September 27, 2005

Electronic Arts Announces Mobile Game Line-Up

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Electronic Arts Inc. on Tuesday said its mobile line-up for late 2005 and early 2006 features games based on its "FIFA Street," "Def Jam" and "SimCity" franchises.

The company, the biggest publisher of video games, said other titles set for launch include mobile versions its casual games "Harvest Mania," "Word Whomp," "World Class Solitaire" and "Squelchies."

EA already offers mobile versions of such titles as "Need for Speed Underground 2," "Need for Speed Most Wanted," "NBA Live 06," "Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06," "FIFA 06," "Madden NFL 06," "The Sims 2," "Turbo 21," "Tri-Peaks Solitaire" and "Poppit!"

EA said its mobile offerings aim to accommodate players seeking a quick gaming fix, as well as those looking for a deeper experience.

According to one industry estimate, there are 18 million players of wireless games in the United States, compared with 170 million worldwide.

In a recent industry report, Wedbush Morgan Securities analyst Michael Pachter said the U.S. market for mobile downloads is expected to be less than $500 million this year -- including downloads of games, ring tones, wallpaper and greeting cards.

That market segment is dwarfed by U.S. retail sales of video-game software, which hit $7.3 billion in 2004 and does not include mobile phone downloads or gaming subscriptions services.

Many mobile players are considered "casual gamers" -- a demographic that differs from the young, mostly male "hard-core gamer."

Casual gamers are more likely to be female, married and around 33 years old. Hard-core gamers are predominately male students who are about 23 years old, according to Boston Research Group.


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