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Rumor – Moore to replace Riccitiello as EA CEO

Wednesday, 11th July 2012 20:13 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Here’s a massive rumor for you: GameFront has been told by a source close to the matter EA CEO John Riccitiello will be replaced by EA Sports boss Peter Moore. The news is set to be announced after a July 30 earnings call.

Again, take this with a grain of salt for now, but if true, this is huge news.

The source stated that while Moore replacing Riccitiello was not set in stone, as the board has yet to vote on the matter, there’s a “general feeling of tension throughout EA’s studios,” due to the company’s falling stock prices. As of yesterday, stock in the company has hit a 52-week low yesterday.

Today, stock in the company is trading at $11.64 per share compared to $26.13 per share 52-weeks ago.

Riccitiello has been CEO of EA since 2007, after a a hiatus when he originally left his COO position at the firm in April 2004.

Since returning, Riccitiello has overseen the Origin platform and EA’s decision to focus on a digital direction, the later of which brought in over $1 billion in digital revenue during the firm’s 2011 calendar year.

Yesterday, there was a quote from analyst Michael Pachter floating around, in which he said during a lunch with Riccitiello, he expressed concerns over being “fired,” and was curious as to why the firm’s “stock had hit such a low point.”

Pachter clarified later that while this statement was true and he was “quoted accurately,” he was just “kiddng.”

Breaking news

35 Comments

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  1. TheBlackHole

    MEGATON!

    And a terrible decision on EA’s part.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Phoenixblight

    @1

    I agree.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. TD_Monstrous69

    @1 I agree if this turns to be true. A lot of corporate execs can seem kinda heartless, detached, and inauthentic, but Riccitiello just doesn’t come off as one of those guys. Also, he’s put EA in a position in which they’ll be almost nothing profitable in the long run. I wonder where ol Johnny will land if EA votes him out?

    #3 2 years ago
  4. DSB

    Given that Peter Moore is either a warlock or a James Bond villain (depending on how you interpret his face) I think it’s almost assured that he’ll use EA to either build a moon laser, or to try and destroy all of Hobbit kind.

    Kiwis, be afraid. Be very afraid.

    Five years is a pretty average run for a CEO, but EA are doing terribly these days, so it’s probably not a coincidence that the board think it’s a good move at this point.

    @5 I can’t say I see where you get any of that from. EA are worth a fifth of what they were in 2007. They’re in a serious slump right now.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. KodyxDestroyer

    @3 No, Riccitiello comes off as someone who just wants to milk you dry of all of your money.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. ManuOtaku

    If this end up being true, i think is for the better, moore is the lesser evil IMHO.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. Razor

    Well Moore did a good job at overseeing FIFA’s turnaround as head of EA Sports.

    Maybe he could do the same for the whole of EA.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. TheBlackHole

    “but EA are doing terribly these days”

    You’re kidding, right?

    The guy cut the shit EA were releasing and released 22 games pcy rather than 66. He invested in new IP (Dead Space, Mirror’s Edge), published some incredible third party titles (Portal, L4D), made a billion dollars in digital revenue last year, marking EA out as a force in app/mobile, helped fund a genuine competitor to ‘the almighty’ CoD (BF3), and probably less noticable than all of that, significantly RAISED the average metascore for EA games across the board.

    His biggest missteps were probably the price of the Popcap deal (despite the company’s quality). Same goes for Playfish. Also, while SWTOR has clearly recouped its investment, it has also not been the WoW-killer shareholders hoped it would be. Hardly catastrophic.

    Moore on the other hand… was responsible for the discontinuation of the dreamcast and SEGA’s exit from hardware development.

    Thanks Peter.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. JimFear-666

    i hope he will never come back. What he does was horrible.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. daytripper

    Good riddance

    #10 2 years ago
  11. YoungZer0

    Glad to hear that. Hope EA will find it’s way back to being less evil than Activision.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. Ireland Michael

    @8 Moore was not responsible for the discontinuation of the Dremcast. He was just the one who got burdened with the duty of telling people.

    Why would one American dude be responsible for a company’s decision to move out of the market that they had been a paet of over nearly two decades? It was a board decision across the whole company.

    Main Topic: I have to laugh at people who think Riccitiello is “evil”. Do you people even remember what the company’s games were like before he took over? Because they were fucking shit, and every developer they so much at touched fell apart within months.

    TBH summed up pretty concisely everything the company has done with him in charge.

    Internet attention spans. Gotta love ‘em.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. TheBlackHole

    @12 he was a key stakeholder in that process, and advised on that route.

    Read his own words.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. YoungZer0

    I’m just gonna leave this here:

    http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/jimquisition/5946-Why-Do-People-Hate-EA

    #14 2 years ago
  15. TheBlackHole

    @12 Also, there was a little intended humour in the jibe… hence the ‘thanks peter’. Sorry it wasn’t more clear.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. Ireland Michael

    @13 I have. The whole company decided it was a move for the better. You’re making it sound like it was entitely his fault. He was just one of many voices who agreed that it was the right thing to do.

    And it was.

    If they hasn’t dropped out of the hardware race, the entire company would have ending up folding anyway. There was no way they were going to be able to compete with the PS2. They took the only option they had.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. DSB

    @8 I think it’s pretty obvious that the market doesn’t share your optimism on those moves.

    As a gamer I’m fairly satisfied with the Ricitiello era, beyond the Origin-supremacism, but there’s no escaping that EA has always had a culture of playing fast and loose with everybody’s money.

    They buy anything on a whim whenever they have any kind of money, and then they burn down whatever turns out to be a liability in the aftermath. It already bit them in the ass with a vengeance once the markets crashed, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that has investors worried when they simply go back to the old model after the fact.

    Whether it’s SWTOR, Popcap or just a general mistrust in leadership, the people with the money obviously aren’t thrilled with EA at the moment.

    http://www.cinemablend.com/games/Pachter-EA-CEO-John-Riccitiello-Fears-His-Job-Due-Stock-Failure-44468.html

    http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2012-06-21-stock-ticker-why-eas-market-valuation-has-crashed

    http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2012/06/01/how-low-will-electronic-arts-go.aspx

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-05-07/electronic-arts-profit-more-than-doubles-on-digital-advance.html

    @14 Geeze, Jim Sterling is pretty sharp nowadays huh?

    Good post man. That’s how I’m going to remember Ricitiello. The guy who saw Bobby Kotick across the skyline, and decided to do absolutely everything he could to try and make his cock look bigger, no matter the cost.

    Not that Bobby Kotick shouldn’t be beaten, but preferably not at his own game.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. Ireland Michael

    @17 The entire “core” gaming market seems to be bottoming out. Most of the major console manufacturers and publishers seem to be haemorrhaging money all over the place. It’s a little scary to watch.

    I’m not usually one to be fatalistic about the industry, but those figures makes me nervous.

    Am I the only one?

    #18 2 years ago
  19. daytripper

    @18 no

    #19 2 years ago
  20. DSB

    @18 I think it is undervalued, which is also what some analysts are saying about EA.

    There are a lot of factors like that to consider. For one you’re making the shift from physical to digital media, and that probably makes it harder for people on the outside to gauge just what kind of business is being made.

    Then you have the fact that consoles are just so old. People are burnt out, and it’s no wonder. They’ve been playing games defined by the same tech for 10 years now. In a time when people are barely holding on to their smartphones for a year. It’s an anachronism.

    I’m not joining the Erthazus crusade, but you can only sell people the same stuff so many times.

    Then you also have the big drama with 38 Studios and THQ.

    Uncertainty means people keep holding on to their money.

    This is purely opinion, but I think there’s something wrong with an industry that just doesn’t give a fuck about what they’re producing, which is too often the case in the AAA-space. Seriously, where is the hands-on CEO? Which one actually knows what he’s talking about?

    I have that hope for Jason Rubin, but aside from him, I just can’t spot one running a public company.

    I don’t think people would be flocking to Kickstarter and indies and alpha-funds if the bigger studios had been allowed to innovate and use their imagination to make things a bit more interesting.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. Ireland Michael

    @20 Do you think a market crash is a possibility?

    I honestly don’t know what to say. I’m part of the problem.

    I’m typing this on my iPad while listening to the radio on my smartphone between sessions of Pocket Planes and Infinity Blade. I haven’t bought a console game in two months. I still love console gaming, but… Jesus, there’s just nothing there to entice me.

    Hey, it’s a shooter. Oh look, another shooter. Oh hey, it’s yet another shooter. And here’s another Call of Duty, just in case you weren’t bored of that shit yet!

    A bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point.

    Any industry unwilling to innovate will stagnate. It happened to the music industry for years, until the artists realised they could just say fuck off to the publishers and go independent. Kickstarter could be the gaming equivalent of that, but we’re still waiting to see the final products.

    But my fucking god is it ever happening to console gaming. Half the problem is that the prices are two damn high. Most consoles in the last generation were in the mid 100 range at this point in their run. More than that, I would love to see what would happen to the sales of games if the price of games were suddenly slashed by two thirds.

    My god, people might actually be willing to try out new things if they did, as proven by… well… every Steam sale ever.

    #21 2 years ago
  22. absolutezero

    Gaming crash Gaming crash. Can’t wait.

    #22 2 years ago
  23. DSB

    @21 I really have no idea. I just look at the most obvious sources and make my own assumptions based on that.

    But in my opinion there’s no reason to assume the sky is falling if it isn’t.

    THQ are the only ones who are really in trouble. Ubisoft have seemingly bottomed out and are stable, Activision are doing reasonably well. Take Two are dopping along with EA, but they still aren’t in a bad place compared to where they’ve been in the last 5 years. Sony are dropping, but I think the PS3 could well be one of their best businesses at the moment. I think it’s their other hardware causing those losses.

    That’s just the market. They go down for a while, and sometimes they go up for a while. I would expect it to bounce back within a year, and probably doing well by the time we see new consoles.

    But I also feel like the industry could use a reboot. It seems to me like most of the CEOs are taking their sales for granted. If you don’t care about your own products, then you can’t expect anyone else to do the same.

    #23 2 years ago
  24. BootLace

    Riccitiello has seen EA through some of it’s more gamer friendly times. Unfortunately, these haven’t been among it’s most profitable times (allegedly!).

    If I was to place a bet on random outcomings, I’d say $10 on MS buying out ActiBlizzard, and Riccitiello being taken on to head it.

    Please, feel free to ignore this comment if it never happens :)

    #24 2 years ago
  25. fearmonkey

    I miss peter Moore at MS, say what you want but the man had more personality than anyone at MS now. The guys that pop up on stage now are suits and not fun to watch at all. They just don’t have anyone like Jack Tretton who feels at ease on stage (except when he had to apologize and deal with bad press). Things might change with Phil Harrison, but that is going to be surreal………

    Peter moore as a CEO though, I have no idea how well he would do. I liked EA better under John for the most part, before John they were the most evil company but that mantle has been passed to Activision.

    I just thought of MS buying Activision, and Kotick becoming a high exec at MS, and maybe even rising through the ranks……shudder…….

    #25 2 years ago
  26. DSB

    I’d refer to that Jim Sterling video.

    If anything EA under Ricitiello have been playing Activisions game every step of the way.

    When Activision makes a blockbuster shooter, EA wants one too. When Activision has a blockbuster MMO, EA wants one too (or three!). When Activision monetizes those blockbusters, EA wants to monetize theirs.

    I haven’t seen Activision actively trying to get into the social space, or buying up Popcap-alikes to try and match EA every step of the way.

    It was just an extremely shortsighted strategy, and it obviously hasn’t done them very many favors.

    Their studios are great, but EA hasn’t gotten any kinder over the years. From franchise pounding to studio burning** to online passes, to Origin bullying, to stockmarket bullying with the failed hostile takeover of Take Two, I don’t see Ricitiello as nice in any sense of the word. Quite the opposite.

    **(even burning a studio that Ricitiello himself helped sell to EA before he was made CEO)

    His main ambition was always to beat Bobby Kotick at his very own game.

    #26 2 years ago
  27. YoungZer0

    @17: I’ve never been a fan of his reviews, but jimquisition is a solid show.

    #27 2 years ago
  28. VancouverBlade

    Somethings don’t sit well with JR’s time at EA. One of the first things he did was buy Pandemic and Bioware from an investment company… that he was a major partner in. While the purchase of Bioware was great the Pandemic addition must have been a ‘buy one, get one free’ deal as they were very quick to close the company after Saboteur and Merc didn’t do huge numbers.

    Playfish wasn’t a bad deal at $400m but Popcap at $750 is looking very questionable indeed. It seems to be a spoiler tactic against Zynga.

    SWTOR cost a staggering amount to make and I very much doubt it isn’t close to making it back yet. I can only imagine the cost of the marketing on top of that. How many top quality renders did we see? Each one will likely have cost $3-5m to develop.

    I really hope EA do well; I’ve got a lot of good friends who work there. Contrary to popular belief, there are a lot of good people there; most just don’t get the chance to make the decisions.

    JR likes to talk about a ‘Burning Platform’. He did in it in 2007 and they’re doing it all over again. The company needs a change to halt the malaise on the markets; maybe letting JR walkaway with a vast severance package is the best option right now?

    #28 2 years ago
  29. battery

    I think this is not a good choice for EA.

    #29 2 years ago
  30. GrimRita

    Considering that Riccitiello is 5 years into his 3 year plan kind of tells the story. After the failure that was SWTOR, BF3 not coming even close to COD in terms of sales, buying up so many studios, the one thing investors care about – share price, has dropped like a stone.

    Lets not forget how EA treat their staff in most cases. So many people have lost their jobs over the years under Riccitiello yet they havent made a profit in years.

    If they spent less cash brown nosing the ‘talent’ pool and channelled this into their games, maybe their fortunes will turn around.

    I think now, is a good time to buy me some EA stock when it hits the $10 mark.

    #30 2 years ago
  31. Hunam

    Star Wars is a valid point, but BF3 exceeded all expectations. 12+ million is beyond what they wanted to do with BF3, as I imagine they want to make Battlefield the go-to shooter brand of the next generation.

    I just remember under Peter Moore the Xbox was at it’s utter best. Without him we’d have no Halo and hell, possibly no Mass Effect. EA Sports has flourished under him and I think he might bring something good to the table with EA because whilst EA was brilliant when riccetello first took over (Dead Space, Bad Company, Mirror’s Edge, Dragon Age) it’s just going back to milking and mostly, rushing games out the door.

    #31 2 years ago
  32. TheBlackHole

    @30

    There is so much bullshit in that post I don’t even know where to start.

    #32 2 years ago
  33. AHA-Lambda

    Hope this ends up being true, then again will Moore be any better? =/

    #33 2 years ago
  34. GrimRita

    @30 not really. Its all based on facts. I havent played BF3 (Origin reasons) but theres no doubt its better than COD. But lets face it, EA want to be top of their game and they arent.

    Will Peter Moore be better? Who knows, but he churns out alot of BS as well. So a match made in heaven

    #34 2 years ago
  35. DSB

    @33 That’s a million dollar question.

    He could stay the course, or he could make his own path. I’m guessing he’d do the latter.

    All I know is that he screwed the Crack Baby Athletics Association like he screwed the players of the NCAA.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/17/us-electronicarts-likeness-lawsuit-idUSBRE84G1HQ20120517

    #35 2 years ago