According to EA's chief executive, console manufacturers will decide, within the next 4-6 months on whether the next generation of video game machines will become available in 2005 or 2006.
In an interview with Reuters, EA CEO Larry Probst also said he expected industry leader Sony to decide in the next 30 to 45 days on another, proposed, price cut to the price of its PlayStation 2 console.
Considering the explosive growth of the video game industry, the arrival of the next generation of gaming consoles, is important news, followed closely by everyone from developers to gamers. According to EA, the company's position as the leader in game development allows it some inside information. We will know when we begin to get first-generation development systems, because typically we get our hands on those about two years before launch, Probst said. So if they start showing up in the fall of this year, then we can pretty confidently predict it's 2005. If we don't start to get them until '04 then it's probably an '06 launch. he said. So that's going to get sorted out in the next four to six months.
Probst also commented on a few EA titles and how they have faired so far.
EA's NCAA Football has sold about 40 per cent better than last year, and more than 40,000 people had registered to play online.
The new EA Pogo online service, providing card, puzzle, trivia and arcade games, has already reached 40,000 subscribers, but the company's flagship online title seems to be struggling.
The Sims Online has not convinced gamers and has, so far, attracted fewer than 100,000 subscribers since its launch last December.
I think we overestimated the audience and I think we probably shipped the product before it was ready, Probst said.