EA’s CEO has an inkling as to one reason why Activision stole their glory

Remember the other day when we reported that Activision broke Electronic Arts’ decade-long stranglehold on third-party dominance? Well EA’s CEO, John Riccitiello, certainly took notice — and fully understands at least one reason for that unexpected fall. During EA’s annual shareholder meeting, John acknowledged in a question and answer session their strategic mistake in underestimating just how popular the Nintendo Wii was going to be:

“The [hardware] transition has been a lot harder” than EA expected. Unfortunately we backed a little bit on the wrong horse in focusing so much on PS3 and Xbox 360, and [by focusing] to a lesser degree on the Wii.”

Intrigued yet? There’s plenty more where this came from, after the jump.

After spending enough time focusing on their own shortcomings, John Riccitiello went on to say that they weren’t alone in their miscalculations, and had plenty of company to cozy up with:

“Let me assure you that almost all of us in the industry made the same judgment – after so many transitions guessing exactly right, we got this one a little bit wrong, and we’re dealing with it now with strong investments on the Wii.”

Company that is, excluding Ubisoft. In a nod to the success the French developer garnered from its aggressive run on both the DS and Wii, John responded that Ubisoft’s financial results were reflective of how things could have been for EA — had they done likewise. 

Ignoring the need to appease shareholders’ short term interests for the moment, it should prove interesting to look back on this years from now and see if suddenly pouring their resources into the Wii was indeed the best long-term investment. On one side we have people who say gameplay is really all that matters, and that the way the Wiimote enables you to interact with the games will keep the platform fresh.

On the other are critics who argue that the Wii’s graphics will look archaic next to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in just a few years. Will the Wii start to lose steam over time, making this only a minor bump in the road back to the top for EA, and should Electronic Arts continue to bank on Sony and Microsoft as having the real staying power in the future?

Will Nintendo continue to mop the floor with the other two, reinforcing the notion that they have the winning platform that most people want — and developers should hedge their bets accordingly? Luckily for us, we only need to sit back and enjoy the games while the other guys like EA sort this out for themselves.

[Via Gamasutra]

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