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EA Cashing in on Online Gaming

Techstination feature for Friday, October 25, 2002

Cashing in on online gaming. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. When it comes to computer and video games... .Louis Castle knows a thing or two. He co-founded Westwood Studios 17 years ago...and has helped to create some of those most popular games of all time... the Command and Conquer series, Dune... and many more. The latest Westwood title... .Earth and Beyond... .takes players into an online community to explore a variety of new worlds... at 12.99 a month... .after they've paid about 50 dollars for the software... .

"The difference with an online subscription product like this one and package goods is... .package goods... everything's all about your first sixty days, maybe your first quarter. Whereas in an online subscription game, it's an annuity. Basically you have a group of consumers that have invested a lot of time that are paying a monthly fee. And if you care for them properly and treat them well, they'll keep paying that service for a long time and they'll fall off very gradually."

Westwood is part of Electronic Arts which is introducing an online version of the most popular computer game of all time... .The Sims. EA's Trudy Muller says with females making up the majority of players of The Sims titles... .the online component could be a breatkthrough...

With The Sims Online, it really can take online play mass market. It's something that people can identify with. It's relating to their everyday life. Right now, we're being conservative as far as what we see as being the potential for that. It could be big. It could break through into the mainstream as we've been looking for an online title to do that with subscription play.

The only question I have... .is how many subscriptions will consumers be willing to pay for? Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.