Electronic Arts' EA Partners division, which distributes and markets games by third party companies and sometimes co-funds their development, continues to be one of the key elements of the firm's overall business.
While the allegedly disappointing sales of Mirror's Edge
and Dead Space
-- both internally-developed EA games -- got a lot of ink this past fall, the company's surprisingly big success story -- albeit at lower royalty rates -- was Valve's Left 4 Dead
, an EA Partners-distributed product.
All these headline items helped call increasing attention to EA Partners over the past several months, but how much is the group growing as part of the publisher's overall portfolio?
"I think that there is very much a renaissance within the EAP based on the leadership of Electronic Arts," says DeMartini in our latest Gamasutra feature interview
. "John Riccitiello and Frank Gibeau are very, very pro-independent development."
The current economic climate, however, plus individual difficulties at companies including EA, looks like it has the potential to put a damper on things, challenging publishers and creating a trickle-down effect to independent developers. What will the effect on EAP be?
"Quite honestly, because EA is one of the strongest companies in the industry, we are still out there actively looking for partnerships," says DeMartini. "People know that when you are looking at options, in this kind of a climate, there is bound to be a consolidation.
"There is consolidation at the publisher level. There's consolidation of viable independents that are no longer in business. There's definitely an environment where independents are striving to survive -- you definitely want to get through this period so that you can get to the other side."
"And I think the way you get to the other side is by partnering with the strongest partners," he concludes. "I am very proud to represent -- maybe it's a biased opinion -- what I think is the strongest partner of independent development that exists."
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