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EA CEO Riccitiello Talks Game Pricing, Creativity

EA CEO Riccitiello Talks Game Pricing, Creativity

October 31, 2007 | By Christian Nutt

October 31, 2007 | By Christian Nutt
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More: Console/PC

Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello recently gave a talk at Berkeley's Haas School of Business that espoused EA's new corporate ethos of emphasizing creativity in its games while cautioning that current business models may not sustain the industry.

As reported by Fortune's Tech Daily blog, Riccitiello -- who returned to EA this February after a stint at Elevation Partners -- spoke on the company's current shift in thinking as it moves towards a more rounded portfolio of games. This strategy is typified by the recent purchase of BioWare and Pandemic Studios by the company.

One contentious point raised by Riccitiello is the need to embrace change -- with the example of the currently common $59.99 price point for next generation games cited as a place where something will have to give.

He compared the stance of the current game industry as comparable to the historic reticence of the big three TV networks to evolve as a counterpoint to EA's recent moves in the industry. They were extremely arrogant, Riccitiello said, according to Fortune. They viewed the rise of cable as being insignificant."

He suggested that the current $59.99 price point for games is possibly untenable in the future, pointing to the rise of free-to-play games in China while promising that Electronic Arts will experiment with different pricing models.

Bringing up EA's ambitious and failed 2001 alternate reality game Majestic, Riccitiello stressed the need to admit mistakes., which launched as a gaming portal in 1999, was also admitted as a failure under his previous tenure at EA.

However, the executive closed his talk with an urge to put trust in visionaries. While EALA's Neil Young, previously interviewed by Gamasutra, was responsible for the relatively financially unsuccessful Majestic, he eventually orchestrated The Lord of the Rings deal which ultimately resulted in $725 million in sales. Criterion's Alex Ward and Maxis' Will Wright were also cited for their contributions.

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