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Riccitiello: Retail data doesn't paint full market picture

EA boss underlines strength of new platforms, distribution and business models

Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello has hit back at suggestions the videogames business needs "reinvigorating" by new hardware products, with PlayStation Move and Microsoft Natal set to take centre stage at E3 next week.

Riccitiello, speaking in an interview with IndustryGamers, underlined the strength of new platforms in the wider market, pointing out that a significant sections of the industry that aren't being tracked were experiencing strong growth.

"In 2003 there were 200 million people playing games around the world," he said. "2009 there were 1.2 billion. 2003, the industry was under $20 billion, 2009, the industry’s over $40 billion. Yes, there was a little bit less that went through retail stores last year in North America than went through the year before, but every other form of gaming was off the charts.

"I think we're going to see up and down years. Remember, the NPD doesn't even capture second sale, and if you included that in the consumer's perspective, they probably spent more on even packaged goods than they did the year before.

"So, if you want to look at this through the unique lens of what sells through four US Retailers - first sales packaged goods only, and exclude everything else, fine. But that's actually a really weird data point because that excludes everything that's growing."

He also had a few things to say about the PC market, which many people have pointed to in the past as being in decline.

"If you only look at retail data, the PC's been in a 10-year decline," he said. "A 10-year decline. I mean last time I checked, Playfish makes games for the PC, so does Zynga. Last time I checked, World of Warcraft is played on PCs. Last time I checked, Pogo was a PC games service. So was Tiger Online.

"I mean, frankly, just those franchises alone are 2x the revenue of the total industry as reported by NPD," he added.

The EA boss also mentioned that he'd seen the forthcoming Nintendo 3DS, set for its full unveiling next week, remarking that it was a "cool" product.


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