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Vrabeck Out As EA Reorganizes Casual Biz, Ditches EA Casual Label

Vrabeck Out As EA Reorganizes Casual Biz, Ditches EA Casual Label

November 7, 2008 | By Leigh Alexander

November 7, 2008 | By Leigh Alexander
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Electronic Arts is restructuring its casual business, folding the EA Casual label and its Hasbro partnership into its Sims label, in a move that sees EA Casual president Kathy Vrabeck departing.

The company confirmed the move this morning to consumer weblog Kotaku, promising further announcements about EA Mobile and Pogo in the coming weeks, plus info on media sales and online casual initiatives.

"We’ve learned a lot about casual entertainment in the past two years, and found that casual gaming defies a single genre and demographic," EA said in a statement.

"With the departure of Kathy Vrabeck, EA is reorganizing to integrate casual games — development and marketing — into other divisions of our business."

The publisher said the casual-side restructuring creates a new "Sims and Casual Label, where there is a deep compatibility in the product design, marketing and demographics."

"Those businesses remain growth priorities for EA and deserve strong support in a group that will compliment their objectives."

EA Casual was established in June 2007 with former Activision Publishing president Vrabeck at the head, and a month later, the company signed a four-year licensing deal with Hasbro.

Analysts praised the founding of the EA Casual label as a "significant growth opportunity" for EA. Recently, though, the company saw its second quarter losses widen to $310 million as it laid off 600 employees from across its global studios, citing an "ongoing imperative" to manage its cost structure.

EA also revealed today that Geraldine Layborne, founder and former CEO of the Oxygen Media TV network for women, is joining its Board of Directors to help "create products for new audiences."


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