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EA and the future: Moore set to replace Riccitiello

Tuesday, 19th March 2013 10:08 GMT By Patrick Garratt

EA confirmed last night that John Riccitiello is to step down as CEO at the end of the month, and Ex-Sega and Microsoft boss Peter Moore is the front-runner to replace him.

John Riccitiello is being unfairly treated by some this morning. EA’s CEO said yesterday he was to leave the company after a second term which began in 2007, and if you listen to “the internet” you’d swear he’d spent the last six years roasting babies and drinking virgin blood. The ex-Pepsi man certainly can be credited with some spectacular fumbles, but considering video gaming’s enduring one of the most tumultuous periods in its history, Riccitiello has done a good job. Electronic Arts still exists, yes?

Let’s have a look at some numbers. Using share prices as a measure of success over the last decade is about as useful as gauging temperature with an egg, so we won’t do that. As you may have noticed, the world’s investment business experienced something of a crisis a few years ago. A company’s share price going down since 2007 is a little like saying there’ll be a new FIFA game for Christmas. It’s been a rough time.

And yet JR’s coped. Here’s revenue since he assumed control of EA again in 2007. In general, it’s going the right way.

And here’s profit. As you can see, there hasn’t been a great deal of it. This is why the share price is in the toilet.

But you can also see from that second graph why it’s the right time for Riccitiello to move out. It’s been a difficult tenure for the executive, one battered by thousands of lay-offs and a violently mutating market, but he’s brought EA back from the brink with – and here it is – strong leadership. He did what he had to do in terms of staff counts and he’s been aggressive in transitioning towards digital. The Old Republic was a disaster, but that’s life. EA’s margins are rising. Well done that man.

So. Who’s next? Unless there’s been some kind of problem with the general cosmic plan, it’s going to be Peter Moore. He’s obviously been groomed for the role, and he has a close relationship to Riccitiello. Moore left Microsoft in July, 2007, less than three months after JR rejoined as CEO. In August 2011, Moore was promoted to chief operating officer of EA, almost certainly as a preparation for Riccitiello leaving the building.

There’s been a lot of forum chatter in the last 24 hours about Frank Gibeau stepping up to CEO, but this is unlikely. Gibeau was promoted to head of EA Labels in the same shuffle which lofted Moore to COO, and while he’s a solid exec he has little of Moore’s experience. Don’t forget Moore was COO of Sega of America in the Dreamcast years (and was in charge during the console’s fabled demise), and was an Xbox 360 launch boss at Microsoft. Moore took the brunt of the RROD disaster just before he left for EA in 2007. He’s been around. He’s heavyweight.

Not only that, but Moore has shown tenacity at EA in managing sports for the publisher, a portfolio which includes FIFA, the largest of EA’s gems. The sports segment is a tough one, but it’s vital training for the EA gods. Annualisation, furious competition, cross-platform SKUs and bizarre console tech: sports has it all. Moore’s kept EA’s trophy cabinet nice and sparkly.

All of which means he’s ready. Riccitiello will exit EA at the end of this month, and leaves behind him a leaner, modernised organisation looking forward to next-gen launches and a new cycle. It could have been very different. JR’s departure is being managed as solidly as the silver-haired fox balanced EA’s books. Don’t be shocked if Moore’s announced as his replacement in the next few weeks.

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43 Comments

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  1. YoungZer0

    So Johnny was right.

    #1 1 year ago
  2. Andrew C.

    Should we give a f*ck about EA and their entire division? NO! OK, moving along!

    #2 1 year ago
  3. Patrick Garratt

    I could be wrong, clearly, but it looks pretty obvious to me.

    #3 1 year ago
  4. YoungZer0

    I was hoping for Bilson. :/

    #4 1 year ago
  5. Samoan Spider

    I wouldn’t be surprised by this at all so I will wait for the official nod, but #2, this really is quite important. Just think how vocal people are about EA. No matter whether you, love, like, dislike or hate them, they really are a massive part of gaming today and a change of leadership could signal an untold number of changes for the company. Lets wait and see what happens.

    #5 1 year ago
  6. DrDamn

    Hmmm … does this also link to the rumours of a MS/EA deal of some sort?

    #6 1 year ago
  7. xxJPRACERxx

    Why they didn’t chose me? I’m ready for the job and the salary!

    #7 1 year ago
  8. Johnny Cullen

    YoungZer0 – It’s not a case of it being right, it’s a case of stating the obvious. Because Moore getting the CEO post is now as forgone as the sun rising in the morning. I’ll only be right if he actually does get a tattoo on his arse that confirms it. And it says “I’m CEO, bitch” akin to The Social Network. :D

    And as for Bilson, I’d love nothing more to see it happen personally, but it won’t happen. If anything, as I said in the comments last night (and on Facebook), a Labels reshuffle could happen if Gibeau gets Moore’s current role while Patrick Soderlund takes over Gibeau’s role and then Bilson can come in and take over EA Games from Soderlund whilst Andrew Wilson still heads the charge at EA Sports. Again, that’s a long-shot prediction. And one I don’t think will happen. Or at least, I don’t think the Bilson part will anyways,

    #8 1 year ago
  9. G1GAHURTZ

    They should promote David Rutter!

    #9 1 year ago
  10. Dave Cook

    Kevin Butler.

    #10 1 year ago
  11. Dave Cook

    @2 Also, yes. Love or loathe EA they are a huge entity that makes big decisions that shape the industry.

    #11 1 year ago
  12. zinc

    I’m still convinced if Peter gets it, he’ll use his posistion to give Sony a black-eye. It’s shaping up like a revenge movie!

    “They took away his Dreamcast, he took away their FIFA*!”

    *or Madden, or Battlfield etc.

    #12 1 year ago
  13. OmegaSlayer

    @2
    just imagine if EA suddenly decides to go all digital and skip consoles…would it matter?
    Hell yeah.
    Let me guess Andrew C…do you own a WiiU?

    @12
    This is business man.
    If you do business hoping to deal a revenge, you’ll be out of business soon.

    #13 1 year ago
  14. ps3fanboy

    DIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIE!!!!!!111

    #14 1 year ago
  15. Gheritt White

    Great article; terrible community.

    #15 1 year ago
  16. Samoan Spider

    @15 I find myself agreeing with you an awful lot.

    #16 1 year ago
  17. Froseidon

    @12 – Revenge? He seems pretty well removed from MS, not being with them for the past 6ish years.

    @15 – Yup, there seems to be a lot of hate for a company that could possibly change a fair bit.

    I have wondered which way Moore might lean to company wise. I’ve seen a lot of companies start giving certain consoles exclusives (I.E – an hours worth of gameplay for AC games only on PS3). Tbh, I think he may lean towards Microsoft. I mean, I’m pretty sure there was some talk of an exclusivity deal, or did I dream that?

    However, Sony’s renewed focus on games. Aw man, I just want to know what it means for Bioware games.

    #17 1 year ago
  18. SplatteredHouse

    EA are already a lost cause, and based on Moore’s comments in the past, I do not consider EA under his watch to be likely to change tack.

    #18 1 year ago
  19. OlderGamer

    TBH I think the bulk of the industry is shit. Too many suits. Too much money being won and lost. Too much focus on things that are good short term but not long term(like oversaturations of and use of franchises, lack of new IP, abusive DLC, preorder bonuses, timed exclusives, platform exclusive content dlc, season passes, online passes, etc etc etc). These things might get you a burst of money for your pub, but in the long term, I feel that do damage to the industry.

    Very few people care about that because…they are just suits. Investers. Gameless, souless money makers that don’t care about you or the products you truely want. People that follow trends and fads. People that chase pennies, hoping and expecting to find them leading to pot of gold. People that see milking a franchise as normal. People that see microtransactions and alternitive revenue streams as good things.

    Suits. Buiseness people.

    Long time readers know I have said that Nintendo is one of the only game companies left. Some laughed. Some scorned. I stand by that statement.

    We play because of the games themself. The games we have come to know and love. They are captivating. Fun. Entertaining. They didn’t beat the hell out of buyers/gamers by squeezing every damn nickle and dime out of that experience as possible.

    Many, if not most, people in charge of where the industry heads only care about the money in it. The actual product is irelevent, so long as it sells. Polish it, market it, and wait for it to make Mo Money.

    So few people, it seems, still have a love and passion for the actual craft of making great games. The industry has grown up. Now it is all about the suits. Shame really.

    I know I am getting older, and a, becoming more and more jaded. Wait for it, you will get here too. I feel like Walter, the Dummy from that comedian. But I can’t help it.

    As for Moore? I used to like him. Now I think he is just another tool for the suits.

    #19 1 year ago
  20. OwnedWhenStoned

    @19

    Pretty much spot on. The quest for ever greater profit has ruined more than one branch of the entertainment industry, now it’s ruining games.

    #20 1 year ago
  21. Dragon246

    EA is a company. EA makes games for profit. EA wants profits.
    Surprising isn’t it? While I do disagree with some of their policies, I choose the best way to respond, not paying for them. Unfortunately, internet is full of whiny babies who thinks game development is charity.

    They are at least forward thinking and ready to change to change with times, unlike to poor game companies which are dawning in the internet era.

    Hopefully EA finds ways to take cash out of consumers without them feeling cheated. Present management is very bad at that. EA PR is the worst in the industry.

    This upcoming new gen provides them good opportunity to develop fresh good new ips. That may help their image a lot.

    #21 1 year ago
  22. SplatteredHouse

    Publishers don’t just publish. That’s half of what’s wrong.

    #22 1 year ago
  23. OlderGamer

    “Unfortunately, internet is full of whiny babies who thinks game development is charity.”

    Or maybe the internet is also full of long time gamers that have gotten to a point where they feel taken for granted, mistreated and often down right abused. Ofc, everyone wants to make money. And they should be able to. But so many different things are near broken right now.

    The first two rules for moving a product is to make a quality product that people want. And then sell it for a price that people are willing to pay. Really it is all about value.

    Let me give you an example:

    I got Madden 13 from my wife this year for Xmass. I have pruchased more then my fair share of EA sports games over the years. In recent years those purchases where on XB360. Where the game plus day one DLC totlated between 90usd and 100usd. Normal and accepted.

    This year my wife bought the game on WiiU. The game cost her 50usd, new, in the store. There was NO DLC to buy. None. I got the whole game included in her pruchase price. It really slammed home how poorly mass loads of consumers have been raked through the coals.

    When EA was actualy competing with 2K Sports for the NFL game market. The 2K games launched at 20usd, with a better product. The EA games were priced at 50usd. What did EA do? They bought out the offical NFL liscence. Instead of making a better game for a lower price they pulled the rug out from under their competetion. Good for the industry? Good for gamers? No. But a solid Bizz move for EA.

    Those are but two small examples. I don’t want to hear poor EA, they are just trying to get by and make a profit so that they can in turn keep providing us with great entertainment. That is crap. Like so many other industry leaders, they are milking you for every cent they can.

    Sad if people don’t understand that.

    #23 1 year ago
  24. OwnedWhenStoned

    It’s not about making money. It’s about doing nothing BUT making money.

    #24 1 year ago
  25. LordSkyline

    Plot Twist, the Bioware Doctors are coming back and taking a Duo-CEO position.

    In all seriousness, we got to wait and see. Who is going to get the postition? Will things change? For the better? For the worse? we don’t know yet. And (borderline)flamming in the comments of a gaming news site will not make ANYTHING better.

    #25 1 year ago
  26. zinc

    @OG, Completely agree old boy. Everytime a new game is released with a season pass, day 1 dlc & the promise of more to come, I feel a uncomfortable yanking on my udders :(

    #26 1 year ago
  27. DSB

    I don’t know about Moore. I don’t think it takes cosmic influence to pass him over.

    Ricitiello was the obvious choice at one point himself, and he got passed over as well.

    It may seem logical to pick a guy who knows the company, but the problem is that he’s a lot more likely to give you more of the same. If you pick a guy from outside he’ll be able to truly add something, and that would certainly be my hope for EA.

    Ricitiello wasn’t good for the company. His obsession with Activision was money out the window.

    Time will tell. I think it’s a much bigger threat to EA to stay the course than it would be to change things up.

    #27 1 year ago
  28. DrDamn

    @OG
    Not played a Madden for years. So are you saying the WiiU version at $50 has all of the content that made up the PS3/360 version at $90?

    #28 1 year ago
  29. sk4r

    I am pretty sure the next CEO is going to be powered by Frostbyte™.

    #29 1 year ago
  30. Johnny Cullen

    @25 Heh. I’d actually chuckle a bit should that ever happen (it obviously won’t because Greg’s too invested in his beer thing now. If any one of them goes for it, it’ll be Ray, but even I think he’s done with games).

    @DSB I disagree. Riccitiello was the right man for the role. Did he do mistakes? Yeah. Who hasn’t. One of which was SWTOR, one of the biggest in the company’s history arguably. But in my own opinion, I reckon Riccitiello was the right man suited for the role for as long as he was in it.

    Frankly? I can’t help but think Ricciitello’s departure could be a bad thing.

    #30 1 year ago
  31. DSB

    @30 How do you figure though? I can’t really put my finger on something he did that really helped the company.

    #31 1 year ago
  32. Francis O

    If EA wants to earn the trust of consumers again, they need to stop with this DRM nonsense, support ALL systems, including the Wii U, and stop trying to nickel and dime every freaking gamer out there.

    #32 1 year ago
  33. DarkElfa

    Until Bobby Kotick gets fired and that smug ass smile gets wiped off his face, I will not be satisfied.

    #33 1 year ago
  34. TheBlackHole

    You guys preach about creating New IP for long term sustainability, and then criticise companies for making money from established franchises…

    The two things are not mutually exclusive.

    #34 1 year ago
  35. Cobra951

    @19: Great post, OG. Shame that the younger crowd doesn’t seem to get it.

    #35 1 year ago
  36. Dragon246

    About Madden, 2 replies-
    1.I don’t believe you. Give proof. WiiU versions sell so pathetic that no one makes dlc for it. Same with MW WiiU. Also the game retailed at 60$, like other versions. It probably sold notthing so you got it for cheap.
    2.If what you are stating the truth, then it shows people believe that’s worth 90$. Seller sells it, buyer buys it, nothing for your concern.
    When I have a problem, I vote with my wallet and don’t buy it, or buy later. No need to have death wish upon the company like many internet haters do. If enough people are pissed, they will change their strategy.
    Most people don’t have a problem with it, and majority rules.
    PS- I haven’t bought an EA game in more than 2 years. And I got ME3 for free on plus.

    Btw, games in 90s cost more than now. If you don’t want to pay 60 bucks now, there are so many choices, for 99 cents to 60 bucks.

    @32,
    “support ALL systems, including the Wii U”
    So you will pay for the port? Its a biz. And wiiu is not profitable.

    #36 1 year ago
  37. monkeygourmet

    @37

    The ‘If enough people are pissed’ idea just doesn’t hold any water.

    The problem is, a lot of people don’t know what gaming or media purchases USED to be like. Especially from a digital perspective.

    Some things you can argue have got better, cheaper music etc… Because of MP3′s, but gaming is an area that is getting truely raped.

    The people who only buy COD and FIFA every year deserve to get nickle and dimed for DLC if they are stupid enough (addicted) to purchase it.

    Also, I would bet from the age range of people playing these games, a lot of parents are forking out for DLC on these particular titles.

    The fact is, suits come in, see the huge profits and it bleeds over into other area’s and fucks everything up.

    Games like Dead Space 3 end up being made and it’s not as simple as if you don’t like it don’t buy it.

    The new generation of gamers are so used to this DLC bullshit, they don’t even notice when they are getting shafted.

    This is why it’s more complicated than just voting with your wallet.

    #37 1 year ago
  38. OlderGamer

    Yes that is essentialy what I am saying. On Madden.

    Look, you guys gotta accept that not all DLC is content that couldn’t fit on the disc, didn’t make the gold date or was made after retail. The fact is that what used to be included in many games, is now held back to be sold as DLC. I recall reading a reaction to a GI.biz story from a dev saying exactly that, and how it changes the way you have to conceptuialy change the build process. That forum response btw was from a EA article.

    Dragon I could explain something to you as planly as I can, but it often seems that if the explaination doesn’t fit your narrow ideoligy you pass it over. Not a dig as much as an observation.

    Let me give you one NCAA Football(an EA game) example. Recruiting. Instead of giving all users a fair shot at landing high blue chip recruits, you need to buy a DLC/code that unlocks that ability and increases your chances. That used to be in the game, now they hammer your chances in order to convince you to purchase the “upgrade”.

    There is ZERO DLC in WiiU Madden. All of the handicaped crap that you could “Upgrade” is gone. But once again Dragon you would rather attack WiiU and the gamers that enjoy one. Then accept that. But the fact is that for less money you get a complete game. I have been playing an online league with my Brother inlaw and some friends for awhile now.

    If EA could make a complete Madden game in 05, they can make one now. There is ZERO reason to sell DLC for such a game. You know what makes great DLC for a madden game? Updated rosters for older games. For 20usd you get a tweaked engine, new fature, updated rosters, instead of 60usd plus, ofc, day one dlc for the full experience.

    The only way you get DLC for most games is to hold something back from retail. Period. I said most, there are exceptions. I love the way DLC was handled for Rockband, for example. Putting out expansions makes a lot of sense too for games that make sense, like Skyrim. But limiting a an ingame roster to less chars so you can sell extras later as dlc is lame. Look at Marvel vs Capcom2, 56 chars on Dreamcast. Compare it to the way MVC3 was handled, less chars on dics, however you buy the DLC.

    The examples are just about endless. We are getting screwed and some of us don’t even know it.

    #38 1 year ago
  39. Dragon246

    To add to my previous comment, I completely agree with CliffyB.

    #39 1 year ago
  40. DSB

    @38 I think it’s indicative of a pretty wrong culture that executives really do get so much attention when it comes to games.

    Instead of talking to and about creatives, we’re talking about executives. It’s an entertainment business that doesn’t know it’s an entertainment business. Instead of being fronted by creative visionaries, it’s fronted by business managers, and I think that explains a lot in terms of the waning interest in gaming, and its problems in making the same impact as movies or music.

    The games industry gets run like a software business, when it really should be about entertainment. Guys like Jason Rubin have been banging that drum for the better part of a decade now, but it seems like these executives are too drunk on their own mediocrity to realize.

    #40 1 year ago
  41. viralshag

    Wow, this whole “people who only buy X game is the cause of X problem” is really annoying.

    It seems like such an unquantified and unjustified statement that proves absolutely nothing and yet so many people say it as if it does…

    #41 1 year ago
  42. monkeygourmet

    @42

    Well, I think it kind of is;

    There is nothing wrong with people only playing COD or FIFA for example. However, I wouldn’t really class that person as a gamer.

    They are a casual gamer at best but unfortunatly suits seem to be using these demographics as ‘success’ stories and transferring features like DLC, Pay to Win and Season Passes to games that simply don’t need them.

    Its such a narrow minded view of gamers as a whole and IMO it’s absolutely killing the industry.

    Younger gamers might not notice the paradigm shift as they started getting into games when all this shit was already happening, but I certainly notice the amount of shit and advertising they are now cramming down our throats.

    If companies want to try and change opinions on some of these scrupulous ventures, it should be through persuasion rather than forceful actions.

    Example, I’m happy using an always on Internet connection to play Dark Souls / Demon Souls, but a game purely using it for DRM, no thanks! :)

    #42 1 year ago
  43. Kabby

    Rofl Peter Moore. This is getting funny.

    #43 1 year ago