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EA's Riccitiello Sees Pause In Console 'Arms Race,' Prepared For 'Very Extended' Console Cycle

Electronic Arts is prepared for a "very extended" current console cycle, CEO John Riccitiello said today, although he expects the market to continue offering subtler new evolutions on hardware.
Electronic Arts is prepared for a "very extended" current console cycle, CEO John Riccitiello said today. On the company's quarterly results call to investors, Lazard Capital Markets analyst Colin Sebastian asked Riccitiello, via indirect reference, to weigh in on recent comments made by Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot warning publishers to start investing in future platforms or risk being left behind. "I think there's always going to be new aspects.. new handhelds, new peripherals, new things coming out that invite investment from companies like ours," Riccitiello conceded. "[There is an] increased rate of change provided for by the first parties... look at the iPhone... [it's] a new platform in the handheld industry." "If you're looking for good solid reasons for investing in R&D against new platforms, the market is providing us that," he said. But to Riccitiello, that doesn't mean a new console cycle in the traditional sense is imminent. "However, I would point out that what traditionally is viewed as a new platform is when the industry steps forward with... more processing power traditionally married to different choices [of] media... cartridge, CD, or DVD," the CEO said. "Those big changes are not something we're seeing the need for in the immediate term, and nor do we expect that in the medium term," he added. "I think that arms race... I can never say that it's done, but the relevance of doing that faster and faster... seems to have subsided. We're projecting, relative to the core tech we develop, for [this] to be a very extended cycle."

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