Former Electronic Arts CEO Cautions Sony and MS To Remember Their Core Audience

John Riccitiello is the former CEO of EA, and after all the recent chaos that led to him leaving his post, you’d think he’d keep a low profile for a while. However, he’s resurfaced again with an op-ed at Kotaku concerning the upcoming Xbox and PlayStation consoles wherein he cautions Microsoft and Sony about maintaining a certain focus on gaming with these devices.

“I certainly see the temptation to emphasize all sorts of experiences that these boxes might bring to the living room. These new machines can do a lot”, he wrote. “The risk is that either or both of the new platforms emphasize these ‘value-add’ experiences too much, both in the user interface on the consoles themselves, or in the story they tell consumers when they unleash their avalanche of advertising.”


In other words, it’s all too easy to make a console that tries to do too much and ends up being middling all the way around, when what gamers really want is a terrific console and superb titles. The other stuff is merely peripheral.

Riccitiello also addresses the issue that there are some who think that console gaming as a whole is on its way out, in large part because of the rise of mobile and casual gaming. For the record, he thinks that’s absurd.

Dual Shock
Sony's PS4 Dual Shock controller

He’s right in the sense that mobile gaming is more of a diversion than a serious title that sucks you in and keeps you parked in front of the TV for hours at a time; thus, it’s not a replacement for serious console gaming but is a new thing entirely. (Further, he points out that casual gamers may eventually turn into serious gamers, which means that the advent of mobile games may actually benefit the gaming ecosystem as a whole.)

He also may be right that watering down the gaming capabilities of a console just to cram in more nifty features is a bad strategy. Time will tell, especially as the new Xbox 720 and PlayStation 4 are set to be released soon.