Electronic Arts (ERTS) Comes with a Launch

Video game developer and publisher Electronic Arts Inc. (ERTS) announced the launch of two special editions of the action game Crysis 2.

Developed by Frankfurt based Crytek GmbH, Crysis 2 Limited Edition and the Crysis 2 Nano Edition feature premium packaging and special unlocks in the Crysis 2 multiplayer game. Currently, both the editions are available for pre-order in limited quantities.

The Crysis 2 Limited Edition, available at no additional cost, features four game unlocks namely Bonus XP, SCAR Hologram Decoy, SCAR Weapon Skin and Platinum Dog Tag.

The Bonus XP allows players to have substantial bonus points at the beginning only to facilitate early access to all 5 preset levels, so that they can have an advantage at the multiplayer battles.

SCAR Hologram Decoy projects a hologram image that enables players to confuse their opponents while the digitalized SCAR weapon skin allows a personalized touch to the assault rifle. Players can separate themselves from the rest of the field by gathering more than 250 Platinum Dog Tags.

The Crysis 2 Nano edition, available only through pre-order for $149.99/ £119.99 / €129.99, includes the Limited Version stored in a steel case with 28 cm statute of the game’s hero Prophet on top of a New York cab, an art book packed with the nanosuit itself.

One of the most popular franchisee of Electronic Arts, Crysis 2 multiplayer will be available for Sony Corp.’s (SNE) PlayStation 3, Microsoft Corp.’s (MSFT) Xbox 360 and for personal computers in two dimension (2D) and three dimension (3D).

The game is scheduled to release on March 22, 2011 in North America and March 25, 2011 in Europe.

We believe Crysis 2 has been a considerably successful franchisee for Electronic Arts. The new features of this multiplayer game will impress video game players, thereby driving Electronic Arts’ top-line growth.

On a separate note, Electronic Arts also announced a limited version of its racing game Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit. The version features six of the world’s fastest cars that players can use. The version is available in limited quantity but at the same price as of the standard version at the retailers.

The limited version allows players to choose from the six cars: Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione, Ford Shelby GT500, Audi TT RS Coupé, Chevrolet Camaro SS, Porsche Cayman S and Dodge Challenger SRT8. Of this, the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione and Ford Shelby GT500 are exclusively available in the limited version.

The limited version is based on a network called Autolog that tracks racer performances and uses those statistics to generate fierce competition between players by changing their style of playing. In this regard, the limited version owners always have an advantage compared with their peers.

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit is one of the many games that Electronic Arts will release in the second half of 2010. The award winning racing game is scheduled to release on November 16, 2010 in North America and on November 18 and 19, 2010 in Europe on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and personal computers.

Electronic Arts remains focused on developing and publishing quality games. With the increasing number of adult video game players (approximately 67.0% of U.S. household play video games whose average age is 34, according to Entertainment software association data), quality is becoming the ultimate benchmark for the video game industry.

Despite reducing number of titles by 20% in 2010, Electronic Arts achieved market share growth with fewer than 20 titles released so far in 2010. Although the company continues to face stiff competition from Activision Blizzard Inc. (ATVI) and Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. (TTWO), Electronics Arts will continue to gain market share due to its high quality game portfolio, in our view.

We maintain a Neutral rating on Electronic Arts on a long-term basis (6-12 months). Currently, Electronic Arts has a Zacks Rank of #3, which implies a Hold rating on a short- term basis (1-3 months).

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