'We Failed Well,' Says EA's John Riccitiello

By Colin Tan on May 23, 2011, 4:18PM EDT
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Recent years have proven to be quite the challenge for publishing giant Electronic Arts, to the point where the company had to decide if they were going to go with the flow of rising social apps and smartphones or stick to their guns.

"We were facing a world going through unbelievable change with the rise of smartphones, social networks, and more recently the iPad," said EA CEO John Riccitiello. "Each of which has turned out to be a platform where gaming is the No. 1 application."

It was a tough challenge as EA had to cut about 1500 jobs earlier last year, noted Riccitiello, who today announced that the company is starting to see the fruits of their labour.

"We knew it would be hard but we had no idea how hard," he said. "We had to do these three hard things when the press and the financial analysts told us we were crazy. That the cutting was great, but the investment in digital was just not a good idea. It proved very hard to hear the negative drumbeat while tackling very hard challenges at work."

"I lost a few friends in the process: smart creative people who just couldn't stomach the transition."

However, EA still has a lot to do before they start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, despite shrinking losses in the past year.

"I wish I could tell you that it has all paid off," he said. "That, like Truman, Jobs and Chambers, we have been fully vindicated. Not yet. Yes, we've had a few wins but there is much more to do.

"I would argue we failed well. We are students of our own failure. We used our failure to shape and impel us to a better strategy. One that we believe that will ultimately succeed in ways that our previous strategy, even if perfectly executed, could never have done... Trust me. Sooner or later, you're going to get knocked on your ass. Will you fold? Or will you fail well?"

Source: IndustryGamers

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