Leading publisher Electronic Arts hopes to expand its business in the Far East massively in the coming five years, according to company CEO Larry Probst, who says that the firm wants to realise $1bn in revenue from the territory in 2010.
"We have a fairly aggressive goal, and that's to be a billion-dollar business," Probst said of the firm's ambitions in the Asian territory. In the last fiscal year, EA turned over $168 million in the Asia-Pacific markets; in order to meet Probst's target, the company will have to increase its business by around a factor of six in the coming years.
To achieve this, the company is looking to the mobile and online multiplayer markets, both of which are hugely popular in the Asia Pacific markets. Mobile gaming is a major business in Japan, and expanding rapidly in China and other territories, while Korea, Thailand and China in particular are huge markets for online titles.
Probst also believes that online gaming cafes, a major cultural phenomenon in South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan and China among others, offer a potentially important channel for EA to expand in the region. "These Internet game rooms have become a phenomenon," he said. "It's where young people go to play games and socialise. They spend enormous amounts of time in there."
Although EA has had significant success in the PC multiplayer action gaming market with its Battlefield franchise, the company's only massively multiplayer title is the aging Ultima Online, and efforts to develop a replacement have met with significant difficulties - with the most recent attempt, Ultima X: Odyssey, being cancelled last month.