Electronic arts EA Sports

The Genesis of Electronic Arts (EA Sports)

Electronic Arts (EA), a heavyweight in the realm of video game publishing, has a storied past that many may not be aware of. This article will delve into the origins and evolution of EA from its inception in 1982 to its current status as a global leader in the gaming industry.

 

The Dawn of EA (1982-1983)

EA was established in 1982 by three former Apple Computer managers: William M. Hawkins III, William Bingham Gordon, and Tom Mott. Their collective vision was to create a company dedicated to developing and marketing software games for home computers.

At the time of EA's inception, the company was a modest operation consisting of 11 individuals and backed by $5 million in capital from private investors. The first product to be shipped by EA was a software game for the Atari 800 game player in May 1983. However, the market soon shifted in favour of the Commodore system, prompting EA to quickly adapt and release six additional games for the Commodore 64 computer in October 1983.

The Emergence of EA's Signature Games (1983-1989)

In the initial years of EA's existence, the company released several games that quickly gained popularity and established EA as a leading player in the gaming industry. This first batch of games stood out due to their unique packaging, which resembled rock albums, and prominently featured the creators' names on the front. Some of the classic titles included 'Archon: The Light and Dark', 'Hard Hat Mack', 'M.U.L.E.', 'Worms', and 'Axis Assassin'.

From 1989 to 1994, EA experienced a rapid growth in a swiftly expanding world market, with earnings increasing by 60% annually.

Expansion and Diversification (1990-1994)

In the early 1990s, EA made significant strides in international expansion. The company acquired Distinctive Software Inc., based in Vancouver, Canada, which doubled the company's game developers to about 115 people. EA also formed a joint venture with Japan's Victor Musical Industries Inc. to translate and distribute EA's games for the Japanese market and several other Asian countries.

EA also diversified into educational games software for children, a category also known as 'edutainment'. In 1992, the EA*Kids brand and division was launched to provide software for children aged 3 to 14.

Technological Innovations and Future Plans (1995-Present)

As technology advanced, EA pursued its Hollywood model of entertainment software publishing even further, developing more sophisticated software. The company formed its Advanced Entertainment Group in 1993, which brought together animators, musicians, photographers, writers, and filmmakers. The resulting multimedia software combined CD-quality digitized stereo sound, full-motion video, and 3D-modeled animation.

EA also played a significant role in establishing a joint-venture technology company, 3DO Inc., set up to license technology to hardware developers for the next generation of video game players. EA was the largest of the original shareholders of 3DO, with approximately a 20% share.

Note: EA was investing 14% of its revenues in R&D in 1994, up from around 12% the previous two years.

Looking towards the future, EA has plans in the works, including interactive movies, travel-based entertainment, and access to its software through interactive cable television.

Conclusion

From its humble beginnings in a South San Francisco warehouse to its current status as a global leader in the gaming industry, EA has continuously evolved and adapted to the changing landscape of the gaming industry. With a commitment to innovation, creativity, and quality, EA continues to shape the future of gaming and entertain millions of players worldwide.

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