EA is doing it all wrong, says former exec

Lasky reckons Dante's won't save 'em.

Former Electronic Arts exec Mitch Lasky has taken a pop at his old employers, claiming they've got it all wrong when it comes to, well, everything.

Lasky, who used to be in charge of EA's mobile and online business, reckons the publisher has failed to evolve in a rapidly changing market. He wrote on his blog: "EA is in the wrong business, with the wrong cost structure and the wrong team, but somehow they seem to think that it is going to be a smooth, two-year transition from packaged goods to digital. Think again."

According to Lasky, "EA's sports business has been hamstrung by vastly increased licensing costs and failure to transition to a subscription/variable pricing model. This has substantially reduced the profitability of a business that EA used to rely on to fund other, riskier bets."

The ex-exec is even resistant to the charms of silver-haired CEO boss John Riccitiello, declaring that his policy of creating new IP for the EA Games label has been "by far the greatest failure". Lasky reckons forthcoming titles such as Dante's Inferno are unlikely to fly off the shelves either.

"It's been a very ugly scene, indeed. From Spore, to Dead Space, to Mirror's Edge, to Need for Speed: Undercover, it's been one expensive commercial disappointment for EA Games after another," Lasky wrote. "Not to mention the shut-down of Pandemic, half of the justification for EA's $850MM acquisition of Bioware-Pandemic. And don't think that Dante's Inferno, or Knights of the Old Republic, is going to make it all better. It's a bankrupt strategy."

Earlier in the week EA lowered its financial forecasts for the full year, blaming poor boxed product sales in Europe and low margins in its EA Partners distribution business.

"Don't believe this is the end of the bleeding," added Lasky, who noted that the company could be ripe for takeover, even going so far as to drag up the long-rumoured Disney acquisition talk.

"With EA's enterprise value down below $4 billion, it's remarkable that nobody has stepped in to put them out of their misery with an acquisition. Certainly, Disney has been looking at them since I was at the house of the mouse back in the early nineties. And there are Chinese companies, like TenCent, that could easily swallow EA whole."

He added: "It's equally amazing that the board continues to support the existing management team through this debacle." Gosh.

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