CEO John Riccitiello has resigned from his post after six years as the top man and the previous seven as COO. In all, Riccitiello has been with the company since 1997, but he’s leaving under a cloud. The company missed its financial goals of the last year and also this quarter, but most will point to the ill-fated launch of SimCity
as the reason that he’s leaving--or at least, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
The launch of SimCity earlier this month was a total fiasco from start to finish, top to bottom. EA and its subsidiary Maxis
did not have the back end ready for the online game, and the company’s servers crashed under the weight of its many paying customers. Plenty of people posited that a simple solution would be to let gamers play offline to relieve the server burden; EA/Maxis lied and said that such capabilities were not feasible
, when in reality the move simply didn’t fit with the company’s vision. Then, they were caught
lying about it.
The Wall Street Journal reproduced Riccitiello’s farewell to EA’s employees as well as his resignation letter to (new) executive chairman Larry Probst. The resignation letter reads in part:
This is a tough decision, but it all comes down to accountability. The progress EA has made on transitioning to digital games and services is something I’m extremely proud of. However, it currently looks like we will come in at the low end of, or slightly below, the financial guidance we issued in January, and we have fallen short of the internal operating plan we set one year ago. EA’s shareholders and employees expect better and I am accountable for the miss.
After such a debacle as SimCity, heads will predictably roll, and sometimes as in this case, that head belongs to the leader of the company--especially when the financials aren’t looking so hot to begin with.
Riccitiello will leave EA at the end of the month. The company will then begin looking for a permanent replacement.