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Riccitiello: Wii Decline Buzz Won't Impact EA

Riccitiello: Wii Decline Buzz Won't Impact EA

December 3, 2009 | By Leigh Alexander

December 3, 2009 | By Leigh Alexander
More: Console/PC

Declining Wii console sales and a softening third-party software market will not have much of an impact on Electronic Arts, says CEO John Riccitiello, who points out EA is the number two publisher on the console after Nintendo itself.

"I think there's no doubt that [Nintendo] enjoyed spectacular success a year ago and it's been softer since then," he tells Gamasutra.

"[The Wii is] clearly not going to sell as many units this year as it did last year," he says, adding that EA looks at marketshare as an important metric: "We have a low-20 [percent] share on the Xbox 360, a high 20 [percent] share on the PS3, and a 19-20 [percent] share on the Wii."

"I'm indifferent as to what platform performs [well]," he says. "I'd like them all to... but if one goes up and the other goes down, we make money," says Riccitiello. "I'm not like Activision, without a Wii business, or like Ubisoft with a heavy focus on the [Nintendo] platforms. It's not that important."

Beyond the fact that most publishers have a multiplatform focus, one thing that may insulate game companies from too much downside should the Wii continue softening is the diversity of the industry landscape, suggests Riccitiello.

"The bigger issue that we've got is that at this point in the cycle, direct-to-consumer has gone from 5 percent [a few years ago] -- this year it's 45 percent, next year it will be more than half," he says. "Individual consoles have become only part of a puzzle."

"One platform going down and another platform going up is more relevant to us than saying, for example, Sony versus Motorola phones, but it is one of a bunch of pieces of hardware," he adds.

"The number one gaming platform in the world is PC and that's booming," concludes the CEO, pointing to the growth of gameplay online and on social networks.

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