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Global gaming audience "at least" 1 billion - Riccitiello

By Matt Martin

Wed 09 Dec 2009 9:20am GMT / 4:20am EST / 1:20am PST

Over one billion EA Sports games hosted online this year, reveals CEO

Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello has estimated that at the least, one billion people now play games across the globe.

Speaking to Nightly Business Report, he added that the games business cannot be ignored in the entertainment world, and the release of a blockbuster game is much more significant than a big Hollywood movie.

"I think conservatively, if I add up mobile users, social network people that play games, people that play PC games online in Asia, all this stuff, this new audience there's at least a billion people gaming today, compared to a couple of hundred million just five years ago.

"So we have five times the audience we've ever had, and it's growing in leaps and bounds. It's no longer a niche. Our biggest releases dwarf the numbers of a Hollywood box office movie so the numbers are very, very big and can no longer be ignored."

Discussing the growth of online play, Riccitiello noted that over one billion EA Sports games have been played online this year alone.

"That's a staggering number, where people are playing an hour or two hours or three hours. It's the productivity of a small nation wrapped up in EA Sports online."

He also reiterated the company's twin focus on traditional packaged goods and new digital businesses, stating it's "important to embrace both" and repeating that EA recorded USD 138 million in digital revenue in the last quarter.

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