Former EA CEO John Riccitiello has said pushing for console-quality graphics on mobile devices can be a "road to ruin" for publishers that don't work out how those games can provide new gameplay experiences.
Speaking at an event hosted by Casual Connect (via Polygon), Riccitiello said "investing in better graphics without figuring out what differentiating gameplay you're going to have--without thinking of how gameplay rewards players--is a road to ruin."
"Prettier games cost more to make. Better games satisfy consumers," he added.
Riccitiello referenced to the late 90s to illustrate his point, speaking about how the push for 3D graphics in most strategy games caused costs to skyrocket but didn't increase sales."Revenue remained the same because they weren't innovating."
Other genres, such as action adventure games, succeeded because the experience would have been impossible without the 3D graphics, he said.
Returning the discussion to furthering games development on increasingly powerful mobile devices, Riccitiello said to think about optimizing gameplay rather than focus on graphics. "If you're looking at more powerful CPUs and GPUs, think more about how that creates the opportunity to build an experience you've not seen before--a different kind of gameplay," Riccitiello said. "What gameplay wasn't possible before that can be fundamentally optimized?"
Few publishers who have games which chart in the best-selling mobile charts manage to recreate the success, added Riccitello. "You can either hope to be lucky twice, or you can figure out an answer that I think is vitally important for the health of the mobile business," he added.
"Developers need to build brands. Games that don't build a brand will not be around in a decade. Will Clash of Clans be with us in 25 years? Madden turns 25 this year. Will Candy Crush be around next year and still be doing a few million a day?"
Riccitiello resigned from EA in March, after six years at the company. The publisher has yet to announce his successor.