Next-gen consoles ready to thrive, says Riccitiello

Former CEO of Electronic Arts sees a bright future for consoles, provided Sony and Microsoft get four key things right

Despite recent disruption in the gaming industry, former Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello thinks the next-gen consoles can excel even in a world of smartphones and tablets. In a guest column on Kotaku today, Riccitiello laid out what he sees as four potential stumbling blocks that, if avoided, will guarantee next-gen success for Microsoft and Sony.

Ricitiello's first point of emphasis was that the systems need to be aimed squarely at gamers. To reach the core audience, the new consoles shouldn't be positioned as all-in-one multimedia boxes.

"The risk is that either or both of the new platforms emphasize these 'value-add' experiences too much, both in the user interface on the consoles themselves, or in the story they tell consumers when they unleash their avalanche of advertising," Riccitiello said.

The second and third points were more about not repeating the mistakes of previous console launches. Specifically, Riccitiello said supply chains need to be improved such that anyone who wants a new console at launch can find one on shelves, and the end product needs to be priced low enough that consumers will snatch up all the systems produced.

Finally, Riccitiello said Microsoft and Sony need to tread lightly around "third-rail topics" like DRM and second-hand game sales. In his view, the solution is to make the console ecosystem more open, and less of a walled garden. If they play their cards right, Microsoft and Sony will actually find gamers will "learn to love" more connected console experiences, Riccitiello said.

"It needs to be simple, seamless and without a bunch of headaches with multiple registration, identity and pay gates," Riccitiello said. "The walled garden will fall eventually."

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Latest comments (9)

Axel Cushing Freelance Writer 8 years ago
This. This right here is why I have such a conflicted view of Riccitiello. While I think he's waffling a little on his fourth point, as a whole, this is a remarkably sane set of points he brings up. Why wasn't he saying any of this when he was at EA? It would have saved him a lot of hate and EA two consecutive Golden Turds if he'd said something like this when he was in the big chair.
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@Alex - part of his rehabilitation back into society, and looking for the next top spot - he will postulate anything, till the legs are under the table.
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Paul Jace Merchandiser 8 years ago
I definitely don't agree with his first point. We are no longer in the 16 bit generation of gaming. We now expect our consoles to do much more than just playing games, which is why at any given time my friends list is halfway filled with people using movie/video/music apps and halfway filled with people gaming. It's a brave new world John and "one and done" is over. "All in one" is the way of the future.

His fourth point is also interesting, mainly because he chose to go in the opposite direction while leading EA. Tread lightly pertaining to DRM and second hand sales? Is that why Sim City was a single player online-only game and they used online passes to try to persuade people from buying used games? If I were Microsoft or Sony Mr. Riccitiello is the last person I'd take console or business advice from.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Jace on 21st May 2013 3:31am

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Show all comments (9)
Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 8 years ago
The fifth stumbling block is that the customer base for consoles has largely moved on.
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Renaud Charpentier Game Director, The Creative Assembly8 years ago
No Bruce, they haven't, they just grow older, have more money and will have both a mobile device AND a console (or gaming PC). I am one of these as most of my friends, we have mobile devices, we still have consoles and will grab the next good one. Will the console market increase by 300% like mobile market did in recent years? No. Will it decrease by 50%? No. The successful consoles will find their usual 50-70M buyers like each gen. Some consoles will fail and die, but that has happened before, when mobile didn't existed yet.
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Adam Campbell Product Manager, Azoomee8 years ago
The fifth stumbling block is that the customer base for consoles has largely moved on.
Moved where?
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Justin Biddle Software Developer 8 years ago
Out of Bruce's fantasy land.
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Sandy Lobban Founder, Noise Me Up8 years ago
@Bruce. Aren't you just saying you're getting old? ;)

Mobile gaming is over saturated with a lot of the same experiences. In my opinion, people are now looking for richer content, and I personally think living room gaming is going to gain some new recruits from the widespread interest in technology that has taken place over the last few years. Sure, the playing field and the rules are different, and there will be new players on the scene, but a console (something that is in the living room for entertainment purposes) still has a future.
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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 8 years ago
@Bruce Everiss - Seriously?

Anyway regarding the article... Suprisingly, I agree with all 4 of Ricitello's points.
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