“It’s… amazing that the board continues to support the existing management team through this debacle,” said Lasky.
“Since JR took over, the company has destroyed over $11 billion in market value. Certainly, some of that was the economy and the general erosion of value on NASDAQ, but Activision… has experienced far milder effects from the recession.”
Lasky, who served under both previous CEO Larry Probst and Riccitiello when he returned to the company three years ago, claimed that he planned to move EA more swiftly towards a digital mode when JR came back, but was derided by colleagues at the time.
“They literally couldn’t imagine going to Wall Street with a message of increased profitability rather than top-line revenue growth,” he added.
“They wanted to make the transition to digital while continuing to grow the packaged goods business. Ironically, they saw their looming innovator’s dilemma as clearly as any company in the video game business back in 2006. They just weren’t bold enough to act on that knowledge.”
There’s more! EA’s business model? It’s three legs minus two to the bad, apparently.
“The old EA model was a basically a three-legged stool: 1) a profitable, recurring sports business (Madden, FIFA); 2) franchise games that produced big hits on a less frequent basis (The Sims, Need for Speed, Command & Conquer); and 3) a collection of digital assets (e.g.: Pogo & JAMDAT, and now Playfish) and distribution/partnership titles (e.g.: Rock Band & Left 4 Dead). Of those, the only stool leg left intact is the third one. Without the digital assets and the EA Distribution titles, they’d be in even more serious hot water.”
It’s a must-read. And it’s pretty grim. Do it.