I ignored it at first, as a typical EA puff piece (“We like AOL! We think all AOL users should buy EA games!”) until I actually read the thing.
Check these news bits out:
EA is forming a new, publicly traded online gaming “division”, formed from EA’s current online gaming efforts (read: Origin) and new acquisition Kesmai. This division is expected to lose money initially (but what the hell, that makes it a dot-com stock, right?).
This division will be tightly partnered with AOL. AOL is the Anti-christ. Really. Check your biblical concordances for “Steve Case”. Uh huh. Told ya. Right there after that stuff about the sixth seal.
This new “EA Online” division will be the sole supplier of online gaming content to AOL, presumably supplanting all games currently on AOL, including the now Borged Kesmai.
From the press release:
In the next year, Electronic Arts plans to offer 60 games online through AOL and its Web site through a subscription based service. It currently offers one online game, “Ultima Online,” for a $9.95 subscription fee.
SIX-OH. Sixty. That-sa lotta games. Even counting checkers and hearts.
The games will be available on AOL’s flagship proprietary service, as well as its AOL.com, Compuserve, ICQ and Netscape properties.
Now, one would assume that those games (such as not-very-AOL-friendly UO) would also be available outside AOL.com and its assorted holdings. I’ve fired off appropriate questions to that effect, but EA would be shooting itself in the foot if it didn’t. Especially considering that UO is most popular in Asia, where AOL is somewhat limited in available dialups.
The most chilling implication, however, is that the $81 million dollar deal with AOL will be met through advertising.
That’s right, boys and girls, expect your patch messages to be somewhat more int-er-active!
“Downloading this patch seems slow? Then why not buy KRAFT MODEMS, now with new cheesier flavor!”