GLEN HEAD, N.Y. -- If you've ever drafted a fantasy baseball team or played a video game from EA Sports or tabulated a pitcher's WHIP, you've indirectly enjoyed the legacy of Strat-O-Matic, even if you've never heard of the small game company from the northern Long Island hamlet of Glen Head whose name is derived from a word so obscure the dictionary later cut it.
LOS ANGELES -- When EA Sports suggested to Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker three months ago that it would like his mixed martial arts promotion to do "something big" at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo -- an annual three-day exercise in sensory overload put on by the multi-billion-dollar video game industry for the purpose of showcasing its latest and greatest products -- he admittedly aimed too low.
With their business models under threat and shares in the doldrums, video game publishers like Electronic Arts look ripe for the picking by larger media conglomerates such as Walt Disney. But much as shareholders might hope for a quick exit, they shouldn't bank on a quick M&A payday.
Not everything related to UFC 100 is about big fights. Big business is also brewing under the surface, which, when it comes to mixed martial arts' most visible promoter, shouldn't be a surprise to anyone.
The biggest story in the videogame business this year has been the way Activision and Electronic Arts, the industry's two dominant powers, are gobbling up smaller competitors that have developed hot-selling games. Activision, publisher of the billion-dollar Guitar Hero series, is seeking approval to join forces with Vivendi Games, maker of the bestselling World of Warcraft. Meanwhile, giant EA, purveyor of Madden NFL and other sports franchises, is making a $2 billion hostile play for Take-Two, which owns Grand Theft Auto.
Electronic Arts decided it couldn't beat Jamdat, a publisher of videogames for cellphones, so this week it made the largest acquisition in its history, paying $680 million for the Los Angeles-based game-maker, the biggest player in the burgeoning $2.6 billion market for games on mobile phones.
Look in the dictionary under "intense," and you could justifiably see a screenshot of Electronic Arts' "Battlefield 2," a gripping, war-based 3-D shooter that drops you and your teammates into the middle of a worldwide conflict.
NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Cell phones are not just for having annoyingly loud conversations in restaurants anymore. More and more people are using them to satisfy their jones for Tetris, Blackjack and Scrabble.
Video game maker Electronic Arts will announce a change in its longstanding policy and begin paying overtime to some of its 5,800 workers this week, the New York Times reported Wednesday. But those workers will no longer be eligible for options or bonuses.
NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - The players are lining up on this year's virtual gridiron, but there are a lot fewer teams this time around. Last year, five video game publishers had football games. The 2004 season will only host two: Sega and Electronic Arts. But the battle could be the fiercest we've ever seen.
On Thursday Electronic Arts will announce its quarterly results, and analysts expect earnings of 5 cents a share on $420 million in revenue, extending the company's annual sales growth clip of roughly 20 percent.
EA Sports' "UEFA Euro 2004: Portugal" is bringing tournament-style soccer gaming to PS2, X-Box and PC. It's the official soccer game of UEFA Euro 2004, going on now, which is the championship series of UEFA, the governing body of European football (soccer in America).