Electronic Arts Reorganizes

The video-game publisher reinvents itself into four divisions.
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Video-game publisher

Electronic Arts

(ERTS)

is giving itself a makeover.

The company Monday said it will reorganize into four divisions: EA Sports, EA Games, EA Casual Entertainment and The Sims, in an attempt to consolidate its decision-making process and improve the company's focus and ability to bring new ideas to the market.

Prior to the change, EA operated as individual studios that reported to the company's worldwide studio headquarters in Vancouver, B.C.

Now, the company will group its remaining studios and core EA brands organizationally into divisions, also known as "labels," each with its own president responsible for development and publishing across their brands, said EA.

"This will bring together development and go-to-market strategies and make a single person accountable," says Frank Gibeau, president of EA Games.

Redwood City, Calif.-based EA will also form two new groups that will support shared access across divisions: central development services, which seeks to enhance tools and libraries for EA's game development process, and global publishing, responsible for introducing the company's portfolio to international markets.

The changes are a major step in EA's new CEO John Riccitiello's plan for improving the company's performance and positioning it for future growth.

Riccitiello who

took the top job on April 1, has since then been steadily tweaking EA's structure and plans to address some of the most commonly leveled criticisms against the company, such as it taking too long to bring new games to the market, EA's bureaucratic structure and the lack of true innovation in the company's games.

The latest move also comes on the heels of the

creation of one of the four divisions, EA Casual Entertainment, earlier this month to develop and publish games for the fast-growing casual games market.

EA hired Kathy Vrabeck, former president of publishing at

Activision

(ATVI) - Get Report

for the job.

Shares of EA closed the regular session off 78 cents to $49.71.

Each label or division, said EA, will operate with a dedicated studio and publishing teams that previously reported to the CEO. "Now both will be integrated and that allows for more autonomy and removes bottlenecks in the creation process," says Gibeau.

The Sims division will be led by Nancy Smith, who has been the executive vice-president and general manager of the unit. Upcoming releases from the label include

MySims

for the Wii and Nintendo DS,

SimCity Societies

and

The Sims Castaway Stories

.

EA Games, the label led by Gibeau, will have the largest portfolio of EA franchises including

Need for Speed

,

Medal of Honor

,

Spore

,

Command & Conquer

and

The Simpsons

among others. EA Games will also be home to the EA Partners publishing business.

EA Casual Entertainment's lighter games for families and new consumers will include titles such as the

Harry Potter

series and

Boogie

. The group will also host EA Mobile and EA's casual suite of online games, Pogo.com.

EA Sports, the company's strongest brand, which includes franchises such as

Madden NFL

,

NBA Live

,

FIFA Soccer

and

Tiger Woods PGA Tour

will be overseen by Executive V.P. Joel Linzner until an EA Sports president is announced.

There will be no layoffs associated with the reorganization, says Gibeau, and the changes will be implemented over the next few months.