At the annual DICE conference, EA CEO John Riccitiello gave the keynote speech. It was a pretty straightforward address.

He discussed some of EA’s past failures, where quality buyouts such as Origin were screwed over and died. He attributed that to EA’s desire to put its own stamp on such companies, with terrible results.

Current policy at EA is to have what he called “city-states” with some creative autonomy. Riccitiello also believes that rising costs will bring about more buyouts of smaller companies, and that there isn’t a lot of hope for the “guys in the garage” model.

Of course, EA is a giant company that requires giant profits. Indies can manage with a bit less, although more is always nice. And indies don’t have to worry about keeping the shareholders happy. Personally, I think he hasn’t really looked that closely at the possibilities for the small independent.

However, I think he’s right about the future merging of smaller (like Bioware) with larger (like Activision), and possibly even some of the big ones merging (he seemed to be hinting that).

Anyway, do look over his remarks; they’re interesting.

EA’s Riccitiello on Gamasutra