Activision was thriving even before its bang-up Vivendi merger, and now on the heels of a stock split, the newly-combined company looks like a force to be reckoned with.

So does EA worry about the new competition for top dog? "No," said CEO John Riccitiello. "I think it's a cool company; they make products I like. I like Call of Duty... I don't play much WoW anymore, but I was hooked for a while. And there's no question that I thought Guitar Hero, when it first came out, was an innovative product and one I'd like to play."


"They make some cool products. The fact that the two of them are together, though, doesn't change much for our industry. Comparing stock ticker to stock ticker isn't really what happens."

But that is what happens, to some extent, in our industry driven so strongly by numbers and sales figures. When we asked Riccitiello about this, though, he stressed that can't be the whole story.

"You don't make games profitable on purpose," he said. "You make great games first, and then they are profitable."

"I think that trips up a lot of companies... even EA, at different times, when a company is seeking to make purely a profitable game. Frankly, even when EA was at its peak at the last cycle, we didn't talk a lot about profitability as a goal," Riccitiello said.


"I think it's the beginning of the end when you talk about profitability as your goal. We manage the business intelligently to try and be more profitable, but that's never the primary goal. Bands don't set out to make profitable albums; Pink Floyd didn't say, 'I want to create something that people are going to buy for 20 years so that I can make X amount of money."

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