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Riccitiello's EA Shifts From 'Defense' To 'Offense'
Riccitiello's EA Shifts From 'Defense' To 'Offense'
May 4, 2011 | By Kris Graft

In a Wednesday earnings call attended by Gamasutra, Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello said his company is shifting its defensive strategy and going into attack mode.

The exec said EA had its guard up when it was cutting costs, reducing title count and getting its digital business up and running in recent months and years.

"Our strategies could be defined as fundamentally 'defensive,'" he said. "Today, we are announcing a big shift to 'offense.'"

Riccitiello said EA, which became an industry leader thanks to its packaged goods business, will now completely adopt the "games as a service" model. "Over the coming years, we will transform EA from a packaged goods company to a fully integrated digital entertainment company," he explained.

That means focusing on three aggressive core strategies moving forward.

The first, he said, is pushing EA's stable of popular IP, including FIFA, Madden, Battlefield, Need for Speed, The Sims, Tetris, Dragon Age and other titles. The company will also leverage the popularity of labels such as EA Sports and its casual Pogo brand.

"We fully intend to make these properties into year-round businesses that lead their sectors across a range of platforms," Riccitiello said.

The exec also said EA will view itself as "a software platform every bit as much as we see ourselves as a content maker for other companies' platforms." He added EA already has seen major growth in its online "core registration system," which has grown to 112 million customers, up from 61 million a year prior.

"While we will continue to be a great partner to our best retail customers and 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," he said.

The third part of Riccitiello and EA's "offensive" stance is a focus on talent acquisition. He said the publisher is integrating its development teams with marketing and monetization.

That's "a big change," he said. "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."

In the call, the company discussed its fiscal 2011 results -- which Gamasutra has a full report on -- and which show strong growth in its digital business.

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