Electronic Arts

Chris Nuttall

While commencement speeches typically focus on the opportunities and successes that lie ahead in life, John Riccitiello, chief executive of Electronic Arts, challenged the norm today and delivered one to graduates on how to fail well. Visiting his alma mater, the Haas School of Business at the University of California Berkeley, Mr Riccitiello talked about difficulties in his four years as CEO at EA, while citing similar dark times for others who went on to be tech industry titans. Read more

Chris Nuttall

It was “Klingons on the starboard bow” time in video games in January, with the space genre dominating. Eve Online introduced a major update to its online universe, Electronic Arts released Mass Effect 2 on the PlayStation 3 and launched Dead Space 2, which sold 440,000 units in the US, according to monthly figures released by the NPD research firm on Thursday. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Electronic Arts is launching a rival games portal to Apple’s Game Center on the iPhone and iPad touch on Thursday.

Apple has approved the video game publisher’s Pogo app, which brings its PC browser-based casual games service to the App Store. Read more

David Gelles

How do you say “Farmville” in Japanese?

Zynga, maker of the popular social game, wants to find out.

To do so, the San Francisco company is entering into a joint venture with Softbank to develop and distribute games in Japan. As part of the deal, Softbank is investing $150m in Zynga, and will help launch the new business unit, Zynga Japan, in Tokyo.

Details of the partnership are scarce, but it will be interesting to see how Zynga’s games go over in Japan, a difficult market for foreign companies to crack. The deal also brings social gaming, which originated in Asian markets, full circle.  Read more

David Gelles

Everyone is happy on the farm. That’s the message from Zynga and Facebook, which just announced a “five-year strategic relationship.”

For two companies attached at the hip, that may sound like stating the obvious. Zynga makes social games like Farmville that are played by hundreds of millions of users on Facebook’s platform, and in turn spends lots and lots of money advertising on Facebook.

But the announcement comes after weeks of speculation that Zynga was growing fed up with Facebook, and might even be considering leaving the platform. 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

  • Google executives mounted a concerted public defence of how the search company wields its wide-ranging power on the internet amid signs of growing regulatory concern. The comments came as a Google lawyer confirmed for the first time that US regulators had shown their interest in possible competition issues raised by chief executive Eric Schmidt’s position as a director on Apple’s board.
  • Hulu, the US online video service owned by NBC Universal, Fox and Walt Disney, has signed its first batch of content deals with international television producers, the first step towards a full global launch of the service. The company was set up 18 months ago by the media companies as a viable alternative to YouTube for professionally produced content.

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  • Faced with industry-wide overcapacity, Taiwan announced it was restructuring the nation’s memory chip companies and creating a new government-backed group. The move comes two days after AMD and Abu Dhabi investors created a new company to take on the Taiwanese. Demand for chips is falling precipitously as consumers and companies cut spending on computers, cameras and mobile phones.
  • Although there is evidence that gamers are growing tired of music games such as Activison‘s Guitar Hero, one title may revive the genre. “The Beatles: Rock Band” will ship in September, and is an almost guaranteed blockbuster for the companies behind Rock Band, which include Electronic Arts, Viacom‘s MTV and Harmonix. The Beatles, who have sold more than 600m albums worldwide, have rarely licensed their music.

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