EA has recognised the money to be made in the social gaming sector, and is currently ranked as the number two in Facebook gaming. However, CEO John Riccitiello knows that there is an extremely wide gap between first and second place, and his company needs to work harder to narrow the distance.
Riccitiello admits that EA isn’t putting enough time or effort into the social gaming business, putting them very far behind main competitor Zynga.
“When it comes to Facebook, while we’re number two, I’d say we’re a distant number two. I mean, the other guys have lapped us three times,” he said.
EA has seen success in the industry with Sims Social, but Riccitiello believes that not even powerhouse Zynga is taking the correct approach to social gaming. According to the EA CEO, the focus needs to shift from data-management to pure entertainment.
Talking of Zynga and other competition he says, “They’re not really in the entertainment business. I think that will eventually die. Consumers want to be entertained; they don’t want to be data managed.”
This doesn’t mean Riccitiello is off big-data entirely, looking to adopt revolutionary new approaches to social gaming in the near future. According to EA’s chief technology officer Rajat Taneja, this approach will “apply techniques like machine learning and neural nets, to figure out what will happen next so that we can tailor the game and experiences to delight our customers.”
The CEO isn’t short on ambition, saying, “We would like to be number one in every possible area, in every geography. That’s a grand ambition. We’re not there yet.” Watch your back Farmville.