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EA's Riccitiello: Recession 'Blessing In Disguise' That Can Clear Away 'Junk'

Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello admits at DICE that even EA "got a little too fat" -- but that the current recession may be a "blessing in disguise" that could lead to "clearing away" some of the "junk" filling gaming shelves.
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, speaking as part of a Gamasutra-attended speech during the DICE Summit in Las Vegas. "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. At least for EA, we got a little too fat, and a little too reliant on where things were." Analysts consider Electronic Arts -- the biggest third-party game publisher in the world -- one of the most obvious cases of disproportionately large development budgets. It recently reported disappointing revenues that couldn't close the gap between the company's mounting operating expenses, and the revenue that its underperforming holiday portfolio brought in. The publisher is now undergoing significant restructuring to reduce its costs, an undertaking the company says will ultimately help it become more profitable. "I’m not pro-recession," EA's Riccitiello was quick to add, "but to quote Rahm Emanuel: never waste a crisis."

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