EA CEO is already playing Spore

August 2, 2007

Today’s quarterly earnings report from Electronic Arts failed to mention “Spore“, the next highly anticipated game from “Sims” creator Will Wright. Last quarter, EA said it was delaying the launch of the title, which is shaping up to be the ultimate “God game” that lets you guide the evolution of protozoa from being just another ingredient in the primordial soup to masters of a galaxy-spanning civilization.

A Wall Street analyst noticed the omission and asked CEO John Riccitiello if the game was still on track to launch next spring.

“(EA Games chief) Frank (Gibeau) and I are both dying to take the question because we’re both playing and enjoying the product a great deal, so I would say the great news is what we’ve got now is coming together as one of those break-through products that might come across the industry every three, five, seven years,” Riccitiello said.

“We could not be more bullish about the potential for the franchise than we are right now. Right now, as we mentioned in our call the last time, it is sort of squarely targeting against March, April, May of next year. Intellectual properties like this and games like these are so large and so complex that we chose not to put in our fiscal year guidance because these days are pretty hard to predict, and the outcomes can be volatile. We will make the choice of shipping a better game than an on-time game given the high potential for this franchise, so our best guess right now is Q1 of next fiscal, but we’re not actually providing guidance for next fiscal at this point.” 

Other games singled out by executives were “Rock Band“, which was cited as a key reason behind EA’s increased revenue forecast for the year, and “Madden NFL 08“, which based on buzz may be the strongest showing in years for the long-standing franchise.

EA Games chief Frank Gibeau: “In terms of how preorders are tracking with Madden, we’re about two weeks out from our street date, and we’re feeling really good about the momentum behind the title and the launch. We believe the product quality is extremely high and the buzz right now based on how we’re reading the market is tremendous. We won best sports game at E3 which we think will help give us a boost over the finish line. We’re on track to deliver well north of over half a million preorders, and while we don’t get too specific on the exact total, we feel really good about that number and it is going to be the biggest launch of the year so far.”

(Photo taken from Wikipedia entry on “Spore”)

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