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Posts Tagged ‘Mirror’s Edge’

Earlier this week, EA held it’s quarterly call for investors, where they recap the previous quarter’s results and share their short- and long-term outlook for the future.

booorrriinngThese calls tend to be packed with juicy details on release dates, new IP,  and what platforms the developers are focusing on for the future.  They are also booorrrrinng.  You’ll likely never hear a developer come onto an investor call.  Sadly, that’s not the type of background investors are interested in.  They’re usually led by an investor relations director, with short presentations from the CEO, CFO and a few others.  Occasionally they take questions at the end, but even those are limited to investors, analysts, and press.

Just take a look at this doozy from this week’s EA call ” …starting with its fiscal 2009 results, the company began to apply a fixed, long-term projected tax rate of 28% to determine its non-GAAP results. Prior to fiscal 2009, the company’s non-GAAP financial results were determined by excluding the specific income tax effects associated with the non-GAAP items and the impact of certain one-time income tax adjustments.” Sexy!!!

irBut there is hope.  Rather than dialing in, I followed along with some of my favorite games journos, who were kind enough to Twitter throughout the entire call, hitting up the highlights in real time.  N’gai Croal, Leigh Alexander, Libe Goad and Stephen Totilo all added context and some much needed character to the preceedings.  While I can’t imagine legal and IR departments ever warming up to the idea, it’d be neat to see a company incorporate a side-by-side Twitter conversation into earnings calls in some official way.

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The combined E3 game critics panel released their final winners list yesterday.  Not a ton of surprises here, but it’s interesting that EA won 4 of the 15 total awards, including Best PC Game, Best Action/Adventure, and most importantly, Most Original Game.

It’s expected for EA to win Best Sports Game, and from what I’ve seen of the new Madden, they certainly deserve it this year.  But over the last few years, it would’ve been hard to imagine them winning any awards for originality.  Yearly updates to time-tested sports franchises and crappy licensed games have been EA’s bread and butter, and I don’t think anyone would have bet on them changing strategies.  Clearly, new leadership and their radical reorganization are paying dividends quickly.  Just take a look at the breath of fresh air that is Mirror’s Edge.

Unfortunately, the best games still don’t get played without inspired marketing.  I must admit, I’m thoroughly impressed with how The House that Trip Built is promoting this year’s crop of surprisingly original IP.  Mirror’s Edge is getting a six issue comic book miniseries from DC’s Wildstorm imprint, exploring their near-future world under a police state that requires the use of runners (like the game’s protagonist) to deliver messages.  Even better, EA’s supplementing their forthcoming sci-fi survival horror title, Dead Space, with a six-book prequel series from Image Comics AND an animated, direct-to-video feature film that sets up exactly the games central set piece, a deep space mining colony, became overun with pure evil.  Check out the spooky trailer below.

While the look of the game doesn’t exactly translate to hand-drawn cell animation, direct-to-video supplements worked for The Matrix and The Dark Knight, so EA must be doing something right. With all this supplemental material beyond the game, EA has built their own Deeply Immersive Narrative Universe.  Having such fully realized worlds created as part of the development process frees EA from having to shoehorn a video game into other, licensed universes.

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