EA listening to users, may provide offline mode
A post from Electronic Arts last week opens the possibility that the gaming giant will soon grant fan requests to build an offline mode into Sim City. The State of Sim City post from last week was a response to continuing requests to users for EA to remove the requirement that its hit game be played with a persistent Internet connection in order to avoid piracy. That requirement resulted in a disastrous launch for the game, as EA's servers were overwhelmed by millions of gamers simultaneously logging in.
Company looked at external and internal candidates before naming Wilson
Electronic Arts has named a new CEO following the departure of John Riccitiello. EA veteran Andrew Wilson has been selected to serve as the company's chief, following his stint as the Executive Vice President overseeing EA Sports and the company's online portal for digital games and services, Origin.
Users reporting incorrect hardware identification, crashing, install failures
The oft-delayed Sim City for Macintosh has finally launched and in a development that is likely no surprise to anyone -- given the game's launch history -- is riddled with bugs. The EA forums are seeing a wide range of complaints from OS X gamers ranging from a complete inability to install the game, graphical corruption, failure to launch in full-screen mode, and random window resizing. So far, Electronic Arts has no official comments on the Macintosh launch.
Origin codes for all games, Steam keys for most
Unexpectedly, the current Humble Bundle is populated with eight recent Electronic Arts titles, many with downloadable content. Electronic Arts is not profiting from the bundle directly, so all funds generated by the sale are being collected by one of four charities, or the Humble Bundle team themselves, depending on purchaser allocation.
Mac version to be free for those who bought Windows edition
Originally planned for release in mid-June, the Mac version of Sim City will be released on August 29, Electronic Arts has announced, and will be free of charge for those who bought the PC version. The company originally delayed the Mac version by saying it wasn't "ready for prime time yet" and that the company wanted to "ensure the Mac [version of the game] is a great experience for our players." The Windows release was lambasted by early buyers for serious bugs, overloaded servers and poor administrative decisions that rendered the game all but unplayable for months.
Beats out Origin, GameStop
Apple has become Electronic Arts' "biggest retail partner as measured by sales," EA COO Peter Moore revealed yesterday during a conference call with investors. The achievement is particularly notable since it means Apple beat out EA's own Origin download service, and more traditional retailers like GameStop. In all EA made about $90 million from smartphone and tablet games during the last quarter, although the publisher hasn't explained how much of that came from iOS versus Android and other platforms.
Electronic Arts to discontinue Online Pass policy for new titles
If a report at VentureBeat is accurate, Electronic Arts has decided to rid itself of the reviled online pass. According to the report, the EA senior director of corporate communications John Reseburg confirmed the cancellation of the program, saying “Yes, we’re discontinuing Online Pass, none of our new EA titles will include that feature." Viewed as a countermeasure to used game sales, the pass included in the purchase of new games allowed game play on the company's servers across Xbox Live or the PlayStation Network. Used purchasers, or customers borrowing a game, must purchase a pass if they wish to play online, with access costing approximately $10.
Fate of existing titles uncertain, Disney retains limited social gaming rights
The Walt Disney Company and developer Electronic Arts on Monday announced a new multi-year exclusive licensing agreement to develop and publish globally new games based on Star Wars characters and storylines for the "core gamer audience." Under the agreement, EA will develop and publish new Star Wars titles, spanning all platforms and the most popular game genres, while Disney will retain certain rights to develop new titles within the mobile, social, tablet and online game categories.
CEO under fire from gamers, investors since 2008
Citing "accountability for the shortcomings in our financial results this year," game publisher Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello is stepping down. Former CEO and current chairman of the board, Larry Probst, is taking over the position while the board searches for a candidate.
Maxis Sim City server problems continue, EA offers free game
Electronic Arts and Maxis launched the newest iteration in the venerable Sim City series earlier this week. While initially praised for its accomplishments and integration with other players by previewing media, the game was marred by monumental server and connectivity issues. Since launch, Electronic Arts claims to have brought on 150 percent more server capacity, as well as shutting down some in-game functions to lighten the server load, but the problems persist. Electronic Arts is offering a free title to people who register the game prior to March 18. The issue, and a similar issue with Diablo 3 emphasize a disturbing trend in gaming -- the requirement to log into remote servers like EA's Origin service to play the game, even in single-player.
Mobile game publisher Chillingo launching '100% indie' program
In an unusual move for Samsung, it has teamed up with Electronic Arts in an effort to lure developers to the Korean company's app store, offering strong financial incentives to expand its library of games. EA's mobile division Chillingo will lead the "100 percent indie" initiative, and offer its developers 100 percent of a game's revenue for six months.
Resignation comes following removal of game development duties
Just weeks after being stripped of his responsibilities as chief of game development, John Schappert has resigned as chief operating officer of Zynga. As part of a July reorganization following poor quarterly financial results, Electronic Arts and Microsoft veteran Schappert's duties were divided amongst Chief Mobile Officer David Ko, and Executive Vice President Steve Chiang.
Strike Force built in HTML5, may be showcased on Nexus 7
Electronic Arts has been showing off a sophisticated, multiplayer video game built entirely in HTML5, allowing users across multiple platforms to play against each other. The game is called Strike Force, and EA says it was developed over the course of five months, using a number of college interns. As The New York Times's blog reports, EA will demonstrate the game at Google I/O, Google's annual software developer conference, leading some to believe the game is intended to show off the gaming potential of Google's new Android 4.1 operating system.
Reverses course, now says message was 'in error'
Update: Electronic Arts has now issued a statement saying that "Rock Band for iOS will remain live -- the in-app message users received yesterday were sent in error. We apologize for the confusion this caused," and added that it will share additional information "as soon as possible." EA had in fact put up a notice on its website that it was suspending support of Rock Band as of May 31st, and users received a message that the game would no longer be playable (see picture, below). The company has offered no explanation for how both errors occurred, but now says the game will remain playable, at least in single-player mode.
Electronic Arts in mass layoffs rumor
Electronic Arts is allegedly in the process of laying off hundreds of employees after the completion of several big-name games. According to Startup Grind, the game publisher stands to lose between 500 and 1000 people (5-11% of its workforce) in the near future.
Kindle Fire will get access to thousands of apps
Amazon on Wednesday confirmed that it will bring a plethora of existing Android apps to the Kindle Fire when it begins shipping next week. They will number in the thousands and include such popular ones like Netflix, Facebook, Pandora, Twitter and more. Games from Rovio, Electronics Arts, Zynga and other established developers will also be instantly available.
Exec claims 3D gaming not well received
Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello has reportedly downplayed the significance of 3D technology in the gaming market. In a shareholder meeting, the executive suggested 3D gaming has yet to prove profitable. The company is said to be focusing instead on social and web-based features.
iOS gaming industry consolidates
Major PC and console games publisher Electronic Arts has bought out Chillingo, according to the LA Times. Although the deal is said to have cost less than $20 million in cash, Chillingo is a significant publisher of iPhone and iPad games. Two titles in its library -- Cut the Rope and Angry Birds -- are currently leading in the App Store's paid charts. The company is also responsible for distributing occasional movie/TV show tie-ins, like Predators and Numb3rs.
Spore Galactic Adventures
Electronic Arts is expanding its Spore series, releasing Spore Galactic Adventures. The expansion features 16 missions in which the players earn new game elements such as weapons and experience to move through the ranks to become a space captain. The game also includes new planets that players can beam onto and play new adventures or use the "Adventure Creator" tool to create their own missions. User-generated characters and missions can be shared online through Sporepedia, the Spore library, which already totals 105 million creations.
Spore Galactic Adventures
Electronic Arts has announced Spore Galactic Adventures, a customizable expansion pack that adds new content and features to the space game in Spore. Gamers can choose from dozens of Maxis-created adventures, with a variety of mysteries to solve and battles to fight. Space creatures can be upgraded with 32 new accessories, including the Plasma Pulser, Energy Blade, Stunning Charm, Jump Jet and Hypnomelder. Users can play as a Warrior for battling enemies, a Bard for dabbling with friends, or choose from a number of other roles.
EA Sports Active for Wii
Electronic Arts today sought to build on the formula set out by the Wii Balance Board with a new peripheral and game combo of its own. EA Sports Active centers around a pair of leg straps that hold both the Wii remote and nunchuk in place as well as a single resistance band for the upper body. The set lets Nintendo's own controllers properly track exercise across the whole body and also introduce enough physical stress to provide strength-based exercise.
Spore for pre-order
As Spore's September launch rolls closer, GameTree Online has listed the game for preorder from its website for direct download. While still just over a month away, Spore is expected to draw much attention from gamers as Will Wright's next big franchise, after the widely successful The Sims series. Players will take a species from a once-celled organism all the way through to intergalactic domination. Spore is available for pre-order for $50 from GameTree Online
Spore cellular life stage
EA on Tuesday unveiled a new high-definition movie trailer of the cellular stage in Spore – a highly anticipated, all-encompassing simulation of evolution and civilization. The trailer shows how basic gameplay works during the entry stages of a Spore organism, illustrating the differences between jaw-bearing carnivorous entities and filter-mouthed plant feeders. It goes through several stages, from birth through to evolving the desire to come above water. Spore is expected to ship September 7th.