Ex-EA attacks Riccitielloâ??s 'bankrupt strategy'

Ex-EA attacks Riccitielloâ??s 'bankrupt strategy'

By Rob Crossley

January 15th 2010 at 9:55AM

Lasky slams wastefully high dev budget and commercial flops

A former key executive at Electronic Arts has made scathing criticisms of the publisher’s strategy under its current CEO, John Riccitiello.

Mitch Lasky, now a partner at tech investment firm Benchmark Capital, revealed his amazement that EA’s board of directors “continues to support the existing management team through this debacle”.

Said Lasky: “Since Riccitiello took over, the company has destroyed over $11 billion in market value. With EA's enterprise value down below $4 billion, it's remarkable that nobody has stepped in to put them out of their misery with an acquisition.

“Certainly, Disney has been looking at them since I was at the house of the mouse back in the early 90's. And there are Chinese companies, like TenCent, that could easily swallow EA whole.”

On his public blog Lasky claimed that, back in 2007, EA was in serious need of cutting back on expenditures on risky titles.

“During my tenure,” he said, “Spore and Godfather budgets had ballooned to ridiculous levels, and even spending on middle-of-the-road products like The Simpsons and Superman had reached appalling heights.”

Lasky, who served as EA’s executive vice president of mobile and online from 2006-07, often verred close to personal attacks against Riccitiello on his blog.

“Riccitiello bet his tenure on EA's ability to ‘grow their way through the transition’ to digital/online with hit packaged goods titles.

“EA honestly believed that they had a decade to make this transition - I think it's more like 2-3 years. It fell to EA Games to make hits that could move the needle. It's been a very ugly scene, indeed.

“From Spore, to Dead Space, to Mirror's Edge, to Need for Speed: Undercover, it's been one expensive commercial disappointment for EA Games after another. Not to mention the shutdown of Pandemic, half of the justification for EA's $850 million acquisition of BioWare-Pandemic. And don't think that Dante's Inferno, or Knights of the Old Republic, is going to make it all better. It's a bankrupt strategy.”