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EA planning social games acquisition

EA planning social games acquisition
Electronic Arts has a tried and tested approach to new markets and gaming platforms. Watch what's happening, dip your toes in, then pounce and acquire whichever company is most likely to make you top dog in that space.

It's what EA did for mobile gaming, after all, when it bought the then-largest publisher Jamdat in early 2006. And now it seems EA is limbering up for a similar move in the emerging social games market.

The rumours were actually started by EA itself, when its COO John Pleasants gave an interview earlier this week to PaidContent, and professed his admiration for the leading firms in the social games space.

“We have huge regard for companies like Playfish,” he said. “They don’t have high customer acquisition costs and they’re getting users to bite on micro-transactions from the start. 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.”

Now today, trade site Inside Social Games is claiming that EA may be about to announce an acquisition. No, not Playfish or its rivals SGN and Zynga, but of social gaming technology firm J2Play. Its founder has apparently changed his LinkedIn profile to read 'director of social platforms at Electronic Arts'.

As Pleasants pointed out in that original interview, EA isn't completely new to social games: it's published several Facebook games, not to mention introduced social aspects to its Pogo casual gaming community.

Assuming the J2Play news is correct, EA seems set to ramp up its efforts - something that will have an impact on its mobile activities, too, hopefully sparking even more social aspects in the company's iPhone and mobile games.

Perhaps ironically, Pleasants himself won't be around to see all this: he left EA this week for a new job as CEO of... a social games company! Playdom, who you may remember from this PocketGamer.biz interview.

Several other former EA execs have popped up at social gaming firms recently - two at Zynga this month, for example. It seems EA is just as keen to compete in the social space.

Contributing Editor

Stuart is a freelance journalist and blogger who's been getting paid to write stuff since 1998. In that time, he's focused on topics ranging from Sega's Dreamcast console to robots. That's what you call versatility. (Or a short attention span.)

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