Longtime readers of Destructoid may know by now that I have a level of quiet respect for EA CEO John Riccitiello, whose statements over his past year as head of the "evil" games company have lent a human, humble and above all, honest face to one of gaming's least trusted entities. With Activision putting EA in second place as a third party publisher, the company has had to learn some humility, and nobody understands that more than its boss.
In one of his boldest statements yet, Riccitiello has actually owned up to one of the company's most hated industry crimes -- the acquisition and destruction of other companies that saw the demise of Bullfrog, Origin and Westwood:
"The command and conquer model, the command and direct model doesn't work," said Riccitiello. He went on to concede that EA's past post-acquisition tactics backfired badly. "Bullfrog, Origin, Westwood--all no longer exist today because something broke. ... and I'll simply state that EA blew it, and to a certain degree, since I was involved, I blew it."
Say what you will about Riccitiello's words, but I can respect that. It's true that his humility may be influenced somewhat by the power of Activision, but I also feel that this man has been very consistent in his outlook and actions for the past year. EA has done some horrible, damaging things to the games industry, that much is true, and I adored Bullfrog especially. However, in EA I see a company that is trying to win back the trust of gamers, and attempting to be a publisher that deserves its place in the industry.
Cynicism is cool and all, especially against the trendy-to-hate corporate powers, but I personally trust John Riccitiello. His plans for current acquisitions like BioWare, giving them freedom and independence, is the right one, and EA's attempts to try new IPs with Army of Two and Dead Space hold promise. Perhaps the man's taking me for a fool, but for now, my respect for him remains unbroken.
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