Electronic Arts unites the world through play
Electronic Arts, or EA as it's better known, chose to settle in Amsterdam to spearhead their marketing efforts. Learn how the city has contributed to their success.
Specialising in blockbuster games
Founded in California in 1982, Electronic Arts was a pioneer of early home computer games, notable for acknowledging the designers and programmers behind them. Today it is one of world’s largest gaming companies, and is recognised for blockbuster franchises such as Battlefield, Madden NFL and FIFA.
Amsterdam as a European base
EA’s Amsterdam office was opened in 2002. Resisting the lure of the city centre’s historic canal belt – for business purposes at least – the company settled in Schiphol-Rijk, a 10 minute bus ride from Schiphol Airport. Dirk Scholing, Reigonal Commercial Lead of Northern Europe describes the purpose of the venture.
“The main responsibility of this office is marketing and selling our games. We have several board meetings a year and hold regular PR events here, so it’s important for us to be close to a big airport where employees from our other European offices, clients and journalists can easily reach us."
Reaching a wider audience
On promoting the games, Scholing explains how marketing can make an impact: "We have sales agreements with local retailers such as Bart Smit, Media Markt and bol.com, but we also ensure the visibility of our products in their stores and run campaigns to target the right customers at the right moment. [For example] FIFA is the most popular game in the Benelux. With global attention focused on football in the months around the World Cup in Brazil, and a new features added to the FIFA 15 release, interest in the game surged, resulting in sales of more than 500,000 units in six weeks in 2014."
“FIFA is sold under licence. That means we are permitted to use the FIFA name but can also take advantage of the names of real clubs and players. We have an official partnership with Lionel Messi and work with him both on social initiatives, such as refurbishing street football pitches in urban communities, and promotional activities. When Messi sends a message to 75 million followers on social media and it’s about FIFA, you can’t get a better campaign.”
Adapting for the future
It is this continuous investment in promotion, as well as a commitment to quality and the ability to adapt to market trends, that Scholing believes has kept EA on top in a highly competitive industry. Today, though EA is firmly established in Amsterdam but has stayed in touch with amsterdam inbusiness, although sometimes in indirect ways. “A few years ago another gaming-related company approached us. They had an office in Switzerland and wanted to launch in the Netherlands. We gave them the name of our contact at amsterdam inbusiness. It’s good to have a network of people you know and who can help, especially when you are completely new. If you can create that supportive environment, it pays off; there’s a knock-on effect in attracting other companies to the city.”