Electronic Arts Scaling Back Third Party Distribution Plans

Illustration for article titled Electronic Arts Scaling Back Third Party Distribution Plans

Top-flight titles like Rock Band and Left 4 Dead are distributed by Electronic Arts but the association doesn't mean as much to the company's bottom line. The publisher will be moving away from distributing third-party titles in the coming year.


"While we have great relationships with our partners we are modeling a reduction in our distribution business as we concentrate on higher margin EA owned titles and digital initiatives," EA chief operating officer John Schappert said in yesterday's conference call.

Short-term, that takes $450 million of revenue off of EA's books. Long-term, it means they won't paying the freight on titles they didn't make.


No Rock Band games were listed in EA's upcoming key releases; in fact, all were in-house projects.

EA: Distribution Business To Be Pared Down, Headcount Stable In 2010[Gamasutra]

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"we are modeling a reduction in our distribution business"

It's interesting, because a similar move last year by Activision is what ended up moving Brutal Legend to EA. Wonder where this is going to leave larger development shops if the 'big 2' (EA and Activision) don't want to take risks publishing small-margin 3rd party games.

Either they cave and get bought by one of the giant monsters or figure out a way to self-publish? Or maybe figure out a way to band together in joint publishing agreements to give themselves the distribution power that EA/Activision have (a "gathering of developers" if you will ;)

Hmm, that sounds like something Valve would spearhead.