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EA poised for casual gaming acquisition?

COO John Pleasants reveals the publisher is set to announce deals in "near future"

Electronic Arts is planning to make some announcements over casual gaming deals with other companies at some point soon, according to the publisher's COO John Pleasants.

In an interview published on Reuters, Pleasants didn't offer any details as to the nature of the deals or the companies involved, although he was responding to a question about EA's ability to compete with casual games companies, and he did say that the publisher was in "investment mode".

"We have huge regard for companies like Playfish; they don't have high customer acquisition costs and they're getting users to bite on micro-transactions from the start," he said. "So we're in investment mode, and we'll be announcing deals with companies that will be of note some time in the near future.

He went on to detail further the other activity in the casual marketplace that the company is involved with.

"We're also building four social network games from the ground up - in addition to a platform that connects game-play feeds from the consoles to a player's social network," he said.

"Then there's Pogo.com. We're working on back-end stuff like better SEO, new user interfaces and adding micro-transactions to the core subscription model. It's not necessarily a competition - since we already run one of the largest online and social gaming sites standing right now - it's more about creating this comprehensive package of social activity for every person that plays one of our games."

EA's recent launch of The Sims 3 saw the company working much harder in online marketing to try and attract new and lapsed users with a strategy that took in social networks, and the title became the biggest PC launch in the company's history, selling 1.4 million units in the first week on sale.

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