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EA expects poor quarterly financial results, CEO steps down
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Mar 18, 2013, 06:32 PM
Citing "accountability for the shortcomings in our financial results this year," game publisher Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello is stepping down. Former CEO and current chairman of the board, Larry Probst, is taking over the position while the board searches for a candidate.

Riccitiello said in a letter to the company that EA will likely come in at the low end or slightly below the financial estimates it provided to Wall Street last quarter, and has "fallen short of the internal operating plan we set one year ago." He calls himself "100 percent accountable" for the failures to meet financial goals.

While Riccitiello changed a prior practice of absorbing smaller developers for intellectual property and then dramatically changing the games, he took heat for shutting down studios after they released games that didn't immediately see critical or financial success. During his tenure, the company came under legal assault for breaking US antitrust laws by signing exclusive contracts with the NFL, NCAA, and the Arena Football League to use players' names and likenesses, preventing other companies from using the content.

The company has also been burdened by allegations of draconian digital rights management, beginning with Spore. The implementation of "online passes" intended to curtail used console game purchases, as well as the current debacle with Sim City -- even after saying that the company had learned from prior mistakes -- has not gone over well with players. In April of 2012, the Consumerist awarded EA the title of "Worst Company in America" following a poll of its users, citing a litany of consumer complaints.

Probst was the company CEO from 1991 to 1997, and has served as the chairman of the board since 1994. During a time of rapid gaming expansion, Probst grew EA's revenues from $175 million to $3 billion. The company had announced it was expecting revenue between $1.03 and $1.13 billion on this quarter. EA stock has climbed over three percent in after-hours trading on the news of Riccitiello's resignation.
( Last edited by NewsPoster; Mar 19, 2013 at 12:04 AM. )
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Mar 18, 2013, 06:41 PM
It would be nice if it turned out that, rather than just eating their crap-sandwich and complaining about it, EA's miserable business practices actually did reflect on their bottom line enough to change the way they do business.

Because complaining about draconian DRM, bloodletting-via-freemium, and mangling potentially good games because they're not immediate blockbusters isn't going to do any good if you keep supporting the company that does those things by buying their products. (Which I don't, I might add.)
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Mar 18, 2013, 08:07 PM
I used to enjoy EA's products, but taking money for mobile and Facebook games only to abandon the games a year later is not a way to keep my business.
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Mar 19, 2013, 10:56 AM
Hmm, I wonder if SimCity was the final nail in the coffin?
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