So the web is aflutter with news that John Riccitiello, the CEO of EA, has left the company after 6 years in the big chair. Since that time, EA’s stock started at 52$, rose to a high of 62$ in 2007, took a massive nosedive at the end of 2008 to 17$(due in large part to the economy), and has fluctuated since then between 17-20$.
EA and I have had a falling out. That isn’t to say that I don’t respect and appreciate what they’ve done in the past. They were the first company where I could be sure all their games were quality (back in the 90s). EA has had ups and downs over the years. They are responsible for Rock Band, Crysis, Mass Effect and Dragon Age. They’ve produced innovative games from time to time (Mirror’s Edge) and bled franchises dry (the Sims). They’ve treated their employees poorly and yet stood up for equal rights in the political sphere. They’ve implemented some of the worst DRM on the planet (Ubisoft comes first) which has led to some of the most prolific pirating ever seen (Spore is the #1 pirated game apparently). Dante’s Inferno marketing had fake protesters and one of the most insane ploys ever created (remember the naughty pictures they wanted?).
While this certainly isn’t the end of EA, make no mistake, this is a massive change in management. Like the doctors before him, John was shown the door after a very disappointing release. I have no worries that he’ll find somewhere else to work and at the same time, I’m really hoping the next CEO of EA manages to remember that in order to make a profit for shareholders, you need to make games people actually can and want to play.