"The appeal of those types of games is growing as the demographic starts to open up for that age group, older demographic. We make games like Godfather 2, Army of Two, Crysis--a lot of products that appeal to that older customer," Gibeau said. "It's clearly a growth opportunity for our label."
Also during the call, EA CEO John Riccitiello spoke candidly on whom the company fears and admires in response to a query about which companies keep him "awake at night, so to speak." Riccitiello singled out Paris-based game giant Ubisoft, of which EA owns a 20% stake, as "insightful" for forcefully getting Nintendo Wii and DS games to the market early on.
The CEO had slightly less hopeful remarks about EA Sports competitor and 2K Sports parent company Take-Two. EA's exclusive five-year licensing agreement with the NFL and NFL Player's Association in 2004 stopped 2K from releasing a football game after Visual Concepts' ESPN NFL 2K5. This year, 2K Sports published Visual Concepts' All-Pro Football 2K8, sidestepping NFL licensing issues by allowing players to take control of retired football stars like Joe Montana or O.J. Simpson.
"When you've got a competitor like Take-Two on the sports side, and they launch a football title using some of the industry legends, you want to make sure that, that ends up being a blip and is not repeatable because we like to defend our franchises aggressively," Riccitiello said.
In an announcement separate from the annual meeting, EA revealed the formation of a Moscow-based team to directly serve the Russian market with localized versions of console games. Russian Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of games from the Need for Speed and FIFA Football franchises will retail in the country later this year, according to EA.
"This is a very dynamic marketplace, with a world class retail environment and consumers who have the intellect and appetite for interactive entertainment," said EA VP Peter Laughton. "We're looking forward to bringing tailored offerings to Russian consumers that incorporate local language, music, and celebrities into some of our most popular titles."