EA Games - or Electronic Arts as it is still officially known - established itself as the world's biggest computer games company in the 2000s with sports titles for the NFL, FIFA and PGA associations, breakthrough franchises like The Sims, and entertainment licenses for Harry Potter and Hasbro. However, it was caught off-balance by the rise of, first, multiplayer and then mobile gaming, both areas where it has been slow to catch up. It was overtaken as the global #1 in 2008 by the merger of rivals Activision and Vivendi's Blizzard, and then by a succession of other developers, but EA remains a dynamic force in the industry, especially in the sports games market. Its top-selling games in fiscal 2018 were FIFA 18 and FIFA Ultimate Team, along with Star Wars Battlefront II and Madden NFL 18. Other important franchises developed by EA's various separate software studios include Battlefield, The Sims and SimCity, Mass Effect and Titanfall, but the group has reduced the number of titles it releases each year to concentrate on top-sellers. As performance weakened during 2013, John Riccitiello resigned as CEO and was replaced by Andrew Wilson, formerly head of its sports division. That has led to a strong turnaround, and a big push into mobile gaming. In 2017, it acquired digital developers Respawn, the creators of Titanfall. Revenues for the year to Mar 2018 reached a record $5.15bn. Console games still account for more than 70% of sales, PC games for around 16% - primarily through the company's own digital download platform Origin - and mobile for 13%. In early 2019, with sales across all established developers under intense pressure from the phenomenal popularity of Fortnite, EA fought back with the launch of its own rival MMO, free-to-play arena Apex Legends. In just its first week its accumulated 25m players. Electronic Arts was founded in 1982 by Trip Hawkins, but its true architect was arguably Larry Probst, who joined the business two years later as head of sales. He became CEO in 1991, and retained that role until 2007. He remains executive chairman.
Capsule checked 3rd September 2018
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Adbrands Account Assignments track account management for the world's leading brands and companies, including details of which advertising agency handles which accounts in which countries for major markets.
Adbrands Daily Update 27th Sep 2019: "Wrong Breaks New Ground". Perhaps it's not that surprising that videogames - now the entertainment industry's biggest medium - now wield the kind of sponsorship budgets that until recently belonged only to sportswear giants. Adam&Eve DDB today unveiled a thrilling new film for EA's FIFA 20 which features cameo appearances from an enviable roster of football superstars including Eden Hazard, Raheem Sterling, Jadon Sancho, Megan Rapinoe, Vinicius Junior, French freestyle star Lisa Zimouche and, um... Anthony Joshua? Oh well, it'll make sense when you see it. Perhaps the most impressive change to the latest iteration of EA's long-running FIFA series is the rapid elevation of female players within the game since their first introduction in 2015. In a new blow to the glass ceiling, FIFA 20 even lets you create female managers.
Adbrands Weekly Update 20th Sep 2018: Ads of the Week: "Champions Rise". You might need to break out the headache pills after watching this frenetic, brain-busting new spot for EA Sports' FIFA 19 game. It looks like Adam&Eve DDB assigned creative oversight to a group of highly skilled but hyperactive teenagers on speed. Fast-paced doesn't begin to describe it, but you might just spot cameo appearances from the cream of Premier League football and its international counterparts. The roll call includes Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar Jr, Kylian Mbappe, Kevin De Bruyne, Paulo Dybala, Pep Guardiola, Steven Gerrard, Alessandro Del Piero, Quavo and Joel Embiid etc etc etc. Phew... now we're going off for a lie-down.
Adbrands Weekly Update 28th Sep 2017: Here's a new wrinkle to the brand endorsement circus. Coca-Cola Zero Sugar has signed up star soccer player Alex Hunter to represent its brand worldwide in a series of promotional tie-ups. Nothing unusual about that you might think, but Alex Hunter doesn't actually exist in the real world; he's a character in FIFA 18, the latest iteration of EA's long-running video game series. In one of the game's story segments, Hunter signs a deal with Coke and even makes a commercial in the style of the iconic "Mean Joe Green" campaign from the 70s. Hunter will also rep Coke in social media, on packaging and even some out-of-home sites.
Adbrands Weekly Update 27th Aug 2015: Ads of the Week: "Madden: The Movie". Indie agency Heat San Francisco throws in everything including the kitchen sink in a totally insane promo for EA's Madden NFL 16 game. Latino gangs, rocket launchers, Bollywood dancing, Al Pacino in Scent Of A Woman (hoo-hah!) ... and a dinosaur. It makes no sense at all, but you won't be able to stop watching for a minute. Awesome-plus!
Adbrands Weekly Update 31st Oct 2013: EA Games pulled the plug on a 15-year endorsement partnership with golfer Tiger Woods, citing steep declines in sales of recent Tiger Woods PGA Tour releases. The 2013 version has sold only around 300,000 copies, compared to almost 3.4m in 2009. Woods is thought to have earned around $750m in sponsorship fees from EA since 1998.
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