EA praises Call of Duty Elite; hopes to trump it

By Jeff Mattas, Feb 08, 2012 12:00pm PST

Electronic Arts has made some significant progress in its attempts to capture more of the market share of the first-person shooter. Battlefield 3's piece of the first-person pie jumped eleven percent last year--from 13% to 24%--but the publisher is thinking of ways to up the ante even further. Recognizing the success of Activision's Call of Duty Elite service, EA is determined to get "one step ahead," perhaps by developing a similar service for its own military shooter franchise.

"I think certainly you look at what our competitors do well, and certainly Call of Duty Elite... the numbers Activision have talked about, they've done a great job," EA COO Peter Moore told IndustryGamers in a recent interview. "It's incumbent upon us, whether we do that or do something one step ahead, I think the digital strategy that we're executing against right now - a billion dollars on a trailing 12-month basis - shows that we're doing some good things as well. Differently, maybe," he explained.

It's not just the Battlefield series that could benefit from such an initiative. "FIFA Ultimate Team could be as big as Call of Duty Elite alone - one mode in one game could be as big as that," Moore said. "I'm pretty confident - we announced over $100 million in that mode last year and I'd be stunned if we didn't do better than that this year at the run rate we're currently at."

Moore also praised EA's use of "point-of-sale cards" at retail, which has the benefit of harnessing more consumers at the point of purchase, when many of them are more likely to buy extras.

Moore also noted that while capturing additional market share previously held by a competitor like Activision is important, the first-person shooter market continues to expand. He posits that the audience for such games "could be as much as a quarter of the entire industry." To his point, he notes that franchises like Call of Duty and Battlefield have become "cultural phenomenons," whose reach extends beyond that of the core gaming community, and therefore help grow the audience for video games as a whole.

"It's the same as in the old days with Microsoft," Moore illustrated. "Halo was a big deal, bigger than video games. So that element of it--with massive launches that compete favorably with movies--is good for us."

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