Ina Fried

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Electronic Arts CEO: Consumers Won’t Pay for Crap

Game maker Electronic Arts says that social gaming is evolving, not dying.

Speaking at a conference Friday, CEO John Riccitiello said that the boom of social gaming was overhyped, but its decline is being overplayed, as well. Companies such as Zynga weren’t as brilliant as they were made out to be a few months ago, but things aren’t as bad as current headlines would have one believe.

“The companies that are now suffering will have another day,” Riccitiello said.

There are some lessons that all game makers can take away from the current challenges of social gaming. First and foremost, Riccitiello said, “consumers won’t pay for crap.”

Great gaming, he said, starts with truly good entertainment, not viral marketing involving spamming your friends to get a shovel.

Riccitiello said that there are some truly great free-to-play social games out there, including some from rivals. He pointed to a competitor’s game — Dragonvale — as well as to EA’s own Simpsons-themed Tapped Out game.

To highlight his point, he called on a truly unbiased reviewer, showing a video clip of Homer Simpson tapping away on a tablet.

“This game is life-ruiningly fun,” Homer says.


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