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Riccitiello: Investors need to “catch up” with EA, SWTOR “solid, successful, profitable”

Wednesday, 9th May 2012 23:55 GMT By Brenna Hillier

EA’s stock took a bit of a beating in the wake of its financial briefing earlier this week, but CEO John Riccitiello says investors are behind the times.

“I think investors are eventually going to catch up with the company,” he told CNBC’s Mad Money.

“We’ve beat our guidance on the top line, came in at the every high end on APS, and guided a 38% APS growth in the coming year, after launching a whole bunch of blockbusters.

“So: Nothing to apologise for. I think it’s good now; [when] it gets better, investors are gonna see it.”

Host Jim Craner suggested investors had become more excited about the success of Star Wars: The Old Republic than was justified, and are disappointed as a result, a sentiment Riccitiello agreed with.

“When we originally started the franchise, our plan was to break 1 million subscribers. Our investment case was 1.2 million. We told the street yesterday we’re at 1.3 million,” he said.

“We happened to have an earnings call right in the launch period, where we hit 1.7 million,” he added, ruefully. “We have an obligation to tell them the facts. Realistically, I think it’s a solid success.”

Riccitiello reiterated comments from his the investor briefing in which he stressed that EA never planned for The Old Republic to ourperform its top five franchises, like FIFA and Madden.

“Some people are treating it like it’s the only thing that matters. For what it’s worth, it’s a solid, successful, profitable franchise,” he concluded.

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7 Comments

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  1. TheWulf

    This just seems like it’s talking big for morale, but really, it just makes them seem scared. It’ll be interesting to see what the future holds for EA.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Kabby

    No it won’t.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. endgame

    So they took one of the best movie franchises and one of the best gaming franchises and somehow, against all odds, made nothing more than a mediocre game, which you have to pay to play.. Impressive feat EA/Bioware!

    #3 2 years ago
  4. TheBlackHole

    I quite like JR – he’s done a lot of good things at EA.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. GrimRita

    When was the last time EA actually made a FULL YEARS profit? Q4 is always the main one, as almost all their titles come out in the same period.

    I think JR misses the point with SWTOR. Investors have a right to be worried – if any game loses almost 700k of players in since launch, I would be worried.

    It might of had the ‘most successful launch’ but it must claim the crown as the ‘biggest freefall of user base since launch’ as well. And if their almighty 1.2 patch wasnt enough to increase interest, they are fucked

    #5 2 years ago
  6. viralshag

    While I’m not one of the EA-haters (they’re actually my favourite pub), this seems a silly thing to say. You’re saying your investors are behind the times?

    Based on how quickly you are hemorrhaging subs you should easily see that TOR can be put in the same list as WAR and AoC. And these days the first six months are extremely telling for an MMO, you’re most likely never going to see a higher number of subs than you did at launch and you most likely will continue to lose subs until only the die-hard remain.

    That is of course if they remain as a sub-based MMO. If they go F2P, then we will see the usual “news” that “Hey, our active users just went up by like 300%!!!” and then never hear anything again because at that point the game just ticks over with an occasional content update.

    I reckon subs will level out at about 700-800k, if that. If they can turn a profit from that this will never go F2P. How long did it take before WAR went F2P? Thinking about it… did it ever?

    #6 2 years ago
  7. DSB

    @6 Nail on the head.

    I think it’s too early to pronounce SWTOR as WAR: Part 2, but I think it’s obvious that it’s not going to be a WoW killer, or even a WoW heir, which was always the intention. It’s the most expensive game that EA ever did, costing astronomical amounts, so even if it sits comfortably making a modest profit, that’s still not going to be hitting the target.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if it rallied to around the 1.5 million mark, but then it could easily go the other way as well.

    WAR crashed to 300.000 pretty early, so that was arguably a bigger disaster, but the interesting is that EA did the exact same thing they’re doing now. Everything was fine on the outside, while Mythic were being torn apart from the inside. There were quite a few articles written on the subject.

    I don’t think it’s a lot of fun to be a studio that isn’t delivering to someone like EA.

    @5 Currently they’re buying up everyone, which is pretty normal behaviour for EA until the bubble pops and it’s time to fire most of them again. The fact that you aren’t making a profit doesn’t mean that you aren’t adding value though.

    Personally I think it’s a totally irresponsible way to run a business, and especially to treat other human beings, but they’ve been doing it for the better part of two decades now.

    #7 2 years ago