I Didn't Make Any Of This Up

Making Games, By EA’s John Riccitiello:

ea-recession

Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello says the current economic climate is “a blessing in disguise,” because it will force the industry to rethink stagnant attitudes and methods — and lead to “clearing away” some of the “junk” that currently fills gaming retail shelves.

“Junk is hard to compete with,” said Riccitiello frankly.

“I’m not pro-recession,” EA’s Riccitiello was quick to add, “but to quote Rahm Emanuel: never waste a crisis.”

“We did get fat in too many places. It seemed like anyone who could draw a guy with a gun with a crayon could get funded.”

But Riccitiello cautioned the audience of game industry execs against simply cutting head counts, closing facilities, and reducing risk. “That’s a recipe that you follow at your peril,” he said.

Electronic Arts: We Create Irony.

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37 Responses to I Didn't Make Any Of This Up

  1. tannenburg says:

    The sensitivity of these executives towards the “chaff” they so eagerly clear away continues to astound.

  2. Regis says:

    o.O

    Way to kick the people who had to go while they are down. “Junk”. My God.

    And apparently the competition is “riff-raff” and will go bankrupt. But not EA, because all their cuts where “intentional”. Can he actually say that with a straight face?

  3. DrewC says:

    Senior Executives have their souls surgically removed specifically so they can say things like that with a straight face. Many marketing types have a similar operations.

  4. Zuzax says:

    Of course Mr. Riccitiello has a different definition of junk than most gamers do. “Junk” is anything that does not bear the EA mark. That’s why “junk” is hard to compete with.

  5. Daniel says:

    The saddest part is that these guys are “leaders” and
    “role models”.

    “‘Rahm Emanuel: never waste a crisis.'” Seriously, WTF?

  6. =j says:

    anyone who could draw a guy with a gun with a crayon

    *gets distant look in his eyes*
    A gun with a crayon… maybe like some colorful auxiliary weapon. Would markers work too? “Tagging” enemies.
    *slaps desk*
    BRILLIANT. I will give three money hats to the developer who has a prototype on my desk by the end of the week!

  7. Gx1080 says:

    You know i dont blame the guy, he has to say that bunch of bullshit for not losing the stockholders. But if anyone, including himself actually believes that, well for quoting Lum “you cant do that. No, really. You are on crack”

  8. Freakazoid says:

    They’re cutting off their own junk.

    *cue teenage giggling*

  9. DoubleD says:

    That’s why they pay him the big bucks.

  10. Bonedead says:

    Man that crayon line was gold.

  11. Klaitu says:

    Wait, EA is doing something called “Making Games”? When was the last good game EA made? like 1991 or something?

    “lead to “clearing away” some of the “junk” that currently fills gaming retail shelves.”

    You mean the “junk” that you put there in the first place?

    ““Junk is hard to compete with,” said Riccitiello frankly.”

    This no doubt explains why EA’s business strategy is “saturate the market with as much junk as possible”

  12. Merkwurdigliebe says:

    You employees are stupids, that’s why you’re still just employees (just not our employees anymore).

  13. Jeff says:

    @Klaitu

    Just to be clear, I am no fan of EA, nor am I defending them in any way as a whole.

    But I would have to disagree with the statement: “When was the last good game EA made? like 1991 or something?”

    Through no fault of their own, Bioware became a part of EA, and I have never played a Bioware game I did not love. Mass Effect for example, was “made” by an EA studio and released by EA. Very good game. I expect Dragon Age to be phenomenal.

  14. Reg says:

    Enjoy Bioware while you can Jeff. There is no studio so large, or successful that they can’t be forced to release incomplete games until they’ve exhausted their goodwill, lost all of their fans and finally their existence as a separate entity.

  15. Vetarnias says:

    Oh yeah, what junk? Overexploited Franchise 5? Will Wright’s SimBathtub Scrubbing? Or the small very good product that EA wouldn’t have picked up in the first place, waiting instead to buy the studio that made it if it made enough money?

    Why does that guy sound like Michael Eisner before Disney reminded him where the door was? Except that nobody has an emotional attachment to EA’s legacy, probably because it has none that can be mentioned in a good light.

  16. D-0ne says:

    I can tell you all this… I’ve spent time with executives playing golf, having dinner and drinking to get drunk at three different major companies.

    Every last one of these people when relaxed and comfortable call their employees, “the Little People”, “the Peons”, “the Serfs”, and my favorite, heard a a Pfizer PAC meeting, “Those F*cking Leaches”.

  17. Rog says:

    How is Riccitiello still employed? Almost every word he says and it’s /facepalm. He shoots himself in the foot constantly, but it’s like a throwback to recent years, as long as he stands confident for all the idiocy he says and does– I guess people lap this nonsense up?

  18. Mercury says:

    My translation:

    Ok, we’ll take the developer with the most spell power, the QA guy with the most stamina, the project manager with the most spirit, the marketing guy with the most intelligence, and the community manager with the most agility. And me, for strength.

    Let’s start at marketing: anyone here smarter than Steve? No? Ok, hit the road.

  19. robinhood says:

    @Jeff

    Mass Effect was released BEFORE the takeover of BioWare by EA. It was published by Microsoft. EA had nothing to do with Mass Effect.

    just for the record.

  20. Dink says:

    I would use EA/DICE as an example and witness the failure of Battlefied 2 patches and of Battlefield 2142. I do have high hope for Battlefield 1943. But alas, I will sigh, wait and see.

  21. Mist says:

    Well, I guess we don’t have to worry about EA dominating the market anymore. That guy sounds like a moron every time he speaks.

  22. Vetarnias says:

    Mist :
    Well, I guess we don’t have to worry about EA dominating the market anymore. That guy sounds like a moron every time he speaks.

    If I may say: The fact that there might be a moron in charge doesn’t mean you don’t have the weight to spread the stupidity around anymore.

    See: G.W. Bush’s America and The Rest of the World.

  23. GreyPawn says:

    EA isn’t creatively bankrupt, why, they’ve brought us tons of new titles!
    Like Command & Con…er. Madde..um. The Sim.. uhh. Lord of the R..hrm. Well, there’s Warhammer Online, which is kind’ve like World of Warcraft without the burdensome crafting system or polished content.

  24. Ardanna says:

    So here’s my dumb question.

    When he says “junk is hard to compete with.”

    Does he mean… they have been producing junk and it’s very hard to compete with junk (as in, they can’t compete with their junk).

    Or… is he saying it’s hard to compete with junk – as in the competitors are junk. Because that makes even less sense to me because I would think that if you made great products it would be actually be very easy to compete with junk.

    Either way, a dumb question for a dumb comment. Happy Friday!

  25. Viz says:

    @Ardanna
    I think he was referring to the fact that EA was at its most profitable when it stuck to making junk.

  26. Vetarnias says:

    @Ardanna
    Yeah, I must admit, that junk part was what really attracted my attention. It’s almost as though he thinks game buyers are too stupid to make the difference between a quality product and junk. (Come to think of it, that would fit in perfectly with EA’s catalogue these days, so it’s more like “we don’t want their junk to compete with our junk”.)

  27. Boanerges says:

    The crayon line was inaccurate. It wasn’t anyone who could draw a gun could get funded. That would be silly. It was anyone who could draw a really big freaking gun that people liked. Then they would buy him out and fire off half his staff while telling him to draw more guns.

    That’s the EA way. They’ve probably patented it too so don’t get any ideas.

    @Vetarnias
    Ignoring the GWB comment (the man’s been out of office for a month as of today, give it a rest) there’s a key difference between government and private enterprise: private enterprise involves risking your own neck. You sink or swim under your own power. You can’t print money, you can’t raise taxes and you can’t force people to work for you or buy your stuff. In private enterprise you can only live in a sheltered bubble for a year or so before reality gets in. So if the EA pres is the biggest moron in the world (and the competition for that prize is pretty stiff), as long as he makes money he’s a success. That is basically his job. If he fails, he’s gone and they bring in someone who will do what he wouldn’t. Best pray he stays in, lest his replacement make him look like a saint.

    That having been said, this guy is comedy gold. Why hasn’t anyone told this to, say, John Stewart?

  28. Mist says:

    EA hasn’t been doing so good in the making money department.

  29. Brian J. says:

    There was a joke weapon in the old game “Car Wars” that fired ‘Existential Blue’ crayons. IT made the armor so depressed, that it fell off on it’s own.

    I suppose we could prototype an FPS where different color crayons do different things…

  30. Jeff says:

    @robinhood

    Weird. I could SWEAR Mass Effect has an EA splash during the loading sequence. I bought the PC version, if that makes a difference.

    Maybe I am being naive, but it would seem to be foolish for EA to mess with their Bioware studio. Everything Bioware has touched has become gold. Why fix what isn’t broken?

  31. Please says:

    @Boanerges
    To quote you, “…there’s a key difference between government and private enterprise: private enterprise involves risking your own neck. You sink or swim under your own power. You can’t print money, you can’t raise taxes…”

    You must not be familiar with the current $700+ billion dollar government bail-out program, in the United States, for private enterprises.

  32. Iconic says:

    It’s hard to compete with junk?

    Does he mean it’s hard to compete when you’re producing junk, or it’s hard to compete against it?

    Neither one really makes sense.

  33. EpicSquirt says:

    Good, please keep going EA. I foresee a bright future for games with unique ideas, created micro-economically from independent studios, while EA is releasing junk after junk.

    I like the picture with the “three rules for recession”. Shouldn’t it be “against recession”? (Am not a native English speaker, so bare with me please.)

    What kind of rules are those though? The guy who wrote them, trying to come across smart, should be fired. It’s like writing “1 + 1 = 2” while trying to impress someone with a degree in Mathematics.

    Obviously, if you decide for something, you abdicate something else. Decision-making and abandonment go together. Deciding for something but not investing into it or promoting something else is just not logical, so points 2 and 3 are completely obsolete.

    So we’re down to:

    Decide what is important.

    Wow, thank you EA. It’s like listening to Buddha.

  34. Jeremy Preacher says:

    Re: Mass Effect: EA was the producer for the PC port, hence the branding.

  35. Boanerges says:

    Please :
    You must not be familiar with the current $700+ billion dollar government bail-out program, in the United States, for private enterprises.

    Quite the contrary. I wish I didn’t know half what I know about the bailouts (note the plural, there’s more than one $700B bailout now with a third proposed yesterday). The government is spending money like there is no tomorrow. They’d better hope there isn’t because they are going to have to print money AND raise taxes.

    @EpicSquirt
    No, he has it right. In that fragment, “for” is used to mean “in reference to”. “Three rules against recession” makes no sense. So, put differently, it could have been written “Three rules to use when you find yourself in a recession”. He may have been contradictory and elitist, but you can’t criticize his grammar, sadly.

  36. Vaxhacker says:

    Jeff :
    Maybe I am being naive, but it would seem to be foolish for EA to mess with their Bioware studio. Everything Bioware has touched has become gold. Why fix what isn’t broken?

    You cannot be serious. Remember Bullfrog? Westwood? Maxis? Origin? More recently, DICE and Mythic? The list goes on and on of successful game developers that EA purchased and ran into the ground. The end of Bioware’s run as a creator of great games is just a matter of time.

  37. Eric Kearns says:

    As a former Westwood employee I can tell you EA doesnt always mess with the game development initially… they just bring in “certain” people to fill roles at the newly aquired studio. They plant the right people in the right rolls and bam~! Culture trashed. That’s my opinion of course but I saw some new people come in and make things very different. In the end game development suffered and ultimately that was the final blow. Westwood was a super cool place to work for the years I was there before EA. Very cool culture and a ton of fun.

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