EA Sports Is Opening Up Its Own Retail Stores

Publisher Electronic Arts is making a big move in the online retail space, revealing its new digital distribution effort and Steam competitor Origin earlier this month. But the company still believes in brick and mortar—enough to open up its own retail stores, one of which will launch later this year.

Chris Erb, VP of brand marketing at EA Sports, tells Forbes that the Madden NFL publisher will follow in the footsteps of Apple and Microsoft, opening up three dedicated EA Sports stores over the next year. The first is planned to launch this fall in a Charlotte, North Carolina airport.

"It is the first of what we hope to be at least three new retail stores to open in the next year, and it's a place people will be able to interact and buy their favorite EA Sports games," Erb says, explaining the store as an "offline component to acquiring new customers."

"As we look to expand the overall sports game audience, it's important for us to create environments for people to get their hands on our products and experience how much interactive sports experiences have evolved over the past few years," Erb says.

A render of the EA Sports retail store shows demo kiosks for video games, plus apparel and accessories featuring NFL and Electronic Arts brands.

EA SPORTS Shares Facebook Learning and Announces Retail Stores [Forbes via Gamasutra]