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GameGeex - John Riccitiello steps down as head of EA Long time CEO of Electronic Arts, John Riccitiello, has decided to step down. What does that mean to you guys?

It would appear that the failed launch behind the highly controversial simulation title,SimCity, hammers the final nail in the coffin. Long time CEO of Electronic Arts, John Riccitiello has officially announced that he will step down as head of the company. In his absence, former CEO Larry Probst will head the giant publisher to make the transition smoother. No word on who will replace Riccitiello has been made.

His reasons for stepping down attribute fully to EA's financial decline since his:

 

To Everyone at EA –

I am writing with some tough news. I have resigned my position as EA's CEO. I will be around for a couple of weeks, and I hope to have the chance to say goodbye to many of you. Larry Probst will be stepping in as Executive Chairman to help smooth the transition. Larry first hired me at EA in 1997 and he was an incredible leader for the company during the 16 years he served as CEO. While he will continue to be the Chairman of the US Olympic Committee, he will also provide leadership for EA until a permanent CEO is appointed.

My decision to leave EA is really all about my accountability for the shortcomings in our financial results this year. It currently looks like we will come in at the low end of, or slightly below, the financial guidance we issued to the Street, and we have fallen short of the internal operating plan we set one year ago. And for that, I am 100 percent accountable.

Personally, I think we've never been in a better position as a company. You have made enormous progress in improving product quality. You are now generating more revenue on fewer titles by making EA's games better and bigger. You've navigated a rapidly transforming industry to create a digital business that is now approximately $1.5 billion and growing fast. The big investments you've made in creating EA's own platform are now showing solid returns. I believe EA is alone in mastering the challenges of building a platform for our games and services – a platform that will provide a more direct relationship with our consumers. You are number one in the fastest growing segment, mobile, with incredible games like The Simpsons: Tapped Out, Real Racing 3, Bejeweled, SCRABBLE and Plants v. Zombies. You have worked to put EA in a position to capture industry leadership on the next generation of consoles; and I believe two of our titles – Battlefield and FIFA – will be among the top few franchises in the entire industry. And the industry's most talented management team – Frank, Rajat, Peter, Gaby, Andrew, Patrick, Blake, Joel and Jeff — are certain to lead the company to a successful future.

I remain an incredible fan of EA and everyone who works in our world – from Stockholm to Seoul, Orlando to Edmonton, Guildford, Geneva, Cologne, Lyon, Bucharest, Montreal, Austin, Salt Lake, LA and, of course, EARS. My hope is that my travels and yours allow us the opportunity to talk more in the months and years to come.

In a few weeks, I will be leaving EA physically. But I will never leave emotionally. I am so incredibly proud of all the great things you have done, and it has been my honor to lead this team these past six years. After March, I will be cheering wildly for EA from the sidelines.

John

While many cheer this news on, I feel that's a terrible thing to do. I think it's a shame. To me, Riccitiello will always be known as the executive who actually played video games and because of him, EA set the bar on a lot of fronts. They tried out new IPs like Mirror's Edge and Dead Space, and lead the market with some highly-acclaimed games like Mass Effect and Battlefield. Don't get me wrong, i'm sure he's the guy who really does directly correlate to EA's financial decline but there's definitely some good to come out of it.

Perhaps it's all bad timing. EA has shown a sharp decline since 2007. In the last few years, we've seen the recession hit, the slow end of a generation of consoles, and a shift in market which opened-up a wider range of gamer audiences such as the mobile market. EA's a big company but honestly, they're not that big and I think they just tried to do way too much. They've entered almost every market and invested a lot in The Old Republic. If they specialized in something, I don't think Riccitiello would have to resign right now nor would I think they'd be in decline. But with all seriousness, what does EA fully "specialize" in? As far as I know, the only EA I ever knew existed was Riccitiello's risk taking machine. I remember walking into Gamestop and seeing "EA" on every poster in the store. So that's a dilemma for them to decide upon reaching their final verdict on who should head the company.

So what do you guys think of the EA since Riccitiello's reign as CEO? That started way back in 1997. What do you guys hope for in the new Chief of Electronic Arts? I for one, hope they still take more risks. You'll never know how good the game is unless you actually throw it out there.

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I've respected Riccitiello since he stepped in to shake things up at EA.  Heck, we both started the same year, so I feel a special kinship with him.  I appreciate his courage, since he took responsibility for what the design team (and possibly the EA middle management) did to Sim City.  I think this is a bad move for EA, but it's not a surprising one.  Expect to see a bidding war start for buying up this decaying behemoth.  I know rumors were in that Nexon was going to snatch it up -- and now is a great time that the head has been cut from the snake.


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