Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello spoke in a candid interview with CNBC's Julia Boorstin about the current financial status of the company and responded as to why its stock had hit a 52-month low. He also answers an inquiry on the lagging subscription numbers for Star Wars: The Old Republic with a controversial response.
Riccitiello believes that there is a disconnect between what investors perceive about the game industry and where it is actually growing. In particular, he blames the dependence on NPD sales figures by analysts, since it only considers packaged sales without looking at digital sales. He also sees video games becoming more like services that last all-year round with DLC content and continuous support.
As for the state of Star Wars: The Old Republic, he sees the switch to a free-to-play model as a business decision rather than any failing on the part of the game's content:
We had indicated in the last earnings call which was eleven weeks ago, that there was some softness in Star Wars. Our conclusion was that we had a great product in Star Wars, but that the subscription model in a world of free-to-play was challenging, which is why we announced in July the first 15 levels [that] are free-to-play.
What's exciting about content as great as the Star Wars content is when we expose it to people, they really want it. And so, we've begun to work with different models to bring more users into the game.
I don't think it's a concern for now.