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EA Unveils New Co-Op Demo Pack

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Video game developer and publisher, Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) is leaving no stone unturned to make its upcoming action game Army of Two The Devil’s Cartel a hit with the fans. EA recently announced a downloadable demo pack prior to the game’s release on Mar 26, 2013.

Army of Two The Devil’s Cartel, developed by Visceral Games, is a co-operative game set in Mexico. Tactical Worldwide Operations (“TWO”) is a private military organization, whose two operatives Alpha and Bravo fight the deadly drug cartel on the streets of Mexico. The game is powered by the Frostbite 2 engine, which provides a more advanced upgrade and customization system.

Moreover, renowned hip-hop stars Big Boi and B.o.B will feature in the game as the two agents namely Charles “Chuy” Rendall and Anthony “Baker” Barnes. Additionally, the singers are collaborating for the game’s theme song.

The co-operative demo pack is set to release on Mar 12 and will be available on Sony’s (SNE) PlayStation Network and Microsoft’s (MSFT) Xbox LIVE Marketplace. In the pack, gamers will play the role of Alpha and Bravo as they fight off a deadly drug cartel to rescue a politician and solve a hostage crisis simultaneously.

EA continues to offer exclusive hit-makers kit, a bonus pack available on pre-ordering Army of Two The Devil’s Cartel from GameStop (GME). The pack allows players to play the characters of Big Boi and B.o.B in an additional contract mission.

We believe that the inclusion of real-life stars Big Boi and B.o.B in the video game reflects changing marketing strategies of the traditional video game companies. Facing increasing competition from the growing popularity of mobile and free-to-play games, EA is looking for new avenues to boost its consumer base and revenues.

The use of real-life public figures commanding a loyal fan base makes it much easier for EA to reach a large audience instantly. Moreover, the marketing strategy to attract gamers with bonus packs prior to the game’s release should definitely work in favor of EA. The company will get a better idea about the title’s popularity and its future performance. Additionally, EA will be generating revenues from the game even before it is released.

We believe that EA’s high-quality titles and a robust product pipeline along with the increasing online exposure and traction in the social and mobile gaming market will boost its top-line growth over the long term.

However, we believe that EA faces a number of headwinds that include a soft video game industry performance, particularly due to weakness in retail sales amid an aging console system lifecycle. Additionally, the huge popularity of free-to-play games is also cannibalizing higher priced packaged goods video games sales, which is a major concern in our view.

Currently, EA has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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