I am a great fan of John Riccitiello, the CEO of Electronic Arts (ERTS). He has done a lot really good stuff in the industry and when he left the company it lost its way. Now he is back in the driving seat and the company is again making great progress. It is great when he does a proper interview because he talks more sense than just about anyone else in the industry. So it was great that he did this fairly comprehensive E3 interview, everyone should read it.
He talks about the increasing quality of EA games but makes the point that the market is the final arbiter “…….wait for it to sell. Then we can look at the results.” He is spot on, because a Metacritic score is just a number, whereas it is income that pays the bills and keeps the company going. He reinforces the point with this classic quote: “I don’t think the investors give a shit about our quality. They care about our earnings per share.”
As to the console wars, his take is absolutely brilliant: “With EA, my job is to make sure we’re neutral. Years ago, I told you that they make the war, we make the bullets.”
The Wii Motion Plus is seen as a good step forward: “ If I had to pick one thing we suffered from, it was imprecise control on the Wii.” And obviously it will keep Nintendo (OTCPK:NTDOY) competitive when Sony (NYSE:SNE) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) bring out their motion controllers.
He talks about the change from boxed retail product to online delivery of content and how it will change the revenue model: “There is a longer-term transition from a disk-based model for retail sales to an “average revenue per user” model. Five to seven years from now, investors will look at EA as how we have 100 million customers where we have an ARPU relationship that amounts to so many dollars a month.” This is a massive change for the industry and for the customers and it is good that EA are ahead of the curve.
And he quite nicely makes the point of just how big and successful EA is: “It’s fair to say that I have 10 franchises that today generate more revenue than Facebook and all of its business partners.”
These few quotes cannot do the article justice. I strongly recommend that anyone involved in the game industry reads it very carefully because with John Riccitiello in the saddle Electronics Arts are going places and he knows exactly where those places are.