EA Talks Skate Success, PS3 Challenges, Spore Dates

In a wide ranging call with analysts following its latest financial results, EA executives touted the success of its Skate franchise, which is currently outselling Tony Ha
In a wide ranging call with analysts following its latest financial results, EA executives touted the success of its Skate franchise, which is currently outselling Tony Hawk 2 to 1, said PS3 development still lagged behind the 360, that reports of broken Rock Band guitars were quite low, and seemed to back off confidence at a spring release for Spore. Speaking on EA franchise performance versus its competitors, EA CFO Warren Jensen noted that its Skate was performing extremely well against Activision rival Tony Hawk Pro Skater, with a 55% market share in terms of revenue "despite the fact that we launched on three fewer platforms." PS3 Development Challenges "Not Quite" Over Asked to comment on what appeared to be a 2007 trend of cross platform games hitting the PlayStation 3 after the 360, or delaying the launch altogether, and whether the situation was improving at the publisher, CEO John Riccitiello said, "Not quite." "There's no doubt that EA along with many other publishers had some challenges meeting tech expectations on PS3," he said, adding that on platforms where development was led on PS3, like its current Burnout Paradise, the company had "no issue at all." When development was led on Xbox 360 or done in parallel, however, EA was still experiencing some delay, due to a "little more challenging development environment." He did say, however, that the problem is now about a third less than it was nine months ago. Rock Band Breakdowns Over-stated? Asked if a delay of the European launch of Rock Band was related to U.S. reports of instrument breakdowns -- especially the switch used in its guitars -- Riccitiello said that the company has only seen single digit percentage complaints about its guitars, and added that the company's partnership with MTV Games has been unprecedented in its level of customer service on the breakdowns, replacing guitars very quickly. Spore Sighting Still Out Of Focus Finally, asked about his confidence in the progress of its highly anticipated forthcoming game Spore, Riccitiello seemed to back away from earlier comments from last August, when he said the game was being "squarely targeted at March, April, or May". Said in the call only to be a fiscal 2009 release (falling anywhere after April of this year), Riccitiello said that while the company was not announcing dates for any of its titles, he was confident the game would be released "before the holidays." "It's one of he titles we pay enormous attention to," he concluded, saying he was "very very bullish" on its future prospects.

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