RealTime IT News

Microsoft, Electronic Arts Play Games

Microsoft Corp. Wednesday reported that Electronic Arts (EA), a leading video games software developer, will create products for its upcoming Xbox game system.

Financial details were not disclosed. However, as part of the multiyear agreement, EA anticipates publishing up to 10 titles in support of the Xbox system's launch. In preparation for the product development, the developer has ordered 500 Xbox Development Kits (XDKs) from Microsoft.

EA is not the only game player in the Microsoft arena. To date, the software giant has secured more than 200 companies to develop and publish content for Xbox. In addition, more than 18 developers have committed to making exclusive Xbox titles to be published under the Microsoft label. All companies working on Xbox games will benefit from Microsoft's commitment to a $500 million Xbox marketing budget.

Microsoft is intent on making an impact in the $20 billion game industry and unseating rival Sony Corp.'s popular PlayStation 2, according to analysts.

Employing EA, is a notch in Microsoft's belt, noted Steve Kleynhans, an analyst with the META Group. "EA is the biggest player in games," he said. "If you don't have them producing games for your platform, it would be a fairly significant negative on a new platform."

The Xbox, which is expected to launch in fall 2001, offers EA an exciting platform in which to work, according to Larry Probst, EA's chairman and CEO. "Microsoft has the vision, the technology and the resources required to make a significant impact on our industry," he said.

EA is the creator of such titles as "Madden NFL 2001," "SSX" snowboarding and "Knockout Kings" boxing.