EA: 'We blew it with Bullfrog, Westwood'

CEO John Riccitiello admits EA made serious mistakes swallowing up well-known developers

Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello has admitted that the company "blew it" when it decided to swallow up stellar PC developers Bullfrog and Westwood.

"We at EA blew it, and to a degree I was involved in these things, so I blew it," Riccitiello said at the DICE Summit in Las Vegas. "When I talked to the creators that populated these companies at the time, they felt like they were buried and stifled.

"The command and conquer model doesn't work," noted Riccitiello. "If you think you're going to buy a developer and put your name on the label... you're making a profound mistake."

EA bought out Peter Molyneux's Bullfrog, creators of Theme Park and Populous in 1995, soon after Molyneux had left. The same fate landed on Command & Conquer developer Westwood Studios.

Riccitiello blames EA's choice to force its management structure on the acquired developer, which he says serious hampered their creative freedom.

Fortunately, the boss promises the same fate won't become of recently acquired BioWare and Pandemic, who he says EA is doing its best to preserve the "company culture".

"It seems to be working," Riccitiello added. "I think we are on a good track."

It's nice that EA's finally been able to come out and admit botched acquisitions, and for that we give them kudos. It's a shame they couldn't have done it ten years ago, though.

[Source: Wired]