Electronic Arts

From Sega Retro

Electronic Arts (エレクトロニック・アーツ), also known as EA, is an American video game developer, publisher, and distributor.

History

Founded and incorporated on May 28, 1982 by Trip Hawkins, the company was a pioneer of the early home computer games industry and was notable for promoting the designers and programmers responsible for its games. Originally, EA was a home computing game publisher, however in the late 1980s, the company began developing games in-house and began to support consoles by the early 1990s. EA later grew via acquisition of several successful developers, and by the early 2000s, EA had become one of the world's largest third-party publishers.

Electronic Arts is one of the most significant third-party publishers for Sega consoles - the Sega Mega Drive being EA's main console of choice for the first half of the 1990s. Initially EA had planned to avoid direct contact with Sega[1], reverse-engineering the Mega Drive which later formed a barganing chip for securing a better deal for EA as a third-party developer than rival firms. EA would go on to make huge gains on consoles, particularly when it came to sports games (starting with John Madden Football in 1990), and supported the Mega Drive until 1997 - well after others had abandoned the system.

Success in the sports genre led to EA establishing a sub-brand, "Electronic Arts Sports Network" in 1991, which would adorn most of its sports games until 1993. However, similarities in the name caught the eye of US sports television channel ESPN, who sued EA for trademark infringement. The two parties settled out of court, with EA renaming its brand "EA Sports" and ESPN giving advertising space for EA Sports games. Curiously EA and ESPN would sign a 15-year deal in 2005 allowing for ESPN graphics to appear in EA Sports games (with ESPN having previously worked with Sega in its 2K series of sports titles).

EA supported the Sega Saturn, but its refusal to support the Dreamcast in favor of preparing titles for the PlayStation 2 is seen by some as a contributing factor to the console's failure. At the 2011 Tokyo Game Show, Sega announced it would be partnering with EA to release FIFA 12 World Class Soccer, Battlefield 3, Shadow of the Damned, The Sims 3 Pets, Need for Speed: The Run, Mass Effect 3, and SSX in Japan, making this the first time EA worked with Sega since the Saturn (with the exception of one 2000 game).

Packaging

Electronic Arts are unusual in that they produced their own Mega Drive cartridges, boxes and manuals from factories in Taiwan and Puerto Rico (on a much greater scale than the likes of Accolade and Codemasters who also took manufacturing into their own hands). EA originally packaged its North American games in cardboard boxes, moving to the "standard" clamshell design in 1991. In Europe it began with much larger and "stickier" clamshell designs before conforming with its rivals around the same period. EA cartridges, however, never changed, being iconically square with a yellow "tab" on the left hand side (colours varied in Japan) which serves no practical purpose.

EA's Saturn PAL games also differ from their competitors, opting for larger clamshell packaging while others were forced to deal with Sega's cardboard/plastic hybrid solution.

Magazine articles

Main article: Electronic Arts/Magazine articles.

Softography

Hikaru

Master System

Mega Drive

Game Gear

Mega-CD

32X

Saturn

Dreamcast

  • SSX (unreleased)

IBM PC

Gallery

References

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