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Hollywood needs us more than we need them, says Riccitiello

Mon 14 Apr 2008 7:54am GMT / 3:54am EDT / 12:54am PDT
Business

EA chief believes the industry has "stepped through a time window" where the best games are as important as top Oscar winners

John Riccitiello, CEO of Electronic Arts, has stated his belief that the videogames industry is reaching a new level of prominence in comparison to other entertainment media - particularly movies.

"The buzz in Hollywood, which I heard from some Hollywood folks...is people are worried whether Iron Man the movie is going to get killed by Grand Theft Auto the game," he told the Financial Times. "I don't think I've ever heard of that before.

"There is more interest today from Hollywood to make movies out of our games than there is interest in our industry to make games out of their movies. There's a big reset happening now."

He went on to compare the situation that videogames is experiencing today with films in the early part of the twentieth century.

"It feels like what movie moguls might have seen in the 1920s and said: 'Hey, we've got talkies now, where is it going?' I feel like we've stepped through a time window where our games are so compelling and seem so real," he said.

With EA currently embroiled in a bid for Take-Two, owner of one of his chief targets - Rockstar Games - the EA chief once again underlined the benefits of the new company structure.

"I spent three years outside EA managing independent developers, while EA ran a global monolithic studio organisation. I thought central command and control homogenisation had run its course," he said. "Allowing people to put their name on the front of a product allows them more of a sense of ownership and increases their passion."

"Above all, I'm trying to bring great quality and innovation back. I'm also trying to drive us towards a variety of new business models, whether it be subscription or micro-transactions, or advertising-based," he said.

"I read a book on how every medium creates one great company: animation created Disney, CBS was created by radio, NBC by television. Interactive entertainment is going to determine one great company and I think it's this one. One of the reasons I've come back is to try to take it to the next step."

EA saw revenues hit USD 3 billion in 2007, and among two of its releases this year are Will Wright's latest project - Spore - and the Steven Spielberg-inspired Boom Blox.

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