In memoriam, Donald Sutherland

Electronic Arts, Inc.

Moby ID: 2

AKA +
  • EA Studios (from 1997 to 1998)
  • Amazin' Software (from 1982 to 1983)
  • EA - Official abbreviation

Overview edit · view history

Founded in 1982 as Amazin' Software by Trip Hawkins, Electronic Arts (EA) has built an empire of brand labels. The company is considered one of the largest players in the industry, often through acquisitions of successful development studios. It owns a large number of well-known intellectual properties such as Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Sims/SimCity, Command & Conquer, Battlefield and a wide range of sports licenses and rights to use external properties for films and toys.

Electronic Arts Distribution (EAD) was EA's third party publishing house, which distributed titles from the likes of Disney Interactive, LEGO, LucasArts, Square Soft, and more throughout Europe, North America, and Asia-Pacific (Australia). EAD was in existence from 1987-1991 and lead by Larry Probst, Senior VP at the time. Distribution of third-party titles continued with the division EA Distribution, until September 1997 when it was reformed to include full publishing, with development and marketing as well. In June 2003 the initiative was renamed EA Partners. In 2016, the initiative was revived with the EA Originals label.

EA Studios was EA's development arm, which consists of studios dotted around the United States, with the more common studios in use in Seattle and Canada. EA also has development studios in Japan and London.

Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, the company would acquire a large amount of studios and intellectual properties, such as Origin Systems, Maxis Software, Bullfrog Productions, Westwood Studios, Digital Illusions CE and others, while also founding its own like EA Redwood Shores (later Visceral Games) (see full list below). A common criticism towards EA would be the rate in which it would close or reshuffle its subsidiaries.

The company had a disappointing fiscal year in 2007. They miscalculated the success of the Nintendo Wii and focused mainly on the Xbox 360 and the PS3, resulting in only two Wii launch titles, ports of existing games: Need for Speed: Carbon and Madden NFL 07. To catch up, they acquired Headgate Studios which they had been working together with for the Tiger Woods PGA series since 2000, and turned it into EA Salt Lake, focusing the studio entirely on Wii development. On 11 October 2007, EA acquired VG Holding Corp., the holding company of BioWare and Pandemic Studios for US$ 775 million.

In June 2007, the company was reorganized into four labels:

The four labels are supported by two new groups: Central Development Services and Global Publishing. Central Development Services, both led by Executive Vice President John Schappert. The Casual label was closed in November 2008 and merged into The Sims label along with the Hasbro partnership. The Sims as a label also disappeared.

In February 2008, the company also set its sights on major publisher Take-Two Interactive Software and most importantly the Rockstar studios it owns, mostly in response of the merger between Activision and Vivendi, but eventually in October 2008 it was confirmed there was no agreement.

In November 2009, EA announced to axe 1,500 jobs by the end of March 2010 as part of a new cost reduction plan, following net losses that increased during its second quarter to USD 391 million. Several studios were closed (such as Pandemic Studios) or restructured (such as EA Los Angeles being split to Danger Close and Victory Games).

In June 2011, EA decided to stop distributing their PC games via Steam, as they focused on their new competing service Origin, which replaced their prior EA Download Manager (EADM). Some existing titles like Crysis 2 were even delisted from Steam. On 12 July 2011, EA acquired PopCap Games.

In June 2012, COO Peter Moore announced a shift toward free-to-play and microtransactions in the gaming industry as a whole, and the company itself would match this business model around this time, to much controversy.

On 18 March 2013, John Riccitiello would step down as EA's CEO. After a transitional period during which the position was temporarily held by Larry Probst, Andrew Wilson was named as the company's CEO on 17 September 2013, after years of leading the EA Sports label. In the same year, EA fired approximately 10% of its workforce, but also acquired an exclusive Star Wars license for games for 10 years.

In mid-2014, online services for many EA games were to be shut down as part of the GameSpy Industries closure, but despite securing an extra month of uptime compared to other companies' titles (i.e. 30 June 2014 as the end date), EA would not migrate any of them to a different infrastructure.

In 2015, EA would open itself to publishing smaller productions by companies they do not directly own, such as Unravel. Their 2017 title Star Wars: Battlefront II would come at the peak of public attention over the loot box monetization system, which many companies were using at the time. EA was perceived as the clearest example of such practices, and faced legal issues in multiple countries over it. In the same year, they acquired Respawn Entertainment.

In October 2019, EA would return to publishing their PC games on Steam, but largely with an additional EA account requirement and/or Origin integration. In 2020, they would rebrand their EA Access subscription system to EA Play, and would offer it on non-Origin storefronts such as Steam and Microsoft Store's Windows Apps section in addition to the Xbox and PlayStation stores it was available on previously. In the same year, they outbid Take-Two Interactive Software to acquire Codemasters.

In 2023, the company split its operations to two labels - EA Sports and EA Entertainment, with studios meant to be assigned to one of them.

Known subsidiaries

Names in italics used to be subsidiaries, but no longer are as they were closed or sold off.

Labels and product lines used by the company

Acquired development studios and companies

Established development studios

Known distribution offices: Australia, Brazil, China, Czechia, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan (former), Japan (current), Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden (proper), Sweden (Nordic), Thailand, United Kingdom, United States.

Credited on 2,190 Games from 1983 to 2024

Displaying most recent · View all

Tales of Kenzera: Zau (2024 on Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5...)
WRC (2023 on Windows, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series)
NHL 24 (2023 on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series, Xbox One...)
FC 24 (2023 on Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One...)
Immortals of Aveum (2023 on Windows, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series)
Madden NFL 24 (2023 on Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One...)
F1 23 (2023 on Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One...)
F1 23 (Champions Edition) (2023 on Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series...)
Super Mega Baseball 4 (2023 on Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5...)
The Lord of the Rings: Heroes of Middle-earth (2023 on iPhone, Android, iPad)
Star Wars: Jedi - Survivor (2023 on Windows, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series)
Star Wars: Jedi - Survivor: Deluxe Edition (2023 on Windows, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series)
PGA Tour (2023 on Windows, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series)
MLB Tap Sports Baseball 2023 (2023 on iPhone, Android, iPad)
Wild Hearts (2023 on Windows, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series)
Dead Space (2023 on Windows, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series)
Dead Space (Digital Deluxe Edition) (2023 on Xbox Series, PlayStation 5, Windows)
NFS: Unbound (2022 on Windows, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series)
NHL 23 (2022 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5...)
FIFA 23 (2022 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One)

[ view all ]

History +

February 28, 2024

Company lays off 670 employees (5% of its workforce at the time), closes Ridgeline Games (with some staff moving to Ripple Effect Studios) and cancels several projects including Ridgeline's singleplayer Battlefield game and a Star Wars FPS by Respawn Entertainment.

June 20, 2023

As part of an internal reorganization, EA splits its studios into two organizations: EA Entertainment and EA Sports.

March 31, 2023

As part of "a strategic decision (...) to focus on fewer channels", which previously resulted in pulling their games from authorized key resellers, EA delists Codemasters titles from the DRM-free PC game store ZOOM Platform.

January 31, 2023

Company announces the closure of Industrial Toys. Consequently, their soft-launched game at the time, Battlefield Mobile, is cancelled.

October 7, 2022

Origin becomes superseded by the overhauled EA App on Windows, with the macOS version announced for a later date.

[ view all ]

Trivia +

Electronic Arts trades on the NASDAQ under symbol ERTS.

In case you're wondering what's that "ball" doing in the middle of the original EA logo, which is a cube, a sphere, and a tetrahedron (with the cube representing the "E" and the tetrahedron representing the "A"), the answer is nothing. It doesn't stand for anything. :-)

EA's classic corporate logo, consisting of a square, a triangle and a circle, was devised by Barry Deutsch of Steinhilber Deutsch and Gard design firm. The three shapes were meant to stand for the "basic alphabet of graphic design." The shapes were rasterized to connote technology.

[ view all ]

Related Web Sites +

Contribute

Add your expertise to help preserve video game history! You can submit a correction or add the following: