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Online Gaming Not Yet Profitable For Electronic Arts.

In an attempt to reach a previously announced goal of making its online gaming unit successful by the year 2003, game company Electronic Arts (EA) said it will cut as many as 250 jobs at its division, reported REUTERS. The cuts represent about 1/3 of EA.coms employees. Electronic Arts employs over 3600 people worldwide and is the number one video game publisher in the U.S. The company is also the exclusive game provider to AOL. EAs first foray into the subscription online gaming arena, the five-episode suspense thriller MAJESTIC, launched online in August 2001. Although current users pay $9.99 a month to play the online game, EA just released a CD-ROM version of the game, available in stores in early November for a suggested retail price of $39.99. According to a press release announcing the CD-ROM launch, online subscriptions for MAJESTIC have been suspended, although EA says current subscribers will experience no difference in their game and will not need to purchase the CD. Similarly, players who purchase the CD will not pay a monthly subscription for the five-episode season. Although EA is considering plans for a second season of MAJESTIC in 2002, it is unclear whether it will be available as an online game.