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July 12th, 2012, 16:35
GameFront is reporting that EA CEO John Riccitiello could be replaced early next month; RUMOR: EA CEO John Riccitiello to be Removed, Peter Moore to Step In. GameFront's post is based on information from "an anonymous source close to the matter", who said that although Riccitiello's departure isn't "set in stone", EA is operating in a tense environment due to falling stock prices. The uncertainty over Riccitiello's future is likely to have a negative impact on BioWare, however it plays out.

EA stock has now lost half of it's total value since last November. The decline can't be attributed solely to generally poor economic conditions, as EA is underperforming both the technology sector (NASDAQ), and its closest game industry rivals, Activision Blizzard and Take Two. (Stock Ticker: Why EA's Market Valuation Has Crashed, Gamesindustry International)

Although EA is a huge enterprise with many holdings, analysts have tied EA's stock decline to BioWare's SWTOR. The GamesIndustry analysis, above, correlated the time frame of EA's stock woes to SWTOR. ("Firstly, there's Star Wars: The Old Republic. EA's stock price went into decline after The Old Republic's launch, and hasn't recovered yet - and that timing is unlikely to be a coincidence.")

A different analyst pins any possible EA stock turnaround on SWTOR. ("Where does EA go from here? That will depend, in large part, on the long-term success of The Old Republic. If subscribers stick around, EA could finally have the stable cash flow needed to push back against Activision's dominance." How Far Can Electronic Arts Fall? The Motley Fool)

Whether SWTOR is or is not responsible for EA's financial performance essentially doesn't matter at this point. Riccitiello or his successor will have to make some sort of change in SWTOR in response to the link between analysts' confidence in SWTOR and EA stock prices. Which brings us back to BioWare.

Despite gamers' belief to the contrary, Riccitiello has given BioWare essentially free reign in handling SWTOR. But that's likely to change. SWTOR might be removed from the BioWare management portfolio. That would prevent BioWare from shuttling staff to SWTOR between projects as we have seen recently and could threaten job security for staff across the board at BioWare.

Riccitiello's uncertain furture could hurt BioWare in numerous other ways. Any corporate shakeup would likely result in a long hard look at BioWare's performance over the past two years — which has been less than stellar. Bad publicity over ME3 and DA2 would almost certainly impact poorly in any corporate review of BioWare.

EA's John Riccitiello or his successor will have to do something to reinvigorate stock market confidence in EA. IMO, BioWare is likely to be caught in the fallout.

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Last edited by RPGFool; July 12th, 2012 at 16:53.
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