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DICE 08: Riccitiello warns against consolidation, says EA 'blew it'


EA CEO John Riccitiello took the stage during the final day of DICE to preach a doctrine of, well, basically: the exact opposite of everything EA has been doing for the past 15 years. In late 1992, EA gobbled up Origin, and then it was Bullfrog in '95, followed by Westwood in '98, and so and so forth, leading right up to the acquisition of BioWare and Pandemic Studios last October. "We at EA blew it," said Riccitiello, speaking to the woeful fates of those early, and once top-tier developers after they became part of the EA 'family.' Lesson learned, apparently.

Riccitiello highlighted "creative failure" as the most telling outcome of consolidation (Hello Activision!) and urged the industry to follow examples set by studios like Rockstar, Valve and Blizzard, who have succeeded by remaining autonomous within the corporate umbrella (Riccitiello used the analogy of "city-states"). Overall, Riccitiello's was a promising message of awareness and change from EA -- at the least, reassurance that BioWare will never be relegated to Madden duty under his watch.

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