boat when it runs aground, you take the blame.

My only concern is that the investors by-and-large think EA's problem is not moving more quickly/aggresively into mobile and social, and that's why their stock price is tanking...My suspicion is that that is not true, but I guess we'll see. Business groupthink is always chasing trends after they peak, and I fear we'll see EA dive further into mobile/social at the expense of console/PC because that's where the investors want the company to go. And they will more aggressively try to monetize their products (read: microtransactions galore) because The Street loves that sort of thing. Even as a longtime EA basher, I fear that Rccitiello leaving will lead EA further down a path gamers would rather not see them go (and neither will investors when they see what happens)....
I fear you're right, but I hope this was all a wake up call to EA. Back when EA got big, games were mostly for kids. They catered to kids and what kids wanted and what kids liked. There's a whole generation of us ~25+ that still game as adults and are/were some of EA's most loyal fans. This goes beyond just EA Sports, this is EA company wide. Everything they have put their hands on in recent memory (minus FIFA) they have run into the ground trying to cater to the teenagers of today.

The sooner they realize their games are played and loved by people of all ages and begin building games around multiple generations, the better-off they will be.
 
# 13 Gotmadskillzson @ 03/18/13 07:37 PM
People forget, it simply isn't just Sim City, but also the failure of the relaunch of the Medal of Honor series, the failure of what happened to the NBA Live series, the failure of Diablo 3, the failure of EA MMA, the mess they turned the Dragon Age series into, the mess the Fight Night series turned into. So yeah....those things add up.
 
# 14 pietasterp @ 03/18/13 07:38 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amoo316
I fear you're right, but I hope this was all a wake up call to EA. Back when EA got big, games were mostly for kids. They catered to kids and what kids wanted and what kids liked. There's a whole generation of us ~25+ that still game as adults and are/were some of EA's most loyal fans. This goes beyond just EA Sports, this is EA company wide. Everything they have put their hands on in recent memory (minus FIFA) they have run into the ground trying to cater to the teenagers of today.

The sooner they realize their games are played and loved by people of all ages and begin building games around multiple generations, the better-off they will be.
If you were going to be the next CEO of EA, then I'd feel much better about EA taking the right messages from their last decade and moving forward in a positive direction...but if history is any guide, the next guy they bring in will be some hatchet-man who will try to cut his way back to prosperity (as if that's ever worked...) and leverage existing platforms (i.e. Origin) to the hilt in the most onerous of ways, all while pushing microtransactions and "new" revenue streams to the limit that gamers will take, all in an endless (and misguided) attempt to turn EA into some chimera of Facebook and Zynga.

Hopefully, I'm way off, but when the investors start getting ideas about industries they (largely) don't really understand, the results are rarely pretty...
 
# 15 waytofailself @ 03/18/13 07:48 PM
All of you who are saying "Simcity did this" are looking a little too much into the present. It's a factor, but maybe not nearly as much as the COLOSSAL money pit that was Star Wars: The Old Republic. EA has lost, and continues to lose, a bunch of $ on that game. And Riccitiello had a big hand in the decision to make it an MMORPG.

There has been a lot of bad PR, but this move has been coming for awhile.

I can only hope this means or points to EA not renewing the NFL exclusive license. But that's another story for another day.

@gotskillzson: Diablo III is Blizzard/Activision
 
# 16 Vechi8 @ 03/18/13 08:30 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by pietasterp
The discussion begins and ends here. The board members and shareholders really don't give a flying f* about SimCity and some server gaffes or Madden or NFL exclusivity - they care that the company has lost three-quarters of its value under his watch, and that they have consistently missed even conservative quarterly earnings guidances to The Street. I won't speculate as to how much of this is Riccitiello's fault, as no one (even in EA) knows the answer to that, but if you are driving the boat when it runs aground, you take the blame.

My only concern is that the investors by-and-large think EA's problem is not moving more quickly/aggresively into mobile and social, and that's why their stock price is tanking...My suspicion is that that is not true, but I guess we'll see. Business groupthink is always chasing trends after they peak, and I fear we'll see EA dive further into mobile/social at the expense of console/PC because that's where the investors want the company to go. And they will more aggressively try to monetize their products (read: microtransactions galore) because The Street loves that sort of thing. Even as a longtime EA basher, I fear that Riccitiello leaving will lead EA further down a path gamers would rather not see them go (and neither will investors when they see what happens)....
Pietasterp is dead on. I am a finacial advisor and analyze corporations daily. While the microeconomics of EA is very important to a company's success, it is the macro outlook that keeps a CEO employed. Meaning, what is the bottom line. Stock price and earnings are what shareholders demand. When you look at their company's past quarters, very hard to recommend owning shares.
 
# 17 Valdarez @ 03/18/13 09:01 PM
Make way for Peter Moore.
 
# 18 DubTrey1 @ 03/18/13 10:26 PM
Drop exlusive deals all around for EA in order to grow revenue as well as stakeholder shares. The games themselves can become again the strength for EA, same as Rock* is the industry leader for sandbox games - even though many others try and do well enough - Rock* is the standard. EA can once again be the leader in these areas of strength. 2k has managed to do so wothout exclusive license to NBA titles, so why not do the same as they do - build a great product, share the market and become unquestioned leader amidst others whom try to catch up to you in a share of the same genre? Lets hope they right the mis-steps they have internally and grow thier devs, project leads and those whom are in the core business of making the titles - rather than lining the bottom line as they have so long now. It's hurt them as well as the industry - not to mention the lack of depth and creativity within the company in some of thier strongest historical titles.
 
# 19 Bull_Dozer @ 03/18/13 10:45 PM
I hope this means EA will change some things. But I doubt it. A suit is a suit.
 
# 20 Bull_Dozer @ 03/18/13 10:47 PM
Dropping the exclusive NFL license would be amazing.
 

« Previous123Next »

Post A Comment
Only OS members can post comments
Please login or register to post a comment.