On the heels of Sony's
That's right, EA will bring its blockbuster lineup -- currently online compatible only on the PlayStation 2 -- to Microsoft's online network for the Xbox console, Xbox Live. Though terms were undisclosed, it is thought that EA may be getting some sort of deal -- perhaps a lower royalty payment -- to make the transition. In any case, the long-awaited move is a good one for both Microsoft and EA.
For one thing, EA's sports lineup hits the sweet spot of online gaming.
As I pointed out in February, online compatibility helped skew EA's platform revenue mix. In the most recent quarter, PS 2 titles, which are online compatible, outsold EA's Xbox versions of the same titles by more than 3-to-1. By comparison, Activision
I vividly remember the sales guy at Best Buy
On the other side of the field, Microsoft's nearly 1 million-strong Xbox Live service is, in my view, a much stronger and more cohesive platform for online gaming than Sony's.
In the end, EA probably will see a slight sales boost, though the real effect will be a shift in platform revenue mix back towards the Xbox. Bigger picture, this latest move fortifies both EA and Microsoft's positions in a growing online gaming market.
David Gardner was an early fan of Electronic Arts and made it a top pick in Motley Fool Stock Advisor . Find out what he likes now. Give us your take on the Electronic Arts, Microsoft, and Video & PC Games discussion boards.
Fool contributor Jeff Hwang owns shares of Electronic Arts.