The New York Times has posted an interesting article about Electronic Arts' reliance on sequels. Part of the issue is that EA has acquired such a vast library of franchises that it could pump out a highly anticipated sequel for each week of the year and not go through them all. A few key series, and not just sports titles, have fallen into an annual cycle, and the article wonders if the company needs to focus a greater portion of its resources on more creative projects.
By year's end, Electronic Arts plans to release 26 new games, all but one of them a sequel, including the 16th version of N.H.L. Hockey, the 11th of the racing game Need for Speed and the 13th of the P.G.A. Tour golf game. The company also relies heavily on creating games based on movies like the James Bond and Lord of the Rings series, rather than developing original brands...The eighteen iterations of Madden have accounted for more than 43 million copies sold. A team of 50 people is already working on Madden '07.
Lawrence F. Probst III, chairman and chief executive of Electronic Arts, dismisses that view. "The teams that work on the franchise properties have a great deal of pride in constantly looking to improve the product," Mr. Probst said. Besides, he said, sequels, because they have a steady following among consumers, appeal to Wall Street investors.
He added that the company had a goal of putting out at least one entirely new game every year, and had several major original games in its pipeline.