EA CEO: I played WoW, and I liked it!

World of Warcraft really is an irresistible force, with EA CEO John Riccitiello today admitting that he had played “most” MMOs on the market – and that yes, that included spending some time against the Lich King.

John Riccitiello

John Riccitiello, a study in black and white

At today’s Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference, Riccitiello made a statement that would not have been out of place at a meeting for addicts:

“I was once a World of Warcraft player.”

He went on to explain that while he sees Warcraft as one of the “greatest entertainment properties ever built”, he feels that BioWare are going to give the competition a run for its money with Star Wars: The Old Republic. The eagerly-anticipated sci-fi MMO is due out later this year, and boasts an improved technology platform that Riccitiello claims will give the game an edge on the competition.

“Bioware is probably the highest-rated average developer in the history of games and the history of RPGs – which is a pretty good foundation.”

Referring to The Old Republic‘s full voice acting, he rather poetically described the game as the genre’s “first talkie”, compared to Blizzard‘s “silent movie”.

Riccitiello also observed that the MMO market today is flooded with products that mimic World of Warcraft‘s “faux-British dark fantasy” feel, with varying degrees of success. It’s that flood which has inspired BioWare and EA to do something different, sticking with the dark fantasy elements but wrapping them in a sci-fi skin that has proven to be popular.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Are Troopers and Twi'lek the new Orcs and Humans?

The company believes that gamers will happily swap their swords for lightsabers, explaining that:

“We think that’s just enough innovation…
“Lots of people want to live out that Star Wars universe.”

You can catch up with the rest of the EA CEO’s presentation at VG247, where he also observes that the company really “dropped the ball” a few years ago, but are now on the rebound, spurred on by “the strongest intellectual property portfolio by far in the games industry today”, and an increasing focus on digital entertainment and online gaming.


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