Former EA CEO: "There are too many opportunists" in the industry

John Riccitiello says too many are in the business just to make money; praises Ken Levine and Don Mattrick for pursuing their passions.

Former Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello believes there are too many "opportunists" in the industry today who are only looking to make money and not pursue "something great."

"What I don't like in the games industry today is that there are too many opportunists who are there to make money," Riccitiello told Games Industry International in a new interview.

Someone not blinded by dollar signs, according to Riccitiello, is Don Mattrick, former Xbox boss and now Zynga's new CEO.

"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," Riccitiello said. "I think you get rich by trying to do something great. Don fits into that category. He'll do that more than most anybody you'll ever come across."

Another individual with the right mindset, at least according to Riccitiello, is BioShock creator Ken Levine. He said BioShock Infinite is a masterpiece of the modern era, and an accomplishment unmatched since Lord of the Rings.

"Ken Levine and the world he built in Columbia is perhaps the most fully realized world ever created, in my view, in any medium since Lord of the Rings. It is that deep and rich an interesting place. It rivals, as I say, some of the great creations of our time in any form," Riccitiello said. "As a game, it's really not any different than the first BioShock game was; in fact, in some ways it's simpler… mechanically it wasn't that different. But part of what makes for great games is the concept behind it, and then sometimes what makes for great games is the mechanics."

Riccitiello resigned from his post at EA in March. EA is currently considering internal and external candidates for his replacement, though no front-runners have been revealed yet.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

Want the latest news about BioShock Infinite?

BioShock Infinite

BioShock Infinite

Discussion

291 comments
tlmoon2112
tlmoon2112

He's talking out of both sides of his mouth. HE was the one that outsourced a ton of EA's jobs (including mine) to pump up the company's bottom line.

edinko
edinko

"There are too many opportunists"

Well funny that he says it. And the part about mattrick. I wont even go into that.

quantumtheo
quantumtheo

So comments now pend upon approval... great... 

So if I say "John was a stand up guy who really believe in making a great game at a fair price." Will it be approved??? hmmmmmm......

91210user
91210user

If a statement like this needs to be made, it needs to be made. at least he's honest and it almost like he still cares about EA because they're still making games! That's a very loyal post-CEO!

stuff238
stuff238

LMAO at Ken Levine. The guy is delusional. Bioshock infinite isnt special. Its an FPS that takes place on a city.....on some clouds. whoopty freaken do. I own the game and I wasn't wow'd. I was disappointed. 

SythisTaru
SythisTaru

It's kind of disgusting how much hate the internet has for successful people. You are parasites.

straightcur
straightcur

You were in charge!!!  You had the opportunity to change the culture and didn't do anything.   Goes to show, it doesn't take talent to become an overpaid CEO.  It's all about politics

salvucci91
salvucci91

Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Kind of funny, coming from a CEO that was at EA only five months. But.. yes.

That's why everything's a franchise. Innovate once, if at all, and then coast off of it for as long as possible.

He is absolutely right; there has been next to nothing in terms of passion in the industry for a few years now.

derceto
derceto

The only redeemable words from this guy were his commending of Ken Levine.  Whether you like the Shock games or not, Levine is a guy who is in the industry, by good portion, for just making good games.  FPS may not appeal to some, but, I think Ken's stories would appeal to most.

The_Beanster
The_Beanster

This article is actually a test to see if anyone out there can die from extreme irony.

Hurvl
Hurvl

Neither that picture of him looking sleepy or his actions at EA makes me think of passion, other than the kind of passion that can fuel the Dark Side of the Force. Activision, EA, Microsoft and most other big companies only seem to care about money, so I guess he's right about there being too many opportunists. A game company is still a company and needs to be run like a company, becoming profitable enough to go on, but the other, creative part, the game part is lacking.

Darth_Aloysius
Darth_Aloysius

I'm guessing many people find this rather ironic.

chrisrooR
chrisrooR

He's not relevant anymore. I'll never forgive this asshole for being the opportunist that turned Dead Space 3 into a DLC nightmare.

Seriously, how he's calling other people opportunists is fucking beyond me.

Revl8n
Revl8n

Not sure how to interpret this story given the source is an (ex) EA executive.

Atombomb1981
Atombomb1981

EA is looking to make money, John Riccitiello wanted to make something great. So...he left.

jameson425
jameson425

You had me at Ken Levine and then slapped him in the face by adding Don Matrrick's name to the list. 

cogadh
cogadh

Riccitello says there are too many opportunists in gaming? Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. Like he was interested in anything other than filling the shareholders pockets during his time at EA...

XxXeroxX
XxXeroxX

This article tells you all you need to know about EA and their schemes. The fact that this guy has the gall to say something as egregious as this. Did he think EA was running a clinic on how to best run a company? The same company voted back-to-back "Worst Company in America"?

The fuck outta here. 

blackothh
blackothh

Well you can shut up now. So Mattrick taking a pay increase to jump ship is not considered blinded by $ ?   Sounds like a greedy traitor to me.

northArrow
northArrow

Where was this line of thinking when you ran EA?

And Mattrick? You've got to be kidding me

Dragon_Nexus
Dragon_Nexus

Sorry, what? This from the guy who made well known franchises into marmoginised masses of grey goo, ticking off the boxes to keep focus groups happy, aiming to appeal to as big an audience as possible and claiming that if certain games didn't make sales target they'd be killed of?


And he says some people ae only in it for money!?

Gegglington
Gegglington

he looks like he shouldent be round kids

ahpuck
ahpuck

I feel like giving him one of those awkwardly staged xbox one cheers.

snugglebear
snugglebear

I'm sorry, I couldn't hear you over the multiple yearly sports and shooter franchises. 

telaros
telaros

"John Riccitiello says too many are in the business just to make money."

*dieing to intense pangs of laughter induced by said quote above*

OH MY GAWD! OMG! I can't stop laughing  iomhgg serious omg xDDDDD


Oh fuck that, I am voting this man comedian of the YEAR!
You know what? I'm a TRY to buy an EA game sometime. Likely never play it, but just for making me laugh this hard I'm a damn well find me a EA game to buy!

oh whoa man. my chest hurts. oh my wow.

Ok, you know what? I'm not even gonna bring up the 16 bit era. I'm not even gonna bring up the Dreamcast era. No. I'm feeling too good right now so I'm a end it on this high and just say what a man! I WISH I could of seen him say that in person with a, more than likely, straight face! x3

4le_breVVer
4le_breVVer

ORLY?! So now it's ok to point fingers. GS- please stop quoting this guy. 

nirzor07
nirzor07

Hope he's being sarcastic about Don and making quick bucks :P

SEEDman_X
SEEDman_X

....... and you are the worse of the all

Wattsburg0
Wattsburg0

Guess he is trying to get a job with Zynga.

deadpeasant
deadpeasant

Bioshock Infinite was a good game but saying its game world is the most well realised game world in any video game ever shows how little this man knows the industry he worked in. 

Bethesda and Rockstar games have far more developed game worlds than Bioshock infinite to name a few.

LiquidOcelot145
LiquidOcelot145

Wait... What? Ninja, is you Sub-Zerious?

This is either the biggest pile of bullshit to ever be spewed from this mans mouth (and trust me, there's  a lot of bullshit he's spewed out over the years), or the most ironic, and masterfully crafted ruse I have ever read. How can one man be so blind and ignorant to the fact that he and his (former) employer are the very things he hates?

John Ricitellio- Master troll of the gaming community 2013

poromenos
poromenos

It is safe to be philosophical when you are filthy rich.

quantumtheo
quantumtheo

LOL, yup, sycophants are welcome.  I obviously do not feel that way, John wanted to charge people a dollar to reload.... he's as big an opportunist as any other.

FallbackCougar
FallbackCougar

@stuff238 You clearly weren't paying attention to the story while you were playing were you.

SythisTaru
SythisTaru

@salvucci91 Hope you are joking about the passion part. Some of the best games ever made have been released in the last few years.

dussan2
dussan2

@cogadh 

This guy actualy tried.  He brought in Bioware, pushed for new IP's instead of producing sequels. 

Unfortunatley EA profits fell despite having an insanely strong line up that year.

XxXeroxX
XxXeroxX

@Dragon_Nexus Right?! The fucking sack on this guy to say something as dumbfounding as people are only in it for the money.

Warful
Warful

@deadpeasant Yeah but artistical depth to the Bioshock series as a whole is more stunning(in my opinion) than Rockstar and Bethesda, but if we're talking pure size and overall work in a game world or universe, of course Bioshock won't come first, but if we're talking artistically, then Bioshock is one of the first in my mind, Rapture was just mindboggling.

deadpeasant
deadpeasant

@poromenos Yes that is very true. The only people that money is an object for is people who don't have much of it.

acelogan1989
acelogan1989

@FallbackCougar @stuff238 he is the guy who easily impressed by a shooter games that have an explosion in every 2 minutes . the story in bioshock  is too much for his brain . 

Dragon_Nexus
Dragon_Nexus

@PrpleTrtleBuBum @Dragon_Nexus Only it's not about accessibility.

It's about making games tick all the boxes. Multiplayer and/or co-op when it's not required. Focussing on a shooter aspect to the detriment of the other features. Even radically changing a game's tone and style to appease what focus groups are telling them...just to watch the game flop for being completely generic.

Appealing to more people is great, but if you try to appeal to everyone you end up appealing to no-one.