Electronic Arts' CEO Talks Stock Lows, Future of Gaming
CNBC Media and Entertainment Reporter
Electronic Arts stock is trading around a 52-week low, but Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello tells me that the fundamental problem is not with the company, but with investors understanding its business.
I sat down with Riccitiello for an exclusive interview at Fortune's Brainstorm Tech conference, where he said he's in the process of shifting EA from being about packaged goods to digital revenues.
The industry's focus on NPD's packaged game sales numbers is misguided, and overlooks the massive growth the company's seeing in digital revenue, Riccitiello said.
With a number of social and mobile gaming acquisitions in its arsenal, EA said it has found success on the Facebook social games platform, as well as Apple's games store. One key weapon in EA's arsenal is its scale — a quarter of a billion consumers move through its networks. It mines all that data of which games all those people play to drive them to other EA titles.
What about EA's exposure to Europe? Riccitiello said they're not seeing any softness translate to game sales: People may skip a vacation but they'll stay home and play video games.
One place we will see economic weakness have an impact is on M+A in the space. EA has made a slew of acquisitions over the past few years, but Riccitiello pointed out that while gaming stocks have come way down, the valuations of gaming startups are still sky high. But he said they don't need to make acquisitions to compete with Zynga , which is increasingly what he's focused on.
Watch the full interview in the video clip.
— By CNBC's Julia Boorstin
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