Electronic Arts has restructured its business around four key labels in a move to "streamline decision-making, improve global focus, and speed new ideas to the market" – a move inspired by the team which created The Sims brand.
The new labels are EA Sports, EA Games, EA Casual Entertainment and The Sims. As part of the shake-up, which will be introduced to EA’s worldwide operation over the coming months, the company will set up two new groups, Central Development Services and Global Publishing.
The Central Development Services is to be led by EVP John Schappert and provide the divisions with leadership on technology, operations, EA’s online platform. This division also includes the office of Bing Gordon, chief creative officer.
EA Global Publishing, meanwhile, will be responsible for strategic planning, field marketing, sales and distribution in Asia, Europe, Latin America and North America.
It’s not yet known how deeply the founding of the centralised development division effects EA’s worldwide network of studios, which includes thousands of development staff across the USA and Canada, and a comparable amount in the UK and Europe. Many of the studios in the roster, such as EA Canada and EA UK, have worked on games for various divisions, but the official announcement about the reorganisation said "each label will operate with dedicated studio and publishing teams focused on consumer-driven priorities".
What it is clear is that the theory behind the new strategy is to make EA’s operation more agile – each label will have its own president, suggesting a degree of autonomy. Nancy Smith will lead The Sims imprint, Kathy Vrabeck will lead the EA Casual Entertainment label, while Frank Gibeau will run EA Games. EA Sports is currently without a fixed president and will be overseen by EVP Joel Linzner until a permanent boss is found.
In the official announcement explaining the restructure, EA chief executive officer John Riccitiello commented: "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. There will be more games and services for core consumers and new gamers and better focus on operational efficiency."