EA's John Riccitiello looks to digital future

Handheld and web-based gaming to shine in EA's future

Handheld and web-based gaming to shine in EA's future

Handheld and web-based gaming to shine in EA's future

With EA downsizing its current teams and looking at scaling back on the number of products it releases at retail in a year to 30 or 40 (from north of 60) you may be wondering how the company will start to grow its business in the year ahead. For a hint of what's to come, look no further than the company's acquisition of Playfish last month, and its new business models around iPhone games and web games like the EA 2D projects.

"When people think of games, they traditionally think, in the U.S., of what sells on the Xbox, the PlayStation, and the Wii, and they forget about all these online services that are out there," said Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello in an interview with the Reuters news service. "If you add all that stuff up, it's almost half the industry now. It's about 40 to 45 percent. Next year it's likely to be the larger share of the total industry and it'll be bigger than the console games all put together." He went on to note that if EA's digital arm (which now includes social gaming publisher Playfish) was spun off as a standalone company "it would be like the darling of Wall Street." He went on to explain that the goal at Electronic Arts is to continue to have a profitable packaged goods business, but also have a digital business of "a similar scale."

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John Davison

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