EA Sports Heads Back To Reality With Pact

Toy Island/EASportsEA Sports--maker of Madden and other sports simulation games--is taking its brand away from the virtual world and into the real world with a new line of sporting goods/toy products developed in conjunction with toymaker Toy Island.

"Our core focus will continue to be the videogames," Ovi Vitas, senior brand manager for EA Sports, tells Marketing Daily. "We're taking the expertise in the sports arena that we have and developing it into something else."

The products--which will use infrared, motion and equilibrium sensors--will serve as a virtual coach, instructing kids on form, technique, speed and power. Some of the products will also utilize electronics to "reward" kids with cheers when they use the proper techniques. Through the partnership, the two companies will develop toys aimed at different ages ranging from 3 to 12, focusing on sports such as baseball, football, soccer, basketball and hockey.



"We think it's a logical extension of the EA Sports brand with a deeper reach into the real world sports arena," Vitas says. "Our goal is to tap into the emotion of sports and the fans that love them. This is another extension of that."

The product line is expected to launch this fall. In the initial rounds, the products are not expected to trade on EA Sports' well-known video game titles, although Vitas wouldn't rule it out for the future. "We're still not sure on that yet," he says. "Initially, the games are going to be stand-alone, [such as] an instructional piece of sports equipment."

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