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Brown: Electronic Arts Bullish On Android Mobile Game Market
Brown: Electronic Arts Bullish On Android Mobile Game Market
September 14, 2010 | By Kyle Orland

September 14, 2010 | By Kyle Orland

Electronic Arts CFO Eric Brown said that the major game publisher and developer is "positioning its mobile business" to reflect a predicted rise in Google's Android OS for gaming over the next few years.

Speaking at a Deutsche Bank 2010 Technology Conference presentation covered elsewhere by Gamasutra, Brown cited a report from analyst IDC, which he reported as saying that in 2014 Android may have a 25% market share, compared to 11% for Apple devices.

The new CFO for the Madden and Need For Speed publisher particularly noted: "So I think there's a lot to happen in the future in Android, and were trying to position our mobile business to take advantage of that trend."

While Brown said that Electronic Arts is happy with its current smartphone game business of $200 to $225 million yearly, which is dominated by sales on the iPhone, he feels that Apple's dominant position in the market will not last forever.

"I think the next big positive wave to push better growth in mobile will be the deployment of an App Store equivalent for the Android operating system," Brown said at a Q&A as part of the Deutsche Bank 2010 Technology Conference. "We think long term ... the Android market is going to take its share."

(The Android OS has a basic Android Market, but Brown may be hoping that Google will increase its features in the future. In addition, a number of other providers such as Verizon are developing their own more complex App Stores which developers can also sell through.)

Brown pointed to smartphone hardware sales from the last quarter, which saw sales of Android OS devices outpacing iPhones for the first time, as evidence of this coming change -- although EA's game sales do not yet reflect this.

The growth of both the iPhone and the Android is part of what Brown sees as a major shift in the mobile phone market away from earlier mobile phones and towards smartphones. "Its like going through a PS2 to PS3 transition," he said.

EA titles frequently appear in the list of top-grossing Apps for the iPhone and iPad, with titles from the Tiger Woods, Need for Speed, FIFA, Madden, Tetris and Monopoly franchises, among others, showing strong results.

Recently both id Mobile and ngmoco have posted job opportunities for Android programmers, suggesting EA isn't the only company to see the OS as an emerging market. Epic is also reportedly looking to bring its Unreal Engine 3 to the Android operating system after a successful demonstration on the iPhone attracted one million downloads.

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Patrick Brown
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Go Google :)

Luis Levy
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Well on our way to take over the world ;)

nikola nikolov
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Go go, Android! With so many different versions of the OS evenly distributed over hundreds of different hardware platforms the fragmentation of this market is awful. So developers beware when making a game that should run everywhere! Just enter Android Market, find an app and see the comments. It sound's like this: "It doesn't run on Droid(or Magic, or whatever)! Please fix it!"

The iPhone is like a console. 3 Major hardware platforms with different storage capacity, that's all!

Android is good for Internet, not games.

Good Luck EA!

Amir Sharar
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I too have likened iOS vs Android to Consoles vs. PC.

That said, we still see many games on the PC despite the varying hardware and software. So while smaller developers might have issues, larger publishers like EA shouldn't.

Derek James
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There are currently 4 stock versions of Android running in the ecosystem, though 'hundreds' of hardware platforms at this point is a bit of a hyperbole (there are dozens). So developing for Android is comparable in many ways to developing for PCs.

Andrew Grapsas
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Just design good software. These problems have all been solved already from an engineering standpoint.

Ian Uniacke
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I think it's silly for EA to equate "popularity of smart phones" with "popularity of mobile gaming". The two are only correlated because the iPhone was previously the only popular smart phone. People by smart phones for a number of reasons many of them nothing to do with games. For instance the gps apps on android phones are quite useful.

Also I think that androids popularity is more a reflection of the "other half" of mobile customers all graduating to a common phone base. That is, people who previously weren't interested in iPhone because they just wanted a phone to make phone calls, are upgrading their phones. And since most mobile phone manufacturers are graduating towards android, then it's likely that these customers will inevitably buy an android.

It will be interesting to see if gaming can reach a critical mass on this system. I doubt it but then again I didn't think it would get so popular on the iphone.