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He has held himself accountable for falling short of the company's financial guidance

Electronic Arts' (EA) chief executive officer announced his resignation today due to missed financial targets.

EA CEO John Riccitiello has resigned after six years of service, which will be effective March 30, 2013. Riccitiello will also no longer be a member of the board of directors.

"This is a tough decision, but it all comes down to accountability," said Riccitiello in an internal memo. "The progress EA has made on transitioning to digital games and services is something I'm extremely proud of. However, it currently looks like we will come in at the low end of, or slightly below, the financial guidance we issued in January, and we have fallen short of the internal operating plan we set one year ago. EA's shareholders and employees expect better and I am accountable for the miss.

"EA is an outstanding company with creative and talented employees, and it has been an honor to serve as the Company's CEO. I am proud of what we have accomplished together, and after six years I feel it is the right time for me pass the baton and let new leadership take the Company into its next phase of innovation and growth. I remain very optimistic about EA's future; there is a world class team driving the Company's transition to the next generation of game consoles."

EA's board of directors has appointed EA executive Larry Probst to fill in as executive chairman until the company finds a permanent CEO. Probst was CEO of the company from 1991-2007 when Riccitiello stepped in.

"We thank John for his contributions to EA since he was appointed CEO in 2007, especially the passion, dedication and energy he brought to the Company every single day," said Probst. "John has worked hard to lead the Company through challenging transitions in our industry, and was instrumental in driving our very significant growth in digital revenues. We appreciate John's leadership and the many important strategic initiatives he has driven for the Company. We have mutually agreed that this is the right time for a leadership transition."

Game publishers like EA have had a rough time in the financial department due to digital sales becoming as increasingly popular as box retail game sales -- and it doesn't help that EA recently had server issues with its largely popular release "SimCity."

"SimCity" launched earlier this month, and many servers crashed during the international release. EA announced that it would add more servers to help out the workload.

Sources: Forbes, Gamespot

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Treating Customers Right
By FlyTexas on 3/18/2013 7:06:06 PM , Rating: 3
Perhaps EA would do better if they stopped treating customers like criminals and instead treated customers like, well, customers.

Let us play our games our way, without needing to be online all the time, without DRM, and you'll find we'll do it.

I didn't buy any music during the DRM days, but now that music is DRM free, I'm buying again. I buy from both iTunes and Amazon, both go into my collection and load to my phone, I don't have to worry about where I'm "allowed" to install them.

Ditch DRM completely and I think the game companies might find we will still pay for quality games.

RE: Treating Customers Right
By Breakfast Susej on 3/18/2013 7:25:08 PM , Rating: 3
I don't understand why more companies don't look to Steam as the example to follow. Yes steam is DRM, but people have come to love Steam, because they are treated well. Steam as DRM for the most part is non intrusive, and they recognize that by selling things for an extremely low price they will actually foster goodwill and sell software they would otherwise not be selling.

People buy games on steam they don't even play, and may not even download. They just buy they because they are cheap. And because of the good image that Valve cultivates. People absolutely railed on steam when it launched but Valve fought a long hard battle to win people over and succeeded.

EA seems to have been operating under the idea that the customers will continue to accept being given what they don't want and told to like it indefinitely just because they are EA. They deserve the bankruptcy and buyout I hope they have coming.

RE: Treating Customers Right
By someguy123 on 3/18/2013 7:33:04 PM , Rating: 2
Thing with steam is that they didn't really "battle" against their past fans as much as battling against client bugs and insufficient amount of servers. The core design of steam is basically the same as it was at launch even though they've tossed a bunch of frills over it, and they've stayed pretty consistent when it comes to updates vs paid DLC.

Meanwhile EA actively lies to its customers about the necessity of always online while cutting its games into little repackaged pieces. Selling video games seems to be a bit more profitable than nickle and diming, at least in valve's case.

RE: Treating Customers Right
By Breakfast Susej on 3/18/2013 7:53:12 PM , Rating: 2
I understand all too well. I played TOR at launch and made the mistake of staying way longer than I should. Their treatment of the customers in that game was just Sad, as was the state of denial and living in lala land they were in about the games potential.

If TOR had been any other property, that is if it didn't have the Star Wars name and the history of Biowares past success behind it, it would have never made it a month. The way they handled the launch, the way they handled what they called character balancing in the patches, all of it was like a comedy of errors and customer abuse.

The things people will put up for in the name of Star Wars.

RE: Treating Customers Right
By Reclaimer77 on 3/18/13, Rating: 0
RE: Treating Customers Right
By althaz on 3/18/2013 10:09:49 PM , Rating: 2
I actually thought TOR was a pretty awesome game, but I'm not the type to like typical MMOs.

RE: Treating Customers Right
By FITCamaro on 3/18/2013 10:13:40 PM , Rating: 2
TOR's only real problem was the lack of something to do after you finished the story. Which happens with most new MMOs.

And due to the high production values with voiced cutscenes by both player and NPC, it takes longer for them to put out more content.

The only other thing I wished for was a more in depth crafting system.

By Breakfast Susej on 3/18/2013 10:39:34 PM , Rating: 2
There was more wrong with TOR than that. Such as the atrocious engine performance. Badly sub par visuals for the performance it did have. Abysmal PVP system. Horrendous developer behavior as far as making huge, sweeping, and nonsense changes to class balance early on leading to the worst FOTM rubber banding I've ever seen.

Moving from those issues we have the way they handled the launch, by opening first with too few servers, knee jerking and creating way too many servers. Then when the game bled subscribers in record fashion, leaving a solution to dead servers sit until something like six months after launch. When some servers had dwindled to the point of having as little as 6, yes 6 players on in the fleet at primetime.

The pervasive feeling of hopelessness this fostered, Lack of ability to form and retain any kind of guild or communities, absolutely decimated interest in the game even further.

Lets talk about a few more things, like taking six months to patch in completely standard things like a guild bank and customizeable UI because the game was shoveled out the door in a horrendous state thinking the pretty cutscenes would distract people for six months.

No I am afraid I have to disagree that that was TOR's only problem.

"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." -- Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes

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