EA is probably THE most hated company right about now and has been so ever since the tenure of John Riccitiello. His tenure will end March 30th 2013. With EA being voted the Consumerist’s “Worst Company of 2012″ award and also being noted a creativity killer, centralized around acquiring and closing fairly popular franchises with their games, Riccitiello was also responsible for introducing Origin, which led to much grief and frustration of new age gamers.
The EA Platform, Origin was introduced in his tenure; a clear competition to Steam, receiving the ire of fans which took the time adapting to Valve’s Steam back in their day. Clearly, they weren’t happy with another online DRM platform, whatever the name companies decide to give them. While competition is good, EA’s approach definitely had some backlash. This may not have reflected on the sales chart, however, it clearly affected consumer views on the company, which were already upset with their recent deployment of games, notably Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age 2, which received huge amounts of criticism in comparison to each their predecessors. Star Wars: The Old Republic which started off pretty well, is now a Free-to-play MMO. Battlefield 3 has quite a successful launch, selling over 15 million copies.
Riccitiello’s reign also introduced micro transactions and in-game stores into their games, again to gamer’s dismay. While it may seem appropriate to some, particularly EA when it comes to profitability, gamer’s have always had a problem with the idea, particularly when they pay ‘full’ price for what they think or know as a ‘full’ or complete game.
With more recent issues such as the Mass Effect 3 fiasco including its plot holes, day-one DLCs and the slew of problems that surrounded the much anticipated Sim City Launch, it’s pretty obvious that customers aren’t happy and aren’t afraid to speak out about it. Search up SimCity in Google and the next in line after the official website is a host of reviews stating how the horrid the state of the game is. As gamers delve deeper into the game, the more issues they find. It’s also fairly certain that some form of micro transactions will be introduced into the game, assuming their ‘vision’ (and you should read that article by Erik Kain from Forbes) is the same once John Riccitiello steps down end of March.
It’s rocky. At least for the future of EA and their titles. This comes at a time where the next generation of consoles are coming; an entirely new and unexplored opportunity. While I do not foresee an issue of EA making that transition, you may see EA being more conservative after Riccitiello’s tenure, with less acquisitions and even less creativity.
We’re yet to figure out how much of a hand did EA have in the development of their games, but John Riccitiello may not be the only one to blame. Corporate entities have a board of directors, which usually shares a vision of what they want the company to become. While EA is on a manhunt for the next CEO, Riccitiello’s duties will be handled by Larry Probst CEO of Electronic Arts from 1991 to Riccitiello’s appointment in 2007.
Will EA be next in line to go bust? Probably not, despite gamer’s everywhere hoping and praying for that to happen.
Image Source: Industry Gamers