Riccitiello: We’re transforming EA

Despite another year of losses, the CEO of EA John Riccitiello has reacted enthusiastically to its latest financial report and outlined what he describes as an upcoming "transformation" for the company.

"In Q4, we beat the street and hit the very high end of our expectations for total revenue, digital revenue and profit," he told investors, as transcribed by Seeking Alpha. "For fiscal ’11, EA delivered on all of its goals including revenue, market share and EPS.

"And perhaps most importantly, we substantially exceeded our own ambitious target for digital revenue.

"I am particularly proud of EA’s rapid growth and scale in digital and that our growth rate almost doubled that of the digital sector overall. We did it in a way no other competitor can, and in a way that best addresses the future opportunity in the market. We did it across multiple IP, across all the relevant platforms, from social to mobile to console, and across a variety of business models."

The exec spent a lot of time talking about the significant shifts changing the games market, and argued that EA is ideally positioned to take advantage.

"The consumer has changed," he claimed. "200m console players have become 1.5bn consumers gaming on multiple devices. We are the only gaming company serving this wider opportunity.

"Our strategies could be defined as fundamentally defensive. Over the coming years, we will transform EA from a packaged goods company, to a fully integrated Digital entertainment company. We’re transforming EA to a games as a service model by focusing on 3 new strategies."

Riccitiello’s three-point strategy was described as follows:

1) Intellectual Property –
We believe we are driving the strongest portfolio of IP in the industry with EA Sports, FIFA, Hasbro, Madden, Pogo, Battlefield, Need for Speed, The Sims, Tetris, Dragon Age, Mass Effect and more. We fully intend to make these properties into year-round businesses that lead their sectors across a range of platforms.

2) Platform –
Increasingly, we see ourselves as a software platform every bit as much as we see ourselves as a content maker for other companies platforms. We had a great start with 112m consumers in our nucleus registration system, up from 61m a year ago. And while we will continue to be a great partner to our best retail customers and our first-party partners, you will see the beginnings of a consumer game platform emerge at EA that complements and extends the console ecosystem and addresses the wider opportunity on other devices.

3) Talent –
To deliver on the two strategies above, IP and platform, we will expand on a model that is already working at EA, and only at EA. We are the only company with world-class teams working across platforms on social, mobile, and console development. We are integrating these teams and augmenting them with product monetization and marketing. It’s a big change. As an investor, you can see this as a way to better manage our IP and drive up the ARPU for our core properties. As a developer, you can see this as the reason EA will be the most interesting and satisfying place to work in the game industry.

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