EA to divide into four units

Sports, Casual, Games, The Sims.

Electronic Arts is to be reorganised into four units as part of plans by CEO John Riccitiello to improve efficiency within the company, GamesIndustry.biz reports.

The four units will focus specifically on sports, casual games, the Sims franchise, and all other games. The reorganisation "streamlines decision-making, increases speed to market, enhances accountability and allows us to be more experimental, so we can really open up and leverage our scale long-term" said Frank Gibeau, head of the new EA Games unit, in an interview with Reuters.

EA Games will handle the Battlefield series as well as the Need for Speed franchise and EA's Command & Conquer strategy games. EA Sports, temporarily run by executive vice president Joel Linzer, includes the Madden, Tiger Woods and NASCAR series.

Kathy Vrabeck, former head of publishing for Activision, was recently chosen to head EA's casual games unit - which includes both mobile phone and online properties. The Sims franchise, meanwhile, will become its own division. According to Gibeau, the entire reorganisation grew out of a pilot program that placed Sims games in their own unit.

"We ran an organisational experiment and it was pretty damn successful. The Sims grew aggressively," he said.

The four labels will be supported by two new groups: Central Development Services and Global Publishing.

Led by John Schappert, Central Development Services will include leadership on technology, operations, EA online and the office of the CCO. EA Global Publishing will undertake strategic planning, field marketing, sales and distribution in Asia, Europe, Latin America and North America.

"EA is privileged to have a deep bench of proven talent and our new structure encourages people to bring great ideas into the market more quickly," said Riccitiello.

"There will be more games and services for core consumers and new gamers and better focus on operational efficiency."

EA said no job losses will occur as a result of the move.

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