Electronic Arts

Chris Nuttall

Even another record-breaking Call of Duty could not rescue the US video game industry from a twelfth consecutive month of declining software sales in November, according to the latest official figures from the NPD research firm.

But the “packaged goods” disc sales are only a part of the picture, now that we have digital and social and mobile games to take into account. Judging by announcements from Facebook and DeNA this week, hard-core gamers seem just as likely nowadays to be competing in these new gaming territories. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Two more executives have left Zynga, the leading social gaming company whose stock has lost 70 per cent of its value since going public in December.

There has been a string of departures this month after the San Francisco-based company issued disappointing quarterly results and its stock price continued to slide. The latest to leave are vice presidents Bill Mooney and Brian Birtwistle. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Zynga has announced the resignation of John Schappert, its Chief Operating Officer (pictured left as his Zynga character), in a sign that the social gaming company is wrestling to recover from its poor financial performance.

Mr Schappert quit on Wednesday, with the company stating in an SEC filing that his resignation was not because of any disagreement over Zynga’s operations, policies or practices. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Electronic Arts says subscriptions for its Star Wars: The Old Republic game have slipped below 1m, forcing it to “pivot” to a free-to-play option for the much vaunted franchise.

Launched in December, Star Wars was supposed to try to supplant Activision’s World of Warcraft (WoW) online role-playing game, but its subscribers now amount to less than 10 per cent of the 10.2m users paying for that world-leading title. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Electronic Arts has criticised its social gaming rival Zynga for paying high prices for “instant one-hit wonders” that give it a “temporary lead” in the charts.

John Riccitiello, chief executive, also used EA’s quarterly earnings call with analysts on Monday to argue the success of EA’s own digital and social strategy, defend falling subscriber numbers for its Star Wars online game and announce a big investment in next-generation console games. Details after the jump. Read more

Chris Nuttall

For anyone seeking holes in Activision’s seemingly bulletproof Call of Duty franchise, there was a chink in the armour exposed in NPD US January sales figures released late on Thursday.

Sales fell nearly 50 per cent year-on-year for the world’s best-selling video game in 2011 – that’s comparing the performance of the latest in the franchise – Modern Warfare 3 – with its predecessor, Black Ops.

 Read more

Chris Nuttall

The social gaming leader Zynga has lured away another top Electronic Arts executive, hiring Barry Cottle (pictured) as head of business development.

The news represents a blow to EA, which lost its chief operating officer John Schappert last April when he took up the same position at Zynga. Mr Cottle was head of Interactive at EA, covering the mobile and social gaming areas where EA is in direct competition with Zynga. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Video game publishers have had their best November on record in the US, according to the NPD research firm, with hard-core gamers loading up on two first-person shooters and a classic role-playing game.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 from Activision was the top-selling title, with Electronic Arts rival, Battlefield 3, at number three, and the highly-rated Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (pictured) from Bethesda Softworks splitting the two shooters. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Nintendo has received a Black Friday boost after a black year for sales – shifting more than 500,000 Wii consoles on the biggest shopping day of the year in the US.

Sales of the 3DS handheld console have also been booming, due to a new Mario game, bundling offers and a precipitous price cut. Read more

Chris Nuttall

It was only a matter of time before celebrities sought to extend their personal brands established on Twitter and Facebook to other social arenas such as games, which are capturing as much attention as the stars themselves.
Zynga has been featuring music from Lady Gaga’s latest album inside FarmVille this month in a deal with the singer and now Electronic Arts has announced celebrity chef Jamie Oliver will feature in its own Facebook game, Restaurant City. Read more