Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello Resigns Amid Disastrous ‘SimCity’ Launch

Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello has resigned, effective March 30th. This comes after EA’s SimCity had one of the most botched game launches ever caused by their always-on DRM, which the company claimed was needed for gameplay (Liar whore, liar whore!). Although the game was still financially successful, selling 1.1 million copies, EA is nonetheless falling well below estimates for its earnings per share this quarter. The company is expected to announce earnings of 57 cents per share. They had expected to earn 72 cents per share.

John Riccitiello said in memos obtained by The Wall Street Journal, “My decision to leave EA is really all about my accountability for the shortcomings in our financial results this year. It currently looks like we will come in at the low end of, or slightly below, the financial guidance we issued to the Street, and we have fallen short of the internal operating plan we set one year ago. And for that, I am 100 percent accountable.”

EA’s stock has fallen 60% in value since Riccitiello became CEO in 2007. During that time, EA’s mismanagement of the SimCity launch was only one of many problems. Star Wars: The Old Republic underperformed, leading EA to make it a free-to-play game. EA also didn’t release any NBA games for three years in a row due to management setbacks.

Executive chairman Larry Probst, who was EA’s CEO from 1991 to 2007, is acting as the CEO until a permanent replacement is selected. I would make some schadenfreude-filled joke about this, but hearing about people losing their job totally bums me out. So instead I photoshopped John Riccitiello holding a giant sandwich for some reason.

This has been John Riccitiello and a giant sandwich. Thank you, and good day.

[Sources: Joystiq, Ars Technica, and WSJ. Thanks to JP for the tip.]