Riccitiello: 3D shows "very poor returns"

EA moves away from 3D to focus on social gaming

EA CEO John Riccitiello has spoken about EA's plans to move away from 3D, and towards social and online gaming.

"We see really high returns in these markets and very poor returns focusing on 3D, so we are allocating our resources toward new innovations," Riccitiello told stockholders at EA's annual meeting.

"Frankly we have not seen a big uptake for 3D gaming. We have not seen a big uptake in 3D TVs in the home, at least not yet. We are not here trying to drive a market. We are here to react to what consumers are looking for."

He also spoke about the problems faced by Nintendo’s 3DS.

"It was perceived to be the next big thing, there were complaints about is causing headaches and nausea and all sorts of things. Frankly, it didn't do that for me, but there were complaints, and it's not performed as well as they would like."

Earlier this month EA acquired casual games developer Popcap for $750 million.

Related stories

Electronic Arts responds to DCMS committee calls for loot box regulation

Publisher "doesn't agree with all conclusions" but will continue dialogue with UK government

By James Batchelor

EA readying cloud gaming technical trials

PC players will test cloud versions of FIFA, Titanfall, Need For Speed and Unravel

By James Batchelor

Latest comments (25)

Tony Johns8 years ago
I sometimes wonder do most people out there even know how to use a 3DS?

If the 3D is causing you any negative effects, just turn the 3D off and you will be fine.

But it seems like everyone out there bagging the 3DS and therefore reacting on the low sales are all acting like Nintendo hating fanboys/girls who are only just not understanding how to use the system to suit them.

You don't need to have the 3D turned on all the time just to play the games, this technology is still in the testing phase and is now making its first steps into the commercial market.

Of course there are always going to have problems, and yes there are times when Nintendo's communication won't reach all people who listen more to the hype and the hysteria instead of the soft and calm voice of how to properly use their new handheld that happens to have in optional 3D capabilities.

This is far ahead of the times compared to the Virtual Boy where there was no way to turn off the 3D effect without stopping the game + handeld functions.

So don't count out the 3DS just yet until after a year or two years in the market.

0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Chad Hogan Freelance 8 years ago
I concur
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Kris Steele Developer 8 years ago
They should sell a 3DS without the 3D then for those that don't want it and don't want to pay a premium for it. I think Nintendo really dropped the ball in researching if consumers really wanted 3D on their portable.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Show all comments (25)
Ian Brown IT Developer / IT Infrastructure 8 years ago
Well i've recently spent a good deal of cash on a nice big TV for me to enjoy my games and blu rays on. So the thought of shelling out yet even more money to replace my perfectly nice TV with one that costs around £700+ and stack about another £80 per glasses so i can play a handful of games and films in 3D is a joke. Its taken how many years for normal HD TV's to be the norm, you can't expect everyone to just drop them at a hat to get a TV with 3D in it. Give it 4 years and the prices will have come down and more content will be around and then it will be time to really push it. This happened with Bluray and the original HD TV's, no one wanted to pay (apart from enthusiasts) large sums of money for something that has a small amount of content available. Content drives sales, always has, always will.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Sean Arnold Editorial and Content Manager 8 years ago
@Tony what is the point of th 3DS if you're not using the 3D? Its not hating on Nintendo its hating the fad there is no point to 3D in the home or mobile. With Nintendo already dropping the price it proves that point, they will probably sell what they have left, chalk it up to a loss and move onto something better just like Sony did with the PSPgo.

Companies need to stop focusing on fads (remember the average consumer is stupid) and worry more about the big picture i.e. making quality games.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 8 years ago
*sigh* I guess neither Nintendo nor some 3D hard-heads have learned not a thing since the Virtual Boy tanked. 3D is and always will be a GIMMICK that doesn't make games better (even those that uses it to the best advantage). Saying "Ooooooh, it looks REAL!" only goes so far if the gameplay is the same old thing we're all used to.

One of the only 3DS games I was excited about was the remake of Metal Geal Solid 3 just because it looks like the 3DS was going to be used in a few really cool ways. Of course, it was a remake and not a completely original game, so there was also the "Hmmm, I played this four times already on the PS2" factor that mane me HOPE it was worth picking up again.

Of course, to those 3DS users who've never played a MGS game (or MGS3), this would have been a completely NEW experience, so I was actually excited for THOSE people to see how wild a Kojima Productions game can be. Granted, coming into MGS cold like that would have baffled some what with all the kooky stuff and in-jokes going on...

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Greg Wilcox on 29th July 2011 8:11pm

0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Richard Löwenstein Journalist, iPhone-Developer 8 years ago
Find it a bit sad to see Riccitiello say, EA is "not here to drive a market". Is he talking about leaving the 3D-market to grow on its own, or about EA not driving any markets any more? There were times when EA did invent in many ways, and succeeded in a lot of cases. A market leader like EA should keep on using not-too-small portions of its budget for inventing.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Tim Carter Designer - Writer - Producer 8 years ago
Gimicks well never beat out good core fundamentals - like compelling game design. A gimick might flare up like a nice sparkly thing for awhile, but sooner or later the flame will die out, and you'll be left looking for the substance again.

Problem is, business people always want to invest in a thing. You can own a thing. Or control a thing. Or say a thing "is the next big thing".

But you can't control or own people. People produce compelling game design. If you give them free rein, they might not want to stay under your shackles, imprisoned in your cage for much longer. They might want the freedom to pursue their own creative to make the next big games out there.

But so what? Treat them as partners. Get a good deal, and you'll get rich and have more fun doing so.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Tim Carter on 29th July 2011 7:53pm

0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Matthew Green Producer, Solar Studios Inc8 years ago
3d done right is great. When bigscreens go 3d without glasses and are 300$ for a 42" they will become ubiquitous.

3D isnt dead at all, it hasnt even got rolling yet
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 8 years ago
Matthew... at the end of the day, it's about CONTENT, not price point.

A 3DTV could be a dollar, but when you have crap-fest reality shows and more junk no one sane wants to watch, all the 3D in the world isn't going to help. Granted, the average TV viewer is seen as quite stupid by the folks making these shows, so yes, they'll be the first to buy into 3D being "better" than HD or whatever. I'm one of many folks who hates TV in its current form and even though I have a few favorite shows, I have ZERO desire to see them go 3D. It won't make The Walking Dead any scarier, nor Boardwalk Empire any better acted and paced, that's for sure...

As the box office results from a few studios are showing over the last year or so, 3D is trending downward, not up. If you can't get people to sit on their asses for under 2 hours (or 2.5 hours with trailers), how are you going to get them on the couch for longer? Of course, a few hundred million dollars on marketing will go a long way into convincing someone who's jobless to max out that credit card even more and buy up a 3DTV, but I don't even want to explore THAT mess here...

Yes, glasses-free 3DTV is great, but again, programming isn't (and isn't going to be at the rate I see things).
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Rick Ellis Tech Director, ArenaNet8 years ago
@Matthew "3d done right is great. When bigscreens go 3d without glasses and are 300$ for a 42" they will become ubiquitous."

How do you figure this? CONTENT is what drives technology, not the other way around. 3D is a gimmick at best right now (and was the same in the past). Until someone comes out with some killer content for it, it will remain a gimmick.

0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Matthew Green Producer, Solar Studios Inc8 years ago
My crystal ball is telling me that all major sporting events will be in 3d, movies are already moving to being all shot in 3d and distributed in 2d and 3d. Most big games are inherently 3d content.

There are no roadblocks to 3D blossoming except time and economics. When 3d is cheap and all your freinds have it you will want it too. Of course this is just my opinion, time will be the real proof.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Matthew Green on 29th July 2011 9:41pm

0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Matthew Green Producer, Solar Studios Inc8 years ago
My crystal ball says more 3D tvs will be sold in one year than 2D tvs in the not too distant future. I am only making games that are both mono and stereoscopic 3D in anticipatioin of the future.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Matthew Green on 29th July 2011 9:49pm

0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
when 3D puts food on the table, then I forsee a great sale in 3D. until then, winter fuel, electricity is going to kick folks in the 3D, will have to wait
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Matthew Green Producer, Solar Studios Inc8 years ago
@ Dr. Chee - I 100% agree with your economic assessment of 3D in todays market

but if EA paid me $x-hundred million I would shut the fuck up and make 2d ipad cloners til the contract ran out!

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Matthew Green on 29th July 2011 9:54pm

0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Rod Oracheski Editor, Star News8 years ago
@Richard They're interested in driving their own markets, not one that's going to benefit someone else.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Nick McCrea Gentleman, Pocket Starship8 years ago
I don't think the problem with the 3DS is the 3D, so much as it's an old-school gaming handheld in a world that looks to increasingly belong to the smartphone and the tablet. Obviously dedicated handhelds still have their place, it's just becoming very clear that the mass market is going to favour the iDevices and their cousins.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Curt Sampson Sofware Developer 8 years ago
Sean writes, "what is the point of th 3DS if you're not using the 3D?"

It's still a better DS, with higher resolution and more processing power. That alone may be worth something; I know that every time I pick up my old DS after using my PSP, I feel as if I'm back in 8-bit land, the graphics are so chunky.

Of course, the importance of this for most people is debatable.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Anuj Malhotra Studying Business Management, Imperial College London8 years ago
It's funny, you would think a company like EA would have someone to point out social gaming is in a bubble right now and it's a maturing marketplace. Getting on the bandwagon now is fine and all, but abandoning 3d before the uptake kicks in (probably when the glasses become less relevant for home TV use) will mean they are in a terrible position to capitalise on it when it does.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Gábor Stanyó Programmer 8 years ago
I stand by Matthew. 3D works, and it works good. I recently bought a system, and after some experimenting with content, I invited my friends. They were unanimously amazed and reassured me that my purchase wasn't stupid.

What was the trick?

I showed them IMAX documentaries. There are a lot of IMAX titles out on 3D Bluray by now, so it's not hard to get. Most of the stuff labeled 3D isn't really shot in 3D, and yeah, it's a gimmick. Even Avatar was kind of a letdown after watching those documentaries. So there's certainly some very enjoyable content available for 3D tv/monitor owners currently, and if someone decides to get all native 3D discs, then they will have to dig deep in their pocket, because that list is long. But the titles not confirmed to be native 3D will usually be a gimmick.

[link url=

As for my 3D system, it wasn't expensive. I considered Nvidia 3D Vision the most matured and highest quality solution for the money, and it didn't disappoint. I got a new monitor, emitter and shutter glasses for 430 Eur.

3D gaming is a different kind of beast though. My experience is that the feeling of uneasiness greatly increases when playing games, and it's mainly because only one game (I know of) is "native" 3D yet on PC. I thought every game is made in 3D, that must be the easiest stuff to translate into Stereoscopic 3D. Well, I was wrong. When developers put as many research into S3D gaming as IMAX did in S3D movies, maybe we'll see great, playable games. I totally expect a S3D breakthrough in the future. And I want to be in that title :)

0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
James Podesta Lead Programmer, SASimulations8 years ago
I love 3d. 3d to 2d is like colour to black&white for me. It adds extra texture to the movie that makes the scenes look flat and dull without it. I never get nausia or headaches from it.

Unfortunately, I don't have high hopes for 3d succeeding because its not universally liked. Seems like a reasonable percentage of people either nausia and/or can't see the 3d depth at all.

The other concern is that you have to wear glasses. this is sufficiently inconvenient as to make the whole technology a gimmic. Most consumers don't by televisions to watch DVDs. They buy them to watch television broadcasts, often while doing other things, and glasses don't fit into that equation well.

It's not a problem in cinemas since you go there just to see the movie so you tolerate the glasses for the 2hours. (Probably not a problem for people that wear glasses/contacts also - they could just get special polarised ones). For the rest of us, its a major inconvenience.

If all tv's just have polarised 3d as standard and you can chuck some glasses on to watch some 3d content or games on occasion, that would be a best case scenario for me and would mean people could safely make 3D content knowing there is a market.

AFAIK, there is no technology on the horizon that would allow 3d to work without glasses and be viewable from any angle in the living room. If there is, please someone point me to it.

0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
James Prendergast Research Chemist 8 years ago
@Matthew "My crystal ball says more 3D tvs will be sold in one year than 2D tvs in the not too distant future."

Not a particularly risky bet there, Matthew. Considering how it's impossible to buy an SD TV these days - at some point, in the not-too-distant future, all TVs sold will have 3D built into them.

Let me make a similar prediction!

At some point, in the not-too-distant future, all TVs will have that IP tech in them!

Honestly, I don't rate 3D at all. It has no benefit for a significant portion of the population. It ratchets up costs for the producers and the viewers (both of whom are already struggling to make profit/stay afloat in an inflationary economy). It's something that is not needed so soon after the HD upgrade we've been on for the last ten years. The B&W - colour upgrade had a significant period of calmness and stability after it occurred, giving time for the market to settle down... I honestly don't know what is going through the TV tech industry's collective heads right now because this must instability isn't good for anyone.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Peter Stirling Software Engineer, Firelight Technologies8 years ago
Hind sight is 20-20. Nintendo had the courage to invest big in a console that was completely different when it gave us the Wii. Which has now lead to Kinect and the Move, changing the landscape of console gaming. Now they are taking another big risk with 3DS. Personally I'm glad there is a company out there trying something different and expanding the horizons.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Dennis Wan Game Designer, Nanyang Polytechnic8 years ago
The comments on this topic are great; I'll definitely be re-reading them again after my lessons. Personally 3D is a kick in the nuts for me, I get all the nausea and headaches and bad stuff when I watch 3D movies. Surprisingly I can tolerate the glasses-free 3DS effects - but I still haven't bought one. No particular title I feel like playing on it yet. For all the varied opinions right now it seems 3D is plodding along forward slowly... crossing my fingers to hope they find out what causes all the perceptual problems and find ways to fix them before 3D breaks into mainstream.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Brent Post Xbox Quality Manager, arvato systems GmbH8 years ago
I tend to agree with everyone in the "gimmick" boat. Perhaps its because I have yet to come across a game or a movie that really took advantage of the possibilities, if done right. Most of the content out there is also available in 2D and in 3D versions all the effects seem like they have been added on. So in short, still waiting for this technology to wow me.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply

Sign in to contribute

Need an account? Register now.