Three indie deals as EA pushes digital

Three indie deals as EA pushes digital

By Rob Crossley

November 11th 2010 at 1:29PM

Loss-making publisher looks to spread its business across XBLA, PSN And PC

Publishing giant Electronic Arts is preparing for another major advance in the digital games space by signing a trio of indie games for XBLA, PSN and PC.

The company wants to shift focus away from retail-based sales – having made losses for an extraordinary fifteen consecutive quarters – and sees the lower risk in digital games as an ideal growth opportunity.

EA will publish three promising indie titles on Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network and across digital PC channels.

The three deals break down as follows:

* Dutch indie studio Vanguard Games will develop Gatling Gears for the publisher – set for release on XBLA, PSN and PC in spring 2011.

* Young upstart Over The Top Games will partner with Borne Games for the PSN and XBLA title Fancy Pants Adventures. An internal EA team, named EA 2D, will be helping with the project.

* Montreal-based indie Trapdoor has secured a deal with EA Partners to publish Warp on XBLA, PSN and PC. The game will launch summer 2011.

Jamil Moledina, the outreach director at EA Partners, said the one of the publisher’s “is to seek out the leading independent developers within the downloadable games market and publish their titles to a wide audience.”

The trio of partnership arrangements has brought with it a raft of positive words for the publisher.

“Working with EA allows me to do more than I could have ever imagined. This is the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Brad Borne, Founder of Borne Games.

Meanwhile, Trapdoor founder Ken Schachter said that working with EA Partners “allows us to expand our distribution to a much larger audience while still being able to retain our creative vision and identity.”

Vanguard Games’ boss Martin de Ronde, who co-founded Killzone studio Guerrilla, said he “can't wait to bring this game to market together with a strong publisher like EA Partners.”

The publisher will also self develop another digital title at EA Salt Lake.

A $300 million buyout of social game firm Playfish marked the beginnings of EA’s new digital push.

The firm recently bought social game publisher Chillingo in a deal worth as much as $30 million.