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EA : We “dropped the ball” in the generational transition

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Electronics Arts’ CEO John Riccitiello has admitted the mega-publisher and developer dropped the ball in the switch from the previous generation of consoles, to the high-definition era.

“Through this last transition to the PS3 era… for a whole bunch of reasons that are worth getting into, I think it’s fair to say we dropped the ball,” he said at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference.

“Our IP deteriorated, our costs went up, and we didn’t really have an answer for the rise in digital.” This is all in the past, says Riccitiello – because the company is now exactly where it wants to be. They’ve managed this by reducing the number of titles they release – and by focusing on digital distribution and free-to-play gaming models.

“on balance… in its current state of rivalry, is a better model than pay to play,” he said, following up with “As the head of our Playfish division likes to say, ‘There’s no such thing as free to play… it’s play first, pay later,’ and that’s a very compelling model.”

It’s obviously a model that’s worked well for them; FIFA Ultimate Team saw revenues quadruple from $10 million to $40 million just from dropping the $10 core price of the game, and making it free-to-pay.

That doesn’t mean the company will be shying away from traditional, boxed retail  games, with Riccitiello admitting that it’s still their core business. I have to say, I think EA’s been fantastic this generation; delivering great new IP’s in the way of Dead Space, Mirror’s Edge and Dragon Age – and if they’ve dropped the ball in any way of late, it would be the cancellation of a Mirror’s Edge sequel.

Source : Gamasutra

Last Updated: February 16, 2011

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