Sunday, August 12, 2012

(BN) Electronic Arts Sees New Windows as Central Mobile Game Platform

Aug. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Electronic Arts Inc., the second- largest U.S. video-game maker, is in talks with Microsoft Corp. to bring mobile games to the next version of Windows as it sees the platform as "important" to its handset strategy.

"We're working very closely with Microsoft to understand what their views on gaming navigation are," Chief Operating Officer Peter Moore said in a phone interview. "Anything that allows more platforms to be adopted quickly that have a gaming element is good for Electronic Arts."

The Redwood City, California-based company is counting on games on phones and tablet computers as well as Internet-based games as it tries to reduce reliance on boxed retail products. The mobile version of Windows 8, due later this year, is also central to Nokia Oyj's plan to revive smartphone sales amid competition from Apple Inc.'s iPhone and devices running Google Inc.'s Android software.

Nokia plans to announce its new line of smartphones using the Windows Phone 8 operating system as early as next month and offer them for sale before the year-end holiday shopping season, a person with knowledge of the matter said this month.

Moore was speaking before the annual Gamescom conference in Cologne, Germany, next week, where Electronic Arts will show a new version of city-building simulator "SimCity" as well as updates to its "FIFA Soccer," "Medal of Honor" and "'Need for Speed'' titles. He said the company is on the lookout for more acquisitions after purchasing game makers including PopCap Games Inc. and Playfish Inc.

''We're in a very strong position with our balance sheet and we're never afraid to use it if the opportunity arises," Moore said. "We're always looking at opportunities for us to strengthen our development capabilities, maybe our IP and maybe our technology backbone" including middleware and network technology.