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Riccitiello: Traditional development cycle "gone forever"

Publisher embracing new technology and services; CEO confirms Origin will host third-party content

Electronic Arts' CEO John Riccitiello has said that the traditional 4-5 year game and console cycle has gone forever, following a period of rapid change and business evolution.

Speaking following financial results that highlighted improved sales and profits thanks in large part to console game sales, he noted that current growth areas - such as tablets and mobile - were not even on the market less than two years ago.

"Most of us recognise that the industry has radically changed and the pace of change has accelerated dramatically. Gone forever is the 4 to 5 year console cadence that gave developers ample time to invest and retool for the next big wave," he said.

Gone forever is the 4 to 5 year console cadence that gave developers ample time to invest and retool for the next big wave

John Riccitiello, EA

"Consider that just 18 months ago, there was no iPad, Google was just experimenting with Android and most big games were limited to a single revenue opportunity at launch. Consider that each of the major consoles now has a controller that encourages users to get off the couch and get into the action.

"On smartphones and tablets like the iPhone and iPad, the top paid apps are all games. Recognise that the fastest-growing revenue streams for console, PC, smartphones and tablets are all digital, and that EA is partnering with its retail and platform partners to help jointly grow these digital revenue streams. While the game industry has fundamentally changed, games are reaching a far larger audience base than ever before."

Riccitiello went on to highlight the publishers three point plan to grow the business - regular releases based on its strongest IP, turning the business itself into a platform with the help of services like Origin, and maintaining and fostering talent.

"We're building the strength of our most important IP," he offered. "And for EA, this means about a dozen very substantial IPs. Each of these will be transformed into year-round businesses with major packaged goods launches, social launches, mobile launches, downloadable content and micro-transactions."

As part of the plan to turn the business into a platform, Riccitiello said that it still needs the support of other businesses, and confirmed that download service Origin will host third-party content - not just EA's games.

"GameStop, with 11.5 million registered users of their PowerUp Rewards program, is proving to be one of our best partners in digital."

"We believe that Origin will scale quickly with the addition of third parties and with the launch of Battlefield 3 and Star Wars later this year," he added.

He also highlighted the recent opening of a new studio in Austin as evidence that the company is keen to grow talent, allowing them to work across a broad spectrum of technology and business models.

"We recognise that creative and engineering talent is at the core of what we do, and we are making sure that EA is the best place to work for these industry leaders."

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Matt Martin avatar
Matt Martin: Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.
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