EA: We “dropped the ball” when current generation came in

EA seem to be involved in every nook and cranny of the gaming industry today, from AAA console titles to smaller mobile games. But they’ll be the first to admit that they haven’t always had such a grasp on the current generation of consoles.

CEO John Riccitiello recently admitted that: “Through this last transition to the PS3 era, Xbox 360, Wii – for a whole bunch of reasons that aren’t worth getting into in a short answer, I think it’s fair to say we dropped the ball. Our IP deteriorated, our costs went up, and we didn’t really have an answer for the rise of digital.”

Things have changed though. EA are behind some of the biggest releases of this generation, both digital and disc-based. “Over the last three years, we’ve made a dramatic number of changes,” Riccitiello continued, “which can be described as part turnaround, part transformation. The turnaround has been cutting our title slate in half and dramatically strengthening our intellectual property portfolio. I think we have the strongest IP portfolio, by far, in the industry today.

“At the same time we have been managing costs aggressively and we have built a leading position, a broad base, in digital gaming. Whether it’s mobile, strength in social networks, microtransaction-based services, game services. This past year, we recorded over $700 million in purely digital revenue streams.”

You can expect to see EA continue being pretty much everywhere through 2011, then.