Bullish EA boss talks company overhaul and elusive pursuit of an internally-developed Metacritic hit

Riccitiello ‘investing in quality’

During a conference call to investors EA CEO John Riccitiello has restated his aim to improve the company’s performance in terms of internally-developed product quality.

The firm said that in North America its business was flat "in a very robust market" in the third quarter – excluding booming sales from EA Partners, which publishes on games made by third-party studios and reported record revenues over Christmas.

"This hit us particularly hard in North America where EA faced tough competition on a number of front," said the CEO.

Since returning to the company as CEO last year, Riccitiello has set about structuring the firm and enlisting its studios with developing more innovative, original properties.

He said: "When I came back to EA I made a commitment to invest in quality. I think it’s the right decision for the long-term financial health of the company and because it is what our consumers have a right to expect.

"While we are the third-party quality leader we are not satisfied with where we are," he added. "We did not have any internally developed breakaway titles and no one of EA’s internally developed titles reached a Metacritc rating of 90 or greater."

In the firm’s financials it confirmed a delay to new games Battlefield: Bad Company and Mercenaries 2 to allow for time focused on "polish". EA marked out The Orange Box, Crysis, and Skate as key performers, while stalwart franchises such as Need for Speed dropped in year vs year sales, the latest iteration still being a multi-million seller but still dropping revenue for the franchise.

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