Based on what Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello said to Bloomberg yesterday, you would think he's all but written off the music game genre. When asked about the prospect of EA buying Harmonix, he evidently compared it to trying to "catch a falling knife," and said that "moves that look like I'm doubling down on yesterday would make it harder still to convince investors that tomorrow is the Promised Land."
But speaking to Kotaku, Riccitiello struck a more hopeful note -- and claimed his earlier comments were taken a little bit out of context. "When asked about it yesterday, what I said was Alex [Rigopulos, co-founder of the studio] is a great developer, Harmonix is one of the great developers of all time," Riccitiello explained. "[I said] the nervous investor would be worried about the decline in the music sector feeling like a falling knife. The only part of that conversation that got reported was the 'falling knife' part. Given the run up to it, it's a little bit [of an] unfair condemnation of people I have a great deal of respect for."
Riccitiello went on to sing Harmonix's praises, saying it's "at least as responsible as any company on earth for the creation of a genre. There aren't that many times you can point to that level of innovation." Riccitiello also made clear that despite slumping sales, he still believes the music game genre will make a comeback. "I don't know exactly how. It could be based on some new innovation. Maybe it all becomes dance-based," he said -- and he also pointed out Harmonix's Dance Central is "maybe the leading game full stop on Kinect."
But despite his great respect for the developer and confidence in the genre, one thing Ricciteillo still wouldn't comment on is whether EA would consider purchasing Harmonix now that Viacom has put them on the selling block. As for whether they'd be able to find a buyer at all right now, Riccitiello said, "I assume so."