EA CEO: "We blew it," when it came to acquisitions

EA CEO:
Michael French

By Michael French

February 11th 2008 at 9:53AM

Riccitiello admits to DICE audience that publisher fumbled integrating the likes of Bullfrog, Westwood and Origin

Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello has admitted the company made mistakes when it acquired well-known developers.

Speak at DICE last week, Wired reports he said that integrating the teams at independents such as Bullfrog, Westwood and Origin ultimately
stifled the creative talent there.

He said: "We at EA blew it, and to a degree I was involved in these things, so I blew it.

"When I talked to the creators that populated these companies at the time, they felt like they were buried and stifled."

He added: "The command and conquer model doesn't work. If you think you're going to buy a developer and put your name on the label... you're making a profound mistake.

"Creative teams can be thought of as flowers in a hothouse - you move the temperature up or down a few degrees and the flowers will die."

He added that EA has changed tack on the matter and thinks now knows how to let creativity prosper in a corporate environment, citing Maxis and Bioware/Pandemic as good examples of that.

Also in his talk, he predicted that there will be fewer publishers in the games arena come 2010: "I think that there's going to be fewer major publishers in 2010 than there are today. I think the second-tier players are going to thin out pretty significantly. The market share controlled by the few major publishers is going to be greater in 2010 than it is today."