EA competing with Hollywood?
Mark Asher - News - 06/02/04 - Link

Electronic Arts isn't competing with small companies like Activision, apparently. No, they see their competition as Hollywood itself, according to this piece in the International Herald Tribune.

It is no accident that EA, the largest U.S. maker of computer game software, has moved one of its major production studios to the movie and TV capital of the world. Hollywood is packed with the kinds of creative minds the game industry needs.

Patrick Gilmore, producer of the new Goldeneye game, directed last year's animated film "Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas" for DreamWorks. The latest James Bond game, Everything or Nothing, includes a score by Sean Callery, an Emmy-award-winning composer.

EA's base in Los Angeles also reflects the company's vision of its future.

"We don't see ourselves just in the gaming industry," said Bruce McMillan, executive vice president. "Our market is merging - more quickly than people imagined - into the entertainment sector."

McMillan does not see EA as competing against other game makers, like Activision, Ubisoft of France, Eidos of Britain, or even Microsoft. EA wants to take on MGM, Fox and Disney in an all-out battle for viewers' attention.

That is an ambitious goal. Disney generated $27 billion in revenue last year, compared to $2.9 billion for EA. Still, EA and other game companies represent a genuine threat to traditional media.
A gaming analyst sees EA being one of three dominant game publishers. Surprisingly, Microsoft isn't predicted to be one of those three.

[Gaming analyst at Wedbush Morgan Securities in Los Angeles] Pachter said that no one company can ever control the game business the way Microsoft has owned the desktop. He foresees an oligopoly, with EA and perhaps two other companies dominating the industry. Pachter's picks for the other two slots include Activision, maker of the World War II combat game Call of Duty, and Take-Two Interactive Software, maker of the controversial Grand Theft Auto games.

Pachter said Microsoft has "no prayer" of becoming a dominant player.

"They don't have the desire," he said. "They don't have the talent."
They've got a lot of money, though.



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