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EA tight-lipped on social plans to guard against 'mimicry'

EA CEO John Riccitiello explained today that the company is hesitant to publicly discuss its current and future plans in the social market, as it hopes to guard against "mimicry" from its competitors.
During EA's quarterly investor conference call on Wednesday, the company was hesitant to talk in-depth about its growing social business. According to EA CEO John Riccitiello, the company is keeping quiet to prevent "mimicry" from competing developers. Responding to a question about EA's upcoming plans in the social space, Riccitiello explained that the company is reluctant to provide too many details, thanks in large part to the competitive nature of the market. "Mimicry is common in this industry, and fast iteration and mimicry is something we need to guard against," he said. While he did not name any specific examples, there's no doubt that the social space has recently seen its fair share of alleged game "clones" that feature key elements from other titles. For instance, social gaming giant Zynga has been accused of copying both NimbleBit's Tiny Tower and Buffalo Studios' Bingo Blitz, and 6waves Lolapps has faced criticism for releasing a game much like Spry Fox's Triple Town. Despite his reluctance to discuss EA's social plans, Riccitiello did point out that EA has seen promise with its efforts overseas. He noted that in Japan, GREE's free to play FIFA World Class Soccer has achieved "enormous success." In addition, the company noted that Playfish's The Sims Social is "meeting expectations" in terms of monetization, though it declined to provide further details. EA COO Peter Moore added, "freemium is where our growth is," explaining that the company plans to focus on even more on its social efforts in the months ahead. Offering just a bit of insight into the future, Moore said that EA hopes to release five Facebook titles based on EA IPs over the next year.

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