Fresh off of a disastrous launch of the newest SimCity, John Riccitiello did what many higher-ups do when something very embarrassing and damaging happens. He quit. Riccitiello took over EA in 2007, and upon joining recognized how predatory the company was before he took over, namely during the 6th generation when EA would simply buy up companies left and right and close them soon afterwards in hopes of not having to compete. In a sense, he helped EA turn a new leaf in the beginning of this generation, ushering in new IPs and taking risks that the gave company investors routine heart attacks. DICE and Visceral Games (then EA Redwood Shores) made Mirror’s Edge and Dead Space, new IP for the company. They helped out Harmonix with ditributing Rock Band and Double Fine with Brutal Legend. EA partners gave smaller devs a chance to be published by a big company without the risk of being absorbed or getting their IP taken. All was good, and I forgave EA for its crimes in the 6th generation. I was liking this new CEO.
That was then. It’s hard to gauge when exactly, but I began to notice EA was up to its old bullshit again. Not the same old bullshit (for the most part), but bullshit that harkened back to the 6th generation. Day 1 DLC, micro-transactions, Online Passes, a lot of corporate meddling in games that didn’t need it, Origin, and the supposed butchering of fan favorite franchises like Dead Space and Mass Effect. With each new infraction, I’d look at EA and go “what the hell are you doing EA?,” fat palm meeting face every time. The last straw was SimCity with its Always-Online DRM and embarrassing launch. As Jim Sterling once said, EA is the worst aspect of many companies rolled up into one.
I was hoping that Riccitiello would notice he was making poor choices, tapping into that same management hindsight he had when he took over EA on 2007, turning the company around and making me a fan again and giving many hope. Unfortunately that didn’t happen. While it’s messed up that he’s leaving EA without fixing the problems his company has made and probably getting a big severance package (like any other CEO), he clearly doesn’t have the ability to fix anything anymore. It’s best that he left, lest he close a company that he can’t fix, like old EA.