Ex EA boss chides "opportunist" developers who just want profit

3 min read


Former EA bossman John Riccitiello, speaking for the first time since leaving EA has managed to set off the irony sensors buried somewhere within my skull. He’s lashed out at opportunists, copycat developers who’re only in the business to make money. This is the guy who’s been running EA for the past 6 years. EA.

“Let’s be realistic. I’m going to be cynical for a minute,” he said in an extensive interview with GI.Biz. “I find this terribly hilarious – you talked about game companies, things you write about on the website, these game companies who are going to create the next generation of new ideas, they’re all about fun etc. And they’re working on a Puzzles and Dragons rip-off, except they’re going to change one of the colors to blue.

“I mean, wait a minute. Are you in this because you want to create something or does it look like the easiest way to make money is to take one of the top-ten games and tweak it?”

This coming from the guy who ran a company that tried so hard to turn its shooters in to Call of Duty, and failed. Maybe now that he’s not forced to suck up to a board, he’s actually able to say this stuff with a straight face and this is how he really feels – but surely he must feel like a bit of a hypocrite?

“One of the reasons we’re seeing a lot of stuff that looks alike and plays alike is because that’s how a lot of stuff gets born. It gets funded that way. I think we’re going to start seeing a lot more differentiation as people get bored of seeing the same apps in the top 200. They’re going to come at it and realize that if you don’t make a fundamentally different product then it’s very difficult to replace something that’s up there with your own original design.”

“What I don’t like in the games industry today is that there are too many opportunists who are there to make money. I think making money is a fine byproduct when you’re trying to do something great, but I don’t think you do something great because you set out to get rich. I think you get rich by trying to do something great.”

I’d honestly lie to believe that Riccitiello really does favour creativity and that he was being restrained by investors; there’s no way to justify the absolute milking of the Need for Speed series and the torrent of Sims expansions otherwise.

Read  EA rolls out first change to Star Wars Battlefront II progression

Last Updated: August 1, 2013

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I’m old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time – they were capable of being masterpieces. I’m here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

  • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    Wait… what did I just read?

    • Trevor Davies

      Quick, check if he was wearing a jacket.

      • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

        When John was a CEO: “Hey bros we need to make money. MICROTRANSACTIONS!!!”
        Now that John is no longer CEO: “Hey bros it’s all about the art, yo! Let’s not be greedy”
        I suspect the jacket corrupts everything…

        • RinceThisAndGingerSmite

          lol. At least there are some people over here. I think the internet is attacking of Fish over on the other 🙂

        • Ultimo_Cleric N7

          To be honest, we dont know whether he was the one making all the calls at EA, he doestn just answer to investors but the rest of the board as well.
          Cant see him saying all this unless he was was fired for maybe another reason……being the scapegoat. Am come on, do you REALLY see ONE MAN being responsible for all crap that EA comes up with? I dont.

  • Tbone187

    Okaaay, comparing the man’s personal views on the industry to the fact he was CEO at a company that milks franchises doesn’t seem fair imo…I can understand people are upset with EA but c’mon boet…

  • Hillbillygamer

    Takes one to know one:P

  • Wtf101

    Either way you look at it, this guy’s got a point. The total lack of original games are killing me right now. As for the Sims expansions comment, at least with every expansion they bring something new to the table, and its not clone after clone after clone.
    Look, EA in my books are not that bad. They bought me Mass Effect and The Sims. If they do stuff to a game and I do not like the game, then I just don’t buy the game.

  • DrKiller

    I like how he says “I’m going to be cynical for a minute”, and then he says “wait a minute”.. xD

Check Also

Battlefield 1’s Turning Tides update brings exciting new content and controversial gameplay tweaks

The first part of Battlefield 1's massive Turning Tides DLC dropped yesterday for premium …