A (relatively) short description of J.Ricitiello's EA tenure from a gamer.
John Ricitiello was responsible for the "Borg" tactic of EA's earlier years when he was a COO, a short-term strategy that although led to fast growth in the begining was extremely short-sighted and collapsed quickly, almost destroying EA. Although, because he had left to found Elevation Partners, the board of directors, completely out of touch with reality, decided to hire their previous COO, who was in fact responsible for the tactic that created the problem in the beginning, to serve again this time as CEO. From their he just told them what every gamer in the world knew: That the talent acquired by EA should be used instead of being destroyed just to not be able to compete with EA, and reorganized the company in a city-state model. He didn't have any kind of impressive foresight, but because he is a gamer too he understood what everyone knew but EA management refused to listen because for them the general public are petty idiots, and so held Ricitello as a messiah. Then Ricitiello tried to present himself to the general public as a savor, who would save EA and gamers by changing the company's tactics (which as noted he was in fact in large part responsible for but not many people knew that outside of EA, because the focus naturally always go solely to the CEO), and said characteristically that "Gamers have crowned a new evil empire" (meaning Activision) and implied that EA wouldn't follow their previous (and now Activision's lead). He also promised DRM-free games starting with The Sims 3. Both of these statements were bluffs. DRM-free EA didn't last long and SecuRom was reincorporated to The Sims starting with the "Generations" expansions pack, and the company rightfully reclaimed it's title of "Evil Empire" from Activision after copying and even worsening the last one's discussionable tactics. . He even said that he would "see pirates as a new market". That was closer to the truth. He said that he would try to sell to them DLCs and Add-on content. Of course we didn't know that by that he meant e.g. cut content from the original games as zero-day DLC, and furniture by piece in The Sims 3 at the Sims store. He actually wanted to sell add-on content to the pirates and the legit customers alike, forgetting (or not caring) that the latter had already paid for a full game And particularly in the Sims 3 you can see what Ricitiello’s method really is: A base game with half-content than The Sims 2, a motive also followed by TS3's more expensive and less content-filled expansions (Actually I have found content from the original Sims 2 sold at the Sims 3 store, only remodeled in TS3 graphics. Exact same couch). Similar tactics can be found more or less in all EA games, everyone can think of their personal favorites (ex. Spore, C&C) . Fast-forward to now and this tactic proved as short-sighted as the previous "Assimilation and destruction". EA has the almost unanimous hatred of the gaming community, to the point that people just refuse to buy or pirate it's games as “a means of revenge”. Powerful franchises have been destroyed (e.g. C&C), weakened by disappointing their longtime fans ( e.g. The Sims, or Dead Space and Bioware titles) or even have had their wings cut beofore their launch (e.g Spore). In all this mess stocks have been going down and down in spite of the (too heavy and intrusive) new monetization methods. SimCity is a prime example of EA's DRM practices (whatever happened to "DRM-free John?). The company is standing on the love that it's franchises have gained mostly for their !previous! iterations, and that love is being destroyed piece by piece. Furthermore, J. Ricitiello has made EA enter almost every and any market that is related to video games (Mobile Games, Online Facebook-style games, F2P,Digital Distribution,), but in the process has forgotten to really focus and innovate on any of them, making them multiple ways to fail instead of multiple ways to succeed, as he intended. In short, Ricitiello's short-sighted techniques and lack of real passion and focus have made his EA tenure a failure, both in the eye's of shareholders and gamers. A hard combination. Sure it is hard sometimes to keep balance between customer and shareholder happiness, but that's why a company needs a CEO, that's his job. But John Ricitiello was just so focused on numbers and shareholders, that he forgot that he actually needed customers too, and so in the end failing in both aspects.