Electronic Arts, one of the leading games publishers in the world, it was established in 1982 by Trip Hawkins. He was aided by Rich Melmon (Melmon worked in marketing at Apple). Hawkins began working from his home, using his own money. The company was then moved to an office in the headquarters of investment bankers, Sequoia Capital, which was based in San Mateo, California.
The initial name of EA was going to be Amazin' Software, but it was later changed to SoftArt. Neither name was deemed acceptable, so a meeting was held in 1982 between the 12 employees, and Electronic Arts was born.
The First Games
Electronic Arts' first games include Hard Hat Mac, Pinball Construction Set and Archon. These games were released in the spring of 1983. These games were packaged in modern, exciting-looking cases, so they looked similar to rock and pop albums.
Over the 80s, EA had created a wide variety of games and genres; major titles included The Bard’s Tale, Wasteland, Starflight, and Chuck Yeager’s Advanced Flight Trainer. Electronic Arts had even branched out into creating 'Deluxe Paint' one of the key applications for the Amiga computer.
Enter Larry Probst
Larry Probst entered the video game industry with Activision in 1982. In the autumn of 1984, Larry Probst joined Electronic Arts as the vice president of sales. He brought a wealth of marketing knowledge to the company, and organized EA's strategy of dealing directly with retailers.
Mad for Madden
Hawkins wanted to create a football game. So Hawkins recruited John Madden, the Oakland Raiders coach, to learn all the rules of football, to make his game more realistic. Also, using John Madden added another selling point to the game – a celebrity endorsement. All this hard work paid off in 1988 when the game was finally released and lead to EA's longest running franchise. The game was simply called John Maddens Football
Genesis to Revelation
The Mega Drive (Genesis) was released in 1989. The Mega Drive was a 16-bit gaming console by Sega. EA also brought over many strategy and RPG games to the Mega Drive. These games appealed to older players, therefore making the audience of video games wider.
Electronic Arts also formed a partnership with the Japanese developer/publisher Squaresoft to publish their PlayStation titles in North America, helping to bring Japanese-style role playing games to a mass audience. However the Nintendo 64 didn't see very many EA titles.
In 1997, Electronic Arts entered the online market when Origin Systems created Ultima Online, an online fantasy world that could have hundreds of thousands of players across the globe playing it at any one time.
The Pogo.com brand was launched on September 2, 1999 . In March 2001, Electronic Arts (EA) purchased www.pogo.com for approximately $40 million. This site has a variety of free games, subscription games, and games available for download.
PS2 vs Dreamcast
In 1999, Sega released the Dreamcast, although EA could not see a market for it. The Dreamcast was released a year before Sony's Playstation 2. Then Nintendo began a fresh start with its Game Cube, and Microsoft was just coming through with the first Xbox console. EA's tactics were to divide its efforts over the three consoles, so no console could claim dominance.
Electronic Arts had the advantage over other games publishers, because it could publish games across multiple platforms, in a cost-effective way. It could also publish games in multiple languages and deploy games globally better than anyone else.
The Playstation 2 became a showcase for EA games based on movies, such as Lord of the Rings, and The Godfather. EA also secured the rights to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series and produced several successful games based on the books. EA's Medal of Honor series flourished on all three consoles where improved graphics enabled the developer to produce an intense, cinematic experience.
EA had always found difficulty in appealing to the female audience. The Sims proved to be an answer to this problem. The game started out as just an architectural idea; designing houses, then adding people, to see how they would work. Then it became apparent that the people were the most interesting things on the screen. EA developed the game some more, then put it out into publishing, and then found that The Sims had a tremendous amount of teenage girls playing. Then EA began to develop more expansion packs geared towards a female audience e.g. Hot Date. To further appeal to girls, EA started buying advertising space in fashion magazines, and on M.T.V television adverts.
Europe has always played an important part to EA. It was 1987 when the European division was set up. In 2004, EA added Criterion Software to its UK studio system. Criterion created the Burnout series of racing games, as well as the FPS, Black. Criterion also produces the RenderWare game engine.
In 1991, Electronic Arts purchased its first outside development studio, Distinctive Software. This development studio began to work on the EA sports franchise, and it created the long running Need for Speed series. Distinctive was then renamed EA Canada – it's now one of the largest EA studios.
In 1992, Richard Garriott's Origin Systems joined EA. Origin systems developed many games, and the first instalment in the Jane's Combat Simulations series. However, despite its successes, Origin had difficulty integrating with EA, and in 1999 (after the release of Ultima IX) Richard Garriott left the company. Later, several of Origin's high-profile projects were cancelled, and the company was finished in 2004.
EA acquired Peter Molyneux's UK studio, Bullfrog in 1995 . Electronic Arts had already published Bullfrog’s Populous, Theme Park and Magic Carpet. As a division of Electronic Arts, Bullfrog went on to produce Dungeon Keeper and its sequel. Bullfrog was absorbed into EA UK in 2004.
EA bought Maxis in 1997, however Will Wright had already created SimCity in 1989. And when EA bought Maxis, Wright began work on a new project that would become The Sims – one of EA's best-selling computer games.
Westwood Studios was acquired by Electronic Arts in 1998, and the studio produced Command & Conquer : Tiberian Sun, a new sequel, built with an improved game engine. Over the next few years, Westwood continued to produce titles for the Command & Conquer series.
In 2005, Electronic Arts acquired JAMDAT (A successful mobile phone company founded by former Activision executives. Now re-named EA mobile, it has been able to use the knowledge of EA to create mobile versions of games such as SimCity and Tetris.
By acquiring these studios, the company gained many important skills and talents.
Trip Leaves... Enter John Riccitiello
When Trip Hawkins left Electronic Arts, he left Larry Probst in charge of EA. And then Probst made John Riccitiello CEO of EA. On the 2nd of April 2007.
Electronic Arts has 4 divisions, EA Games, EA Sports, EA Casual Entertainment, and The Sims.
Electronic Arts's first work that SPOnG is aware of is the 1981 title, "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves" (C64).
The company has been involved titles released on the Xbox One, PS4, Wii U, PSVita, 3DS/2DS, Wii, PS3, Xbox 360, PC, DS/DSi, iPad, PS2, Power Mac, PSP, Xbox, GameCube, GBA, N-Gage, PlayStation, Game Boy Color, N64, Game Boy, Saturn, Sega 32-X, Sega Megadrive, SNES, Amiga, CD32, ST, Mac, 3DO, Game Gear, Sega MegaCD, Sega Master System, NES, C64, Spectrum 48K, Amstrad CPC, Apple II and Atari 400/800/XL/XE. Of these, "Mirror's Edge" (Xbox 360), "Mirror's Edge" (PS3), "The Sims 2: Free Time" (PC), "Dead Space" (PS3), "The Sims 2: Mansion & Garden Stuff" (PC) has been a best selling title.
The company is currently involved with the forthcoming 2015 release "EA Sports: PGA Tour" (Xbox One).
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