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."

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"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.

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