But by far the greatest failure of Riccitiello’s strategy has been the EA Games division. JR bet his tenure on EA’s ability to “grow their way through the transition” to digital/online with hit packaged goods titles. They honestly believed that they had a decade to make this transition (I think it’s more like 2-3 years). Since the recurring-revenue sports titles were already “booked” (i.e., fully accounted for in the Wall Street estimates) it fell to EA Games to make hits that could move the needle. It’s been a very ugly scene, indeed. From Spore, to Dead Space, to Mirror’s Edge, to Need for Speed: Undercover, it’s been one expensive commercial disappointment for EA Games after another. Not to mention the shut-down of Pandemic, half of the justification for EA’s $850MM acquisition of Bioware-Pandemic. And don’t think that Dante’s Inferno, or Knights of the Old Republic, is going to make it all better. It’s a bankrupt strategy.
Things aren’t looking too good for the current EA CEO. Ever since he came on to EA back in April of 2007, they have been losing more and more money. Sooner or later it’s my belief that he’ll be replaced. Quite frankly, I’ll be pleased when he does as I hold him responsible for Spore’s true failure with the whole DRM fiasco. You can read more of the rant from former EA employee Mitch Lasky at his personal blog.