EA CEO champions laser-like focus on making games

When John Riccitiello took over as CEO of Electronic Arts last year, many thought he was just the man to get the video game giant out of its rut. In some ways, Riccitiello has already delivered. He has reorganized EA's product lines, brought in a fresh management team, shifted development resources to Nintendo's Wii and emphasized game quality and innovation. Under his direction, the company bought a couple of game studios he ran before coming to EA and made a high-profile bid for Take-Two Interactive, the company behind the "Grand Theft Auto" game series.

But the moves have come at a cost, and EA's turnaround remains a work in progress. EA posted a $454 million net loss in its year ended in March, thanks in part to increased spending on game development and charges related to its acquisitions. Meanwhile, its courtship of Take-Two continues to drag on, leaving both companies in something of a state of limbo.

Riccitiello met with the Mercury News at the E3 video game conference in Los Angeles earlier this month and talked about EA and the industry. The following is an edited transcript:

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