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EA "proud" of studio efforts on quality

And CFO Eric Brown reveals new marketing tactics has helped raise sales levels

Electronic Arts executive VP and CFO, Eric Brown, has told the BMO Capital Markets Digital Entertainment Conference that the publisher is "proud" of the effort put in by its studios in raising the quality bar of this year's releases.

Speaking in a session at the New York event yesterday Brown outlined the change in overall ratings that has seen the company perform much better this year in the eyes of critics in comparison to the last couple of years.

"With regard to driving hits, this has been a very good year to-date for EA," he explained. "We've launched 17 titles rated 80 or better, versus 13 titles in all of last calendar year, versus five 80-rated titles two years ago.

"So the efforts that we've made, the investments that we've made in terms of increasing game quality, is paying off across all the franchises really - so licensed sports, every title is up in terms of quality year-over-year.

"Dragon Age was just released as a 90 Metacritic game; FIFA 10 and NHL 10 are the current highest-average rated sports title for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. So we're very proud of the efforts of our studios to-date."

And he went on to explain that the changes the publisher has made to its marketing strategy has also paid dividends - despite ongoing restructuring to the company resulting in a further 1500 job cuts before the end of March 2010.

"With regards to marketing, some of the changes we've made at the beginning of the year was to first of all space the product releases out differently and not have all the titles stack up in the Holiday quarter," he said.

"We pushed The Sims 3 release out of last fiscal year into Q1 to provide more lead time for marketing. What we're finding is that this notion of long-lead marketing is becoming more important - the old model would be to launch a videogame with an intense concentration of broadcast media, TV advertising, et cetera, but relatively little spend before or after.

"Now what we find ourselves doing is spending money a bit earlier on different media, online being the most important one, so that demand is driven, interest is created, assets to games are released earlier - screens, snapshots, trailers, demos, et cetera. And we provide more sustained campaigns afterwards to sustain catalogue."

He went on to reveal that as a result the sales for FIFA 10 were up around 31 per cent, compared to a similar sales period for last year's FIFA 09 title.

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