EA Dumps Casual Division

EA has axed its casual games division following the departure of Kathy Vrabeck, president of the Casual Entertainment label, and has repositioned resources in a way that casts doubt on the existence of the "casual gamer."

The news, confirmed by EA in an email correspondence with GameDaily, appears to signal that the video games publisher, once the world's largest, has accepted the fact that "casual gamers" simply do not exist.

"We've learned a lot about casual entertainment in the past two years, and found that casual gaming defies a single genre and demographic." read a statement obtained by GameDaily. "With Kathy's departure, EA is reorganizing to integrate casual games -- development and marketing -- into other divisions of our business. We are merging our Casual Studios, Hasbro partnership, and Casual marketing organization with The Sims Label to be a new Sims and Casual Label, where there is a deep compatibility in the product design, marketing and demographics."

The casual games EA label also included the mini-game web site Pogo.com, which will no doubt be redistributed elsewhere within EA following Thursday's news. Other unnamed properties will be folded into the The Sims label, said a note from EA chief John Riccitiello.

The admonition appears to be an indirect endorsement of Nintendo's current all-inclusive software strategy, which has made the Kyoto-based hardware and software provider the largest, most successful company of its kind. Nintendo executives like Satoru Iwata, Reggie Fils-Aime, and Shigeru Miyamoto have long held the belief that there is no such thing as a "casual gamer." There are only gamers and non-gamers, they've said, on numerous occasions. EA, apparently, agrees.

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