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EA:  Rock Band  Deal Ending, But EA 'Hopeful The Business Will Continue'

EA: Rock Band Deal Ending, But EA 'Hopeful The Business Will Continue' Exclusive

February 11, 2010 | By Chris Remo

February 11, 2010 | By Chris Remo
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More: Console/PC, Exclusive

Electronic Arts' distribution deal with Viacom-owned MTV Games, which has seen the two companies co-publish Harmonix's Rock Band games since 2007, comes to an end this March -- but EA says it is "hopeful of continuing a relationship with Viacom."

During a post-earnings analyst conference call this week, EA confirmed the contract's impending expiration, but Gamasutra was soon contacted by Harmonix to clarify that the upcoming Green Day: Rock Band will still bear the EA brand.

And now, David DeMartini, head of EA's third-party distribution business EA Partners, tells Gamasutra that while "the Viacom deal is coming to a contractual end," the company hopes to renew that deal, or continue the relationship in some form -- but nothing has yet been determined.

"Green Day: [Rock Band] is a natural extension of the Rock Band brand, and it's a really strong product, and we're looking very much forward to distributing [it]," DeMartini said in an interview.

"But beyond that, we're hopeful of continuing a relationship with Viacom. We feel like the relationship has been fantastic; we've been good partners to each other, and we've achieved a lot of success."

"We're certainly hopeful the business will continue, but since nothing is formally signed, it's impossible for us to project those numbers into our going-forward [estimates]," he added, referring in part to the $450 million year-over-year distribution revenue decrease EA factored into its fiscal guidance this week.

DeMartini also downplayed claims that EA will be paring back its distribution division, saying EA Partners is "one of EA's strongly-growing units" and that "the distribution side of our business has been extraordinarily robust."

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