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Pleasants blames EA performance on "lack of hits"

Publisher's COO reveals that marketing will be a key focus from now on

Electronic Arts' COO, John Pleasants, has explained the reason for the company's relatively poor performance in 2008 on a lack of hit titles, which has resulted in the stock price falling to its lowest point for seven years.

"The biggest thing was that we didn’t make hits," he told the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet conference, according to Forbes.

In a bid to respond to the changing economy the company - now up against stiff competition from Activision Blizzard in the battle to be the world's biggest publisher - has announced it will trim jobs in almost all divisions, with the notable exception of marketing.

"The game-development process has evolved, so the marketing should as well," said Pleasants. "It's less about 'We have an idea, we go away for 24 months and spend USD 30 million working on a game, then put a little buzz out there and hope it works.'

"We need to have a dialogue with the audience, take a longer lead time and make sure we have the right mix of digital and traditional."

He also reiterated the publisher's plan to cut the number of titles being released by about 20 per cent: "You can lose your way on basic execution when you have too many games," he said.

EA's share price was down 3.7 per cent yesterday to USD 16.13.

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