Timing of EA CEO resignation 'makes sense' says analyst

Robert W. Baird industry watcher not surprised by John Riccitiello's resignation from Battlefield publisher today, says Peter Moore, Frank Gibeau leading internal candidates to take over.

John Riccitiello's resignation today from mega-publisher Electronic Arts was not an entirely surprising event, according to Robert W. Baird analyst Colin Sebastian. In a note to investors today, Sebastian said the timing of his departure from EA makes sense for a number of reasons.

"EA's controversial CEO John Riccitiello will step down as of March 30 as part of a mutual decision with the board of directors. We believe timing makes sense for a CEO transition at the end of the fiscal year, and ahead of next generation console launches and a strong [second half of 2013] title lineup (Battlefield and EA Sports)," Baird said.

Despite EA's financial challenges, which Riccitiello said were part of the reason he decided to resign, Sebastian said EA has positioned itself to benefit from the upcoming console transition.

"We believe EA is well positioned for the console refresh cycle, and the company has made progress in building a digital platform and more recently controlling expenses," Sebastian said. "However, we note that inconsistent financial performance, some high profile title flops (e.g., Star Wars: The Old Republic) and employee turnover were issues that impacted the CEO's credibility."

Lastly, Sebastian suggested that current chief operating officer Peter Moore and EA Labels president Frank Gibeau are leading internal candidates to take over as CEO. The EA Board of Directors will also consider external candidates with the the help of a "leading executive search firm." In the meantime, longtime EA executive Larry Probst will lead EA.

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Discussion

130 comments
Derock161
Derock161

I hope this resignation means an end between the EA and Nintendo feud.

    Anyways maybe they can start making mvp baseball again

Dat-tsu
Dat-tsu

EA can view gamers as an exploitable commodity all they want, just so long as they remember that they are a *thinking* commodity. Trying to appeal to as many people as possible and price gouging your customers with mirco-transactions and charging them for extra content that was blatantly cut from the finished product may be profitable for now, but I doubt that it's a sustainable business model. One thing that EA never really seems to take into consideration is their own credibility and the credibility of their franchises, which is quickly going down the drain, I think, and I think there will come a breaking point where people won't be willing to go along with it anymore.


What I'm getting at here is that I hope one day EA gets a CEO who thinks that, yes, it's our job to be as profitable as possible, but keeping the credibility of our games is an important aspect of ensuring that our customers will keep coming back.

moonlightwolf01
moonlightwolf01

Well he's leaving with quite the trophy rack: Dead space, Crysis, Maxis and Bioware all choked to death by corporate influence. he can hang them on his wall and remember all the good times he had bleeding money out of gamer's pockets.

berserker66666
berserker66666

To John Retardetello, "Wipe that smug look on your face and rid us of your stupidity"

SauhlGood
SauhlGood

the problem is the current CEO wasnt gouging enough, id like to think somebody who would focus on quality would come, but thats prolly unlikely as it would take awhile to make a quality product and these people are only concerned in making money during theyre time as CEO

Sepewrath
Sepewrath

Well hopefully many of the dumb decisions made by EA in recent years will be rectified. If not, then there was no point in the change.

vadagar1
vadagar1

maybe EA can try the Valve apporch.... and everyone that works there is an equal :D

AHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHHAAHAH LAOLAOOKKAHAHAHAHHOHOH ...ahhhhhhh... wow could not say that with a straight face.

 as if ....

Blue-Sky
Blue-Sky

I hope Peter Moore takes the position. 

DrearierSpider
DrearierSpider

You know what I would love to happen?  A group of people storm the EA headquarters, take everybody hostage and make the families pay micro-transactions for their release.  Plan out a couple pages of bundle options, go to town with that shit.

sieg6529
sieg6529

Good riddance, but I doubt the replacement will be much btter.

ZoTrAcK
ZoTrAcK

That dude bought 500000$ of personal stocks two months ago, that made the stock raise 4$ because of that and the simcity hype, and then it takes the safety boat with its big bonus... here for you investors -8% today!

gix47
gix47

so the mad idea of using a Freemium  business model for all their games is over now??

Karmazyn
Karmazyn

I bet that former EA CEO did get such a great salary package that he can afford all the microtransactions that EA will come up with in the 100 000 years.

GSGuy321
GSGuy321

Hopefully they find a CEO who is not afraid to clean house, because that's what is truly needed. The whole big corporation mentality needs to go. Get back to basics (listening to the consumer, treat them with respect). I mean honestly, decisions like always-on DRM with a game like Simcity is a dreadful idea.

kamikazeespleen
kamikazeespleen

Being an Analyst sounds like an easy job. You get paid to either state the obvious or make up random bullshit and because you have an official name, people are going to believe it.

I'm sick of seeing "*insert statement*..says analyst".

gbrading
gbrading moderator

Come on, it's got to be Peter Moore. Anything that gets him into more EA conferences is a good thing. EA can still be saved... there is life in the old girl yet.

Cryptic_Shadow
Cryptic_Shadow

There is always another potential fat-cat waiting in line.

Sovereign73811
Sovereign73811

All I wanted was a new SimCity game after all of these years...all I got was a soundtrack (Chris Tilton's work is genius...and besides it's DRM free...lol). Goes great with SimCity 4 though.

jsmoke03
jsmoke03

damn that would have been cool if ray myzuka couldve been next in line

FlameBoyBen
FlameBoyBen

Its become comical to see what ea will do next to screw us over.

Its almost popcorn worthy

Joeguy00
Joeguy00

Report: Analyst 'not surprised' how accurate Analysts can be when talking after the fact.

Altazen
Altazen

would be nice 1 day to see a title of an article that says;


Timing of EA file for bankruptcy 'makes sense' says analyst.

GetafixOz
GetafixOz

"In another amazing development EA announces they have removed the customer feedback firewall from their email systems and are suprised that over the past few years several people have written expressing dissatisfaction with some of their products." *yawn*

Pi$$ off and dont join another game company, the industry can do without you.

punkpunker
punkpunker

Frank Gibeau should be fired for every drastic changes in established IPs like dead space.

AlphaWolF_J
AlphaWolF_J

Fired for being to soft on gamers not enough micros & DLC  and not charging for server time or to use origin. 

THE board of directors also want to now charge for each kill in multiplayer 

(unlock this headshot for ONLY ! 1.99)


GSGuy321
GSGuy321

@Blue-Sky i heard he hates PC, the only platform of gaming that's truly growing.

stev69
stev69

@DrearierSpiderHeh so what piece of your relative would you like in this microtransaction, ive got four noses and a torso left any takers?

vadagar1
vadagar1

@ZoTrAcK like I said he is probably an unemployed billionaire now, poor guy

Diablo-B
Diablo-B

@GSGuy321 True. But the answer isnt to give up but its to keep searching for more effective and intelligent DRM

seemanrun
seemanrun

@gix47 There is no plan to use Freemium on all the games.  It is only on the games that are going to be free to play, like Real Racing 3, or The Simpsons Tapped Out.

ZoTrAcK
ZoTrAcK

@Karmazyn with the amount of dlc they do, he wouldn't last 2 years!

seemanrun
seemanrun

@GSGuy321 At least it made sense in their minds for the experience they wanted.  While it was certainly possible to make the game offline, their vision was a connected region; they took for granted that making online servers reliable was hard.  Blizzard's choice with Diablo 3 I think was worse since that game is truly single player unless you want to play multiplayer.  Their vision of the game was not a connected experience, but purely DRM.  I believe even in Starcraft I cannot play the game offline without first connecting to Battle.log first.

Hurvl
Hurvl

@kamikazeespleen But I bet it takes a lot of work and education to make it sound like you're stating the obvious or making up random bullshit, lol. I don't think that just about anybody could do that job.

stev69
stev69

@Sovereign73811 You could always play the new game from Maxis/EA "facebook town online" its got some great DRM.

Hurvl
Hurvl

@FlameBoyBen The butter and salt for your popcorn are sold separately as overpaid DLC, though. The might even already be inside the popcorn holder, you just need to activate it.

stev69
stev69

@Joeguy00 That is why they are called analysts and not fortune tellers.

ZoTrAcK
ZoTrAcK

@vadagar1 
he gets a two year full salary because he resign, isn't that disgusting? And he is talking about taking accountability !

GSGuy321
GSGuy321

@Diablo-B @GSGuy321 I truly believe that the best DRM is a good, quality product. That's the best way to sell.

stev69
stev69

@seemanrun @gix47 Yeah we will see, outing exec is set for life so doesn't give a toss, incoming exec needs to make a make a mark and push the company forward, standby for "Facebook town online" (Sim City) to have new dlc buy new types of building for $15 a week etc

arc_salvo
arc_salvo

@GSGuy321 No it's true.  Even pirates buy as much or potentially more than non-pirates.  Studies have shown this.  The way DRM is implemented nowadays only hurts real customers.  Pirates are too smart for DRM.

GSGuy321
GSGuy321

@Diablo-B @GSGuy321  PS. The newly released European study actually showed that in the absence of piracy sales are 2%%-7%% less. I say again, 2-7%% LESS. In other words, the reverse effect. The studies are numerous, in Japan they just implemented the strictest copyright laws in the world to boost lagging sales. Well, legal sales decreased an astonishing 69 per cent. Again, I'm not so sure piracy is responsible for any lost sales.

GSGuy321
GSGuy321

@Diablo-B@GSGuy321I'm not so sure the relationship between piracy and lost sales can be made that easily. Sure, the RIAA and MPAA have taken that position for years. And spent billions fighting. However, plenty of studies and academic papers actually show the reverse. RIAA is wasting their money imo. Another study, that was independent, just came out in Europe which shows the opposite effect as that claimed by the recording industry. If nothing else, it shows that piracy can't be understood... "European Commission’s Joint Research Centre shows that online piracy doesn’t hurt digital music revenues." http://www.scribd.com/doc/131005609/JRC79605

Diablo-B
Diablo-B

@GSGuy321 Certainly the best form of marketing is a great product. A great product will sell itself. However, no matter how good a piece of software is there will always be folks who will look for ways to pirate a game instead of purchasing it. Developers have to right to protect their hard work from digital thieves. The issue is developers just haven't found the best way to do so.

Many gamers hold your view point. I used to as well. But now that I am a software developer I see things from the other side. If a company works hard on a software and large amounts of profits are being lost from piracy, that can cause developers to go out of business. Software development is very hard and expensive. I have seen many companies have to either close their doors or lay people off for not making ends meet. Piracy isnt the cause for that but if a company is on the fringes of breaking even it can make all the difference.