GAMING BLEND

Pachter: EA's CEO John Riccitiello Fears For His Job Due To Stock Failure

By William Usher 2012-07-10 19:32:59 discussion comments
Michael Pachter, Wedbush Morgan Securities analyst, has let loose a tidbit of information that should make some gamers smile at least a little bit: Pachter claims that EA's current CEO, John Riccitiello, confided in him that he fears for his job due to EA's piss poor stock. Good riddance.

According to Develop, the Pach-Man stated that...
"I had lunch with John Riccitiello last week. He was asking me why no one wants to buy his stock," ... "He doesn’t understand what’s going wrong."..."we’re in fifth year of the three-year turnaround".

Regarding that last tidbit, Pachter is referring to the reason EA's stock isn't lifting off. The elongated console cycle has created a rift where Pachter believes big publishers are stuck in a rut and suffering from sequalitis. I call that bull crap.

According to Pachter, Riccitiello honestly doesn't know why EA's stock price is dipping and his response to Pachter was that..."Yeah, but, in 2008, when we said it’ll be a three-year turnaround, I thought new consoles were coming out in 2010-2011". Pachter believes that sequelitis is what hurt games like Tony Hawk and Guitar Hero and that it's affecting EA's bottom line.

All right, enough talking about this like Pachter or Riccitiello have a clue about the gaming industry. Let's cover some facts first.

Fact: You don't need new consoles to make good games. The elongated console cycle wouldn't be so bad if big publishers made good games instead of trying to rely on rehashes, sequels and blockbuster wannabes. A good game is not determined by the amount of polygons a character model has or the amount of ambient light that shines through a virtual glass pane window.

Fact: Indie studios are churning out games that are making a killing while utilizing today's generation of hardware. Games like Fez, Braid, Limbo, MineCraft, Terraria, Team Fortress, DayZ, Portal, Q.U.B.E. and Amnesia: Dark Descent have all done well with little or no marketing. You don't need new consoles to make new, fun or innovative games. It all depends on how you use what you have.

Fact: A lot of the sequels that are bombing or underperforming on the market are retreads of games we've already played, including but not limited to Halo, Call of Duty, Gears of War, Need for Speed and Uncharted. "Me-too" rip-offs are exactly that, and the longer top publishers keep trying to milk the same ideas over and over again the more gamers will become less interested in the product. Unfortunately we've seen studios such as Black Rock, Codemaster's Red River studio, Radical Entertainment and other studios fold under similar circumstances.

This is not to mention things like Online Passes, the over-abundance of DLC and other shaky shenanigans of the sort, contribute to a lack of consumer confidence.

EA could easily redeem themselves by focusing on smaller but more innovative games; projects like the original Dead Space and Mirror's Edge marked a positive path for the company. Their partnership program for pushing out indie titles like Shank and Warp could prove to move the company into a better light with both consumers and investors.

However, running their reputation into the ground with over-bloated and obtuse marketing schemes while also trying to talk up their upcoming games as if they're the greatest thing ever (even though many are just retreads) it does nothing to boost consumer confidence, especially in the core community.

Now I'm not saying that repairing EA's stock is a walk in the park. Any publicly traded company is going to have a hard time in a creatively-motivated industry such as the gaming industry, but if John Riccitiello honestly doesn't see what could cause the stock to drop then maybe it is time for him to be replaced. Perhaps a re-branding of Electronic Arts wouldn't be such a bad thing and in the end we could potentially see EA get back to basics: making good games and selling quality products. Ahahaha...nah.
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