On Monday, Electronic Arts announced its current CEO John Riccitiello is going to relinquish his title on March 30. Riccitiello is also leaving his position on EA’s Board of Directors. Electronic Arts is currently looking for a new CEO. When it does find someone, we shouldn’t expect its business practices to change. The company Electronic Arts has become goes much deeper than John Riccitiello.
Electronic Arts won’t specifically comment on why Riccitiello is leaving, but it likely has to do with lower than expected finances. It expects its next earnings report to be lower than it estimated in January. Since Electronic Arts is a publicly traded company, its shareholders expect one thing out of a CEO – to make a lot of money. If too much time has gone by without a lot of profit, the current CEO gets booted and another takes his place. Likewise, if Electronic Arts was seeing record profits and sales like Activision, Riccitiello wouldn’t be going anywhere if he didn’t want to. No matter who the company appoints to be its leader, its intention to implement microtransactions in most games and discourage used games with online passes will remain.
EA’s main purpose is to make money. If something ticks you off, but pleases shareholders, EA is going to side with shareholders. And why wouldn’t it? Even though EA royally screwed up the release of SimCity, it still managed to sell over 1 million copies in two weeks. Even though The Simpsons: Tapped Out suffered from tons of bugs and charges way too much for premium currency, it still managed to make over $23 million in a single quarter. We’re complaining about things we don’t like, but we keep taking the bait. As long as the consumer doesn’t change their buying habits, EA has no reason to revert its policies.
I’m afraid that not even the beloved Peter Moore is going to change the knowledgeable gamer’s impression of EA. Sure he seems like a cool guy, but Riccitiello didn’t come off as unlikable from a personal standpoint. Moore will be beholden to shareholders just like Riccitiello. In the end, they’re the ones that can influence a leadership change.
Cheer the end of Riccitiello’s reign if you will. Just know he’s just one head on the Hydra.