EA

Chris Nuttall

John Riccitiello made a final public appearance as chief executive of Electronic Arts at the unveiling of Battlefield 4 at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco this week.

He steps down on Saturday, resigning, according to the official account, over the company missing its numbers for the current fiscal year ending March 31.

The poor performance of another first-person shooter, Medal of Honor: Warfighter, last autumn contributed to this, but Mr Riccitiello’s green-lighting of Battlefield 4 could give his successor an easier ride this coming year. Read more

Chris Nuttall

It’s nice to see social gaming companies being sociable with one another – employees of Wooga, the third largest on Facebook, were mingling happily at Zynga’s headquarters on Wednesday night during its Happy Hour as part of the 2012 Game Developers Conference, being held here in San Francisco this week.

Mark Pincus, Zynga chief executive, held an off-the-record dinner with we the media in another part of this rented building, which Zynga said on Monday it would now buy for $228m. I had on-the-record chats with Zynga’s three closest rivals Electronic Arts, Wooga and King.com on the fringes of GDC, with King.com’s CEO revealing its plans to join Zynga in going public. Highlights from those conversations after the jump. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Two trends clear in Facebook’s IPO filing on Wednesday were the inexorable rise in importance of digital-based gaming revenues and the growth in mobile – we learned Zynga was a key revenue-generator for Facebook and half of Facebook’s members were now users of its mobile products .

Earnings and data from Electronic Arts, THQ and Japan’s Gree over the past 24 hours further emphasise that the old order of disc-based console gaming will have a declining share of consumers’ attention, as consoles become more general entertainment boxes and smartphones and tablets proliferate. Read more

Chris Nuttall

A bit of a shooting match is shaping up in the video game business for later this year as Electronic Arts continues to sound bullish about Battlefield 3, a title that will take on Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 during the holiday season. EA said during its earnings announcement on Tuesday that preorders for the title were 10 times that of its predecessor, Battlefield Bad Company 2, which has sold more than 9m units to date. Read more

Chris Nuttall

The video game industry has simultaneously tried to neutralise and amplify criticism of its skills in creating addictive violent games these past few days. The Entertainment Software Association launched a pre-emptive strike against a new study suggesting games contributed to depression, while Electronic Arts revealed how it had tried to shock 200 mums into condemning its violent sequel Dead Space 2. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Ubisoft released a version of its hit video game Assassin ‘s Creed on Facebook on Thursday as part of a new digital strategy it calls companion gaming.

It looks a more joined-up concept than that of Electronic Arts, which was the first major publisher to bring a big franchise to Facebook with its Fifa Superstars soccer game in June. Read more

Chris Nuttall

The Kindle is finally being taken a little more seriously as a games platform with Electronic Arts releasing a version of Scrabble for the eReader on Friday.

To date, there had been few diversions from the act of reading on the Kindle and its capabilities as a games platform, with its grayscale screen and lack of touch control, seemed limited. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Sales for the video game industry are becoming as bloody and horrific as their best-selling titles.

“The August sales results were, in a word, shocking,” said Wedbush Morgan analysts in a research note on Friday. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Shares in Electronic Arts fell nearly 6 per cent on Wednesday after the video game publisher issued a cautious outlook for its current fiscal year.

Investors seemed to overlook the fact that it is trying to manage expectations with more conservative estimates these days and that its digital business appears to be taking off. Read more

Chris Nuttall

There are new beginnings for both Tiger Woods and Electronic Arts this week as he tees off at the Masters today and EA tries a radical reworking of its strategy for PC sports games.

The free-to-play Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online just launched represents the first EA PC sports title to be moved online. The rest may follow in short order as EA abandons physical media, says Peter Moore, EA Sports president. His thoughts on piracy, virtual goods and the trials of Tiger after the jump: Read more

Chris Nuttall

Electronic Arts is sticking with Tiger Woods  during his current problems, but is bailing out of PC packaged goods for its latest golf video game, launched in a free open beta today.
 

EA is switching to an online version of Tiger Woods PGA Tour, withsales dwindling to almost nothing  for PC disk-based sports games, due to rampant piracy and many players preferring the console versions. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Carl Icahn , the billionaire activist investor, is upping his stake in another troubled company – revealing on Thursday in a regulatory filing  that he holds more than 9m shares in the video game publisher Take-Two .

Wedbush Morgan analysts speculated today that Mr Icahn taking an 11.3 per cent stake in a company he has long held an interest in could be an attempt to force a sale. Mr Icahn “acquired the shares in the belief that the shares were undervalued,” says the filing, and he may “seek to have conversations” with management. Read more

Chris Nuttall

A battle of the bands is coming to the iPhone. No sign of Guitar Hero yet, but Electronic Arts showed off Rock Band for the iPhone and iPod touch this week at the CTIA show in San Diego.

That will put it in competition with the hugely successful Tap Tap Revenge from Tapulous, a similar rhythm game that has brought out special editions for musicians such as Coldplay, Lady Gaga and Nine Inch Nails. Read more

Chris Nuttall

The major video game publishers have switched development of next-generation games from consoles to the OnLive platform of internet-based gaming, according to the service’s founder.

Steve Perlman, (pictured) OnLive chief executive, said his service was also gaining considerable attention from investors, as he announced a major funding round led by AT&T Media Holdings. Read more

David Gelles

Electronic Arts reported that losses widened and revenues fell over the past three months. But the world’s second-largest videogame maker had a better than expected quarter thanks to some well-timed releases.

Even as overall spending on videogames is down, EA results were bolstered by strong sales of “The Sims 3″, the latest release in one of the industry’s best-selling franchises, and “EA Sports Active”, a new title for the Nintendo Wii. EA lost $234m in the three months through July, compared with $95m during the same time last year. Read more

Chris Nuttall

The top-selling video game for May on the latest consoles is unlikely to be disputed. UFC 2009 Undisputed, released on May 19, shipped 2m copies in its first two weeks, according to its publisher THQ, and looks likely to top the NPD charts when the research firm releases its figures on Thursday.

It’s a sign of the growing popularity of the Ultimate Fighting Championship and the sport of mixed martial arts.  It’s also a signal for THQ’s competitors, namely Electronic Arts, to seek a piece of the action. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Sony opened its online kingdom Free Realms on Wednesday – its response to the success of the browser-based role-playing game, Runescape.

Britain’s Jagex has found a lucrative market among pre-teen boys and girls for Runescape, which has similarities to the world’s most successful online role-playing game World of Warcraft. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Will Wright, creator of one of the video game industry’s most successful franchises The Sims, is leaving the publisher Electronic Arts after 12 years to start his own company.

EA is tempering its loss by taking an equal stake with Mr Wright in his new venture – Stupid Fun Club. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Are video games suffering a bum rap again at the hands of the authorities? Peter Moore, head of Electronic Arts’ Sports division, thinks so.

An ad (pictured) launched this month by the UK Department of Health, entitled “Risk an early death, just do nothing”, shows a bored child holding a PlayStation controller. Read more

Chris Nuttall

John RiccitielloElectronic Arts chief executive John Riccitiello, a keen gamer, must have that stuck-on-the-same-level feeling after the video game publisher’s latest results.

He returned to EA in April 2007 with the task of improving an underperforming giant of the industry. Read more