Gamasutra: The Art & Business of Making Gamesspacer
View All     RSS
October 23, 2014
arrowPress Releases
October 23, 2014
PR Newswire
View All





If you enjoy reading this site, you might also want to check out these UBM Tech sites:


Riccitiello: Prioritizing Profits Can Be 'The Beginning Of An End'
Riccitiello: Prioritizing Profits Can Be 'The Beginning Of An End' Exclusive
October 21, 2008 | By Leigh Alexander

October 21, 2008 | By Leigh Alexander
Comments
    14 comments
More: Console/PC, Exclusive



The music game battle between Rock Band and Guitar Hero: World Tour set to start this holiday season kicks off one of gaming's largest rivalries yet, and Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello is looking forward to it.

"Those rivalries are fun for people," he told Gamasutra in a recent interview. "It invests meaning in something that is inherently sort of frivolous and fun."

So what determines the edge in the rhythm game battle? "I think it's increasingly coming down to what songs, what artists are aligned with a particular product," Riccitiello said. "I happen to think that the Rock Band software is tighter, with Rock Band 2. But I think reviewers seem to give the edge to Rock Band."

Riccitiello declined to comment on the recent war of words between Activision CEO Bobby Kotick and Warner Music CEO Edgar Bronfman over who should pay who song royalties for video games.

But nobody plays Guitar Hero in the EA boss' neighborhood, he says. "My kids are the alpha gamers of the town. And I'm sure that whatever part of Beverly Hills Bobby Kotick lives in is a Guitar Hero neighborhood -- to the degree that they play games up there."

And Riccitiello feels that playing games, at least to some extent, is important to working in the industry. "Every now and then, I get an app for someone who wants to build video games, or market them... and they say they don't play them."

"I do think it would be amazing for someone to apply for a job with a newspaper who doesn’t read papers, or work at a Hollywood studio and not watch movies. I suppose it’s possible, but it is a little odd."

"I think companies go through cycles," Riccitiello adds. "The motivation to excecute on any form of media… you can seek to make profits, and then you'll make the most profitable games you can… or you can seek to make great games that are profitable."

"I tend to think you need to get a balance of both. The only thing that sustains itself is to make great entertainment, and great entertainment is profitable."

Riccitiello says that at any point in time, the quickest way to increase profits on a 24-month period is to cut research and development in the near term. "And companies go through cycles where they are on the drug of profits," he adds.

"They go through cycles... where profits rise, where all they do is pay attention to the Wall Street Journal and the [Financial Times], because they're very profitable, and that becomes a drug in and of itself. They'll do whatever they can to make that go further."

"That can be the beginning of an end," warns Riccitiello -- who readily admits when asked that EA has had similar problems in recent years that it's endeavoring to correct.

"I've not only seen it, I've experienced it," he notes. "I do think that I understand sort of the ebb and flow of these things."


Related Jobs

Demiurge Studios, Inc.
Demiurge Studios, Inc. — Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
[10.23.14]

Senior Software Engineer
CCP
CCP — Newcastle, England, United Kingdom
[10.23.14]

Senior Backend Programmer
Guerrilla Games
Guerrilla Games — Amsterdam, Netherlands
[10.23.14]

Animation System Programmer
Nexon America, Inc.
Nexon America, Inc. — El Segundo, California, United States
[10.22.14]

Localization Coordinator










Comments


Sean Parton
profile image
I suppose it's a bit biased that the publisher for one of the band sims says he doesn't know of anyone who plays his competition in his neighbourhood, but oh well. The rest of his comments are interesting, though.



Offtopic:"Rocket Man"? Really?



Gamasutra cuts anonymous commenting, and this is what we get? I'd rather have random trolls post as Anon then remind me of No More Heroes bosses.

Benjamin Quintero
profile image
I just realized that the Anon option was gone?!?



Anyways, I thought Rocket Man was a reference to the Japanese version of Mega Man.. Or was that Rock Man.. I don't recall now.

Chris Remo
profile image
Just a reminder to our commenters:



We no longer allow anonymous commenting, which effectively means we do not allow pseudonymous commenting either -- in spirit, they are identical.



Thanks!

Sean Parton
profile image
Yarr, now I look like a fool...

Jason Brau
profile image
Couldn't agree more with this article.



Intrinsically some things which maximize revenue come with adverse consequences on game quality. (For example, Guitar Hero's last generation push toward in-game advertising.)



It's a careful balance act lest ye burn your bridges with the fanbase.

Benjamin Quintero
profile image
Hmm, I'm not sure I completely agree with the removal of Anon =(. I understand that it's the easiest way to avoid trolls and haters but you are not likely to receive meaningful comments on the hard hitting topics that could get someone fired. I can think of several meaningful conversations that took place in the comment fields on EA Spouse, or labor laws, or topics on discrimination in the workplace that would have never happened without Anon as a tool for people to speak their mind without "unrelated" retaliation from their employers.



That kind of bothers me a little... There certainly could have been a better solution to this.

Brandon Sheffield
profile image
"I do think it would be amazing for someone to apply for a job with a newspaper who doesn’t read papers, or work at a Hollywood studio and not watch movies. I suppose it’s possible, but it is a little odd."



I agree completely! Hello marketing departments!

Sean Parton
profile image
@Jason: Personally, I don't know how the in-game advertising affected anything. I didn't know any of the brands, but I was amused that they were there. Can you remark how in any way in game advertising adversely affected gameplay?



@Benjamin: I agree with you there. I'm not sure how we could discuss a solution without polluting comments for new articles, though.



@brandon: I don't think I agree with your remark. To get a job in marketing, you'd need to go through an interview, which is effectively marketing yourself for the position. That, in and of itself, is a test related to your position, and doing it well shows you can probably market well too (though like in anything, tests only show so much).

Brandon Sheffield
profile image
Sean - you can not agree if you want, but most marketing folk I've met don't know a casual game from an mmo from an fps, let alone any kind of detail about any game ever, aside from possibly Tetris. I do not agree that marketing games is the same skill as marketing yourself. You know what your qualities are, so you can sell that to people. If you don't know what games' good qualities are, how can you market that?

Lorenzo Wang
profile image
The ultimate winner of the rhythm games battle will come down to who democratizes note-charting for any song. This is both dependent on note-charting tools and distribution, as well as having a kind of iTunes for tracks. Whoever makes it further down this path will do the best I think.

Brandon Sheffield
profile image
lorenzo - the problem there is the game company would effectively have to purchase the license for "all songs," because since the game would be based on the song, it would be considered part of the game. This would be possible via itunes perhaps because of the user agreement apple has. On consoles, maybe on the 360, because of Microsoft's song-switching agreement?

Sean Parton
profile image
@Lorenzo: Not likely to happen, mostly due to the fact that it involves the game developing/game publishing companies losing their stranglehold on the creation of tracks. This is further exacerbated by music publishers who would demand the songs taken down for not paying royalties. This is why Guitar Hero: World Tour's music creation tools are not very robust, and why Activision says they will pull copyrighted music off their servers when people post them.



@Brandon: "most marketing folk I've met" is anecdotal evidence, and as such isn't a very good point of reference. I can easily say the opposite, does that counter your argument?

Brandon Sheffield
profile image
If the majority of marketing people you've met know about games, you're in a good spot. My anecdotal evidence is supported by the anecdotal evidence of a whooooole lot of developers!

J Benjamin Hollman
profile image
I'd say the recent influx of Anon trolls is a side effect of games journalism blogs such as Kotaku posting more and more links to industry-side articles, many of which come from Gamasutra, as opposed to sticking to their usual comsumer-side coverage.



The commenters from those sites aren't used to the kind of discussion that normally goes on in these comments, and think that it's okay to flame, bicker and troll, all anonymously. I've seen several commenters express confusion and disappointment that they had to sign up with this "IGDA thing" in order to post their thoughts.



I suppose it's just the double-edged sword of capturing the attention of a different, much broader audience. In the end it can't be such a bad thing that the industry's journalists are finally trying to get their audience interested in the craft and ethics of their entertainment.


none
 
Comment: