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EA's Game-Making Play for Take-Two

CEO Riccitiello's bid for the owner of the Grand Theft Auto franchise dovetails nicely with his strategy for a reinvigorated Electronic Arts

Just months after John Riccitiello took the helm last year as chief executive for Electronic Arts, the top independent video games publisher, he delivered a stunning indictment of the industry: "We're boring people to death," Riccitiello said last July of the long-held penchant for developing hit franchises and updating them year after year. "There's been lots of product that looks like last year's product—that looked a lot like the year before."

Yet on Feb. 24, Riccitiello appeared to dust off the very playbook he suggested the industry throw out. EA (ERTS) revealed it had been rejected twice in unsolicited offers to acquire troubled New York-based Take-Two Interactive Software (TTWO), which has made its fortune almost solely on the controversial and violent franchise of carjacking games known as Grand Theft Auto.