If Electronic Arts
Spore is a computer game, initially available only for PC and Mac users.
Despite the hubbub over snazzy button-mashing console action, EA knows that you can still draw a big audience with a computer game. One of EA's biggest hits is The Sims, which evolved into a $4 billion franchise.
The nerdy premise of Spore -- a sort of SimEvolution in which players create and control life from single-celled organisms to entire galaxies -- may limit the ultimate audience, but you can't blame EA for trying.
The game's delays have given EA time to get some serious marketing campaigns going. A free online creature-creator program has allowed curious users the opportunity to create critters that they can share with their friends virally. The official Spore channel on Google's
EA needs the buzz. It also doesn't hurt that interactivity is part of the game, since players of the real game will be able to visit fellow gamers' virtual worlds, and their own ecosystems will be populated by other players' creations.
When the first sales figures begin to trickle in later this month, Fools should watch the impact Spore may have on the company's proposed buyout of Take-Two Interactive
If the game isn't a blowout hit, the lackluster buying activity may spur EA to concede more in landing Take-Two, since it will have to answer to shareholders over its lack of organic success.
But what if Spore is the hit that it's likely to be? Well, that will also work in Take-Two's favor. Educating the marketplace on civilization-building games could help Take-Two's own Civilization franchise.
Since Take-Two's shares continue to trade at an earnings-based discount to rival game makers like EA, Activision Blizzard
Spore seems to have spawned a monster -- and the beast's not even EA's creation.
Other games to play: