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File:EA logo 001 7985.gif

Can a Computer Make You Cry?

Electronic Arts is the second oldest independent publisher of video games in existence (since the demise of Acclaim). Beginning life in 1982, the company first made its name publishing titles for the home computer market on machines like the Commodore 64 and Apple II rather than attempting to follow Activision into the home console market. As a result of this, they largely avoided becoming embroiled in The Great Video Game Crash of 1983 that killed off many of their rivals. In their early days, they justified their name by attempting to treat computer games as art, and the authors as artists in their own right.

The company's first modern-day big break was the Sega Genesis release of Madden NFL, one of the first football games to represent the game to a reasonably accurate degree that was also fun to play. Their sports games would eventually expand to become their most profitable line after signing licenses with the NHL, NBA, PGA, FIFA and others.

Over the years since the Genesis era, the company has grown massively, acquiring many other smaller companies (and their intellectual property) such as Maxis (Sim City, The Sims), Origin (Strike Commander, Ultima, Wing Commander), Westwood (Command and Conquer) and Bullfrog (Populous, Magic Carpet, Dungeon Keeper, Syndicate).

A lesser known element of the company is the division called EA Partners, which handles publishing duties in the west for many games created by Japanese publishers that lack a publishing presence outside Japan, as well as offering publishing and distributing channels for smaller Western developers that wouldn't normally have access to those channels by themselves. The most prominent of those was a short-lived partnership with Square Soft in the days before their merging with Enix. Today EA Partners is the publisher of a number of titles from smaller developers, including the Rock Band series, the Crysis series, the Shank games and, surprisingly, being the retail distributor of games developed by Valve.

EA is notable for loving Region Coding. Many games published by EA for the Xbox 360 are region coded, as are some of their games for the Play Station Portable. They have even announced their intention to region code the PS3 release of Army of Two, but fortunately stepped down when numerous angry fans threatened to boycott the game. Unfortunately, online play remains region-segregated, and the X Box 360 release of the game remains region-locked.

Early Electronic Arts games:

Properties acquired through buyouts:

Major sports properties:

Modern era properties: