Posted Wed Sep 18, 2013 at 11:30 AM PDT by Brian Hoss
New head guy could lead to other key departures.
Despite operating half of 2013 without a CEO, Electronic Art's long search is over, and the result suggests one thing, EA is seeking a stronger corporate identity. EA, like multiple other software and tech companies, has a fundamental problem when it comes to choosing CEO, picking a person whose identity is associated with the company and has a positive connotation. The alternative, like say, Peter Moore, is CEO who brings baggage to the job and may already be spying his or her next head role at the next headless company.
Thus, new CEO, Andrew Wilson, who has been with EA for thirteen years, and has been associated closely with the company's best recent success as executive VP of EA Sports, appears to be a mix of company man, and money maker. The move up leaves EA Sports head position open, but more importantly, signals that EA is fully committing to whale hunting.
EA has in recent years managed to parlay successful franchises such as 'FIFA' into micro-transaction mints, and done so without the ire normally associated with DLC. In so doing, EA has identified that their whale customers are willing to commit funds for random shots at DLC, and that with this business model each microtransaction is made with little risk of failure associated with launching a new title that sits on shelves before winding up in the bargain bin.
At the same time, abandoning poor moves like online passes and 'Warfighter', while advancing smarter plans such as adding Mac Support to Origin and developing a next-gen sports engine and brand, Ignite, has allowed the "worst company" to salvage some of its unrealized potential.
Of course, other potential CEO candidates, such as COO Peter Moore and EA Labels boss Frank Gibeau, may not be stick around after being passed over.
Wilson's job then, is to identify where next EA will be able to glacially make in-roads. Whether that means an Ultimate Team for a new 'Star Wars: Battlefront' title, or further retention through spin-off of developers like Criterion, EA hope to that Wilson can be the corporate face of successly rather than blunderous moves.
Author: Brian Hoss
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