Former EA exec slams strategy

On the back of EA’s scaling back of its forward financial estimates, former executive VP of mobile and online Mitch Lasky has slammed boss John Riccitiello for what he considers to be the failures of his second spell at the helm of the publisher.

By far the greatest failure of Riccitiello’s strategy has been the EA Games division,” the exec, now a partner at investment specialists Benchmark Capital, stated on his blog.

JR bet his tenure on EA’s ability to ‘grow their way through the transition’ to digital/online with hit packaged goods titles. They honestly believed that they had a decade to make this transition.

Since the recurring-revenue sports titles were already ‘booked’ it fell to EA Games to make hits that could move the needle. It’s been a very ugly scene, indeed. From Spore, to Dead Space, to Mirror’s Edge, to Need for Speed: Undercover, it’s been one expensive commercial disappointment for EA Games after another.

Not to mention the shut-down of Pandemic, half of the justification for EA’s $850m acquisition of Bioware-Pandemic. And don’t think that Dante’s Inferno, or Knights of the Old Republic, is going to make it all better. It’s a bankrupt strategy.”

Lasky goes on to express his surprise that no-one has yet moved to acquire the publisher, going as far as to name-drop a couple of potential suitors.

With EA’s enterprise value down below $4bn, it’s remarkable that nobody has stepped in to put them out of their misery with an acquisition,” he states. Certainly, Disney has been looking at them since I was at the house of the mouse back in the early ‘90s. And there are Chinese companies, like TenCent, that could easily swallow EA whole.

It’s equally amazing that the board continues to support the existing management team through this debacle. Since JR took over, the company has destroyed over $11 billion in market value.”

There’s a lot more in Lasky’s full blog entry.

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