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EA Moves on Sims-like TV Show, Changes DICE Deal

Electronic Arts has announced the development an interactive TV show, allowing viewers to control the characters like in THE SIMS, and a change in the deal to acquire 50% of Digital Illusions (DICE), reports REUTERS. The company is in early talks with production companies and might use a voting system to allow viewers to determine the actions of the characters.

"One idea could be that you're controlling a family, telling them when to go to the kitchen and when to go to the bedroom, and with this mechanism you have gamers all over the world 'playing the show'," said Jan Bolz, vp of marketing and sales for EA Europe.

THE SIMS game and its expansion packs have sold more than 36 million units worldwide. The videogame gives gamers a chance to control the everyday lives of characters in a virtual world.

In a public announcement, Electronic Arts Holding AB declared it would waive one of the conditions in its offer to the shareholders of Digital Illusions CE AB.

The offer had previously been conditioned upon EA becoming the owner of more than 50% of the total number of shares representing more than 50% of the capital and votes in DICE after dilution upon exercise of employee warrants outstanding under the option program launched in 2002. Even though the extended acceptance period has not yet expired and the calculation of the outcome of the offer has not yet been made, EA has decided to waive the above-mentioned condition for the offer.

This means that EA will acquire all the shares tendered in the offer, regardless of whether EA reaches the 50% threshold (assuming that the acquisition is not hindered or rendered more difficult by circumstances beyond EA's control).

The acceptance period will end on Jan. 20, 2005, and EA does not intend to extend it any further. Payment to shareholders that have tendered, or will tender their shares before the acceptance period expires, is expected to be distributed beginning on or about Jan. 27, 2005.

The other terms and conditions of the offer remain unchanged. EA reserves the right to acquire additional shares of DICE in the market.

Founded in 1992, Digital Illusions is an award-winning developer of interactive entertainment based in Stockholm, Sweden, with offices in New York and London, Ontario Canada. The company has more than 200 employees and develops games in basically all existing platforms. Recent titles include BATTLEFIELD 1942 (elected Game of The Year) and BATTLEFIELD VIETNAM for Electronic Arts, RALLISPORT CHALLENGE 1 & 2 for the Microsoft Xbox. Digital Illusions' Series A share is listed on Nya Marknaden (an unofficial marketplace where smaller companies' shares can be traded in the Stockholm Stock Exchange's trading system, SAXESS) under the symbol DICE A.

Electronic Arts Inc., headquartered in Redwood City, California, is the world's leading interactive entertainment software company. Founded in 1982, EA posted revenues of $2.96 billion for fiscal 2004. The company develops, publishes and distributes interactive software worldwide for videogame systems, personal computers and the Internet. EA's homepage and online game site is www.ea.com.

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