Kristian Segerstrale, the EA executive who was in charge of leading the company into a games-as-a-service era, has just left the company. CEO John Riccitiello just announced it in an internal memo and said that EA COO Peter Moore is taking on his responsibilities.
Segerstrale came into EA through its $400 million acquisition of Playfish, a social games developer that he co-founded with a high school friend Sebastien de Halleux.
That deal was a watershed moment for the social gaming industry and an acknowledgment that virtual goods and currencies could represent a significant new revenue model for the industry. Disney quickly followed on with a $750 million deal to buy Facebook games developer Playdom. Although Zynga has had a rocky year following its debut as a public company, most of the largest and highest-grossing developers on iOS and Android employ a free-to-play model that includes purchases of virtual currencies and goods.
Segerstrale was leading the charge on moving EA into this world where games are not sold as $50 or 60 dollar products off shelves, but instead are services that people subscribe to or pay for through virtual goods and currencies.
Internally, it’s not a terribly surprising move. His co-founders Halleux and Sami Lababidi left in early 2011, while Segerstale chose to take on the challenge of moving an older, more bureaucratic gaming company with a market cap of more than $5 billion into a world where games are free-to-play. Riccitiello says that Segerstrale is going back into the world of startups, but we don’t have more details on his next move at this time.
FROM JOHN RICCITIELLO
Today, we are announcing Kristian Segerstrale’s departure from EA, and the consolidation of the digital publishing, marketing and Origin groups that make up EA Digital to report to our COO, Peter Moore.
Kristian has elected to return to the world of start-ups where we first met him. I want to thank Kristian for the vision and tireless energy that he invested to help make EA Digital what it is today: a highly-efficient and digitally-tuned operation unlike anything else in the gaming industry. Kristian’s contributions strengthened EA and we wish him well in the future.
With the move of the EA Digital teams under Peter’s direction, he will now have responsibility for all of EA’s revenues globally – packaged goods and digital. Aligning the EA Digital groups in Peter’s organization, which already includes Global Publishing, EA Global Media Solutions, Worldwide Customer Experience and Mobile and Social Publishing, gives us greater focus on how we can use digital tools to accelerate revenue growth and improve the customer journey across all of our business.
Congratulations to the people and teams that helped build EA Digital into a game-changing asset for our business – I look forward to seeing your efforts continue to help shape how EA leads this increasingly digital industry. And congratulations to Peter Moore as he steps up to take on new responsibilities at EA, and lead this exciting new chapter in our business.