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Electronic Arts Inc. (EA - Analyst Report) has recently announced that it will unveil a standalone FIFA World Cup 2014 game for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The game will most likely be released on Apr 15 in North America and on Apr 17 in the UK and Europe. This game has been specially designed to build the excitement surrounding the forthcoming World Cup soccer tournament, to be held in Brazil later this year.

Since Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 happen to be the most popular gaming consoles with the biggest market penetration, they have been chosen by the makers of the game for this launch. EA also believes that this would help it to extend its footprint in developing nations including the likes of the host nation, Brazil.

The new game will include 21 new stadiums, including all 12 Brazilian stadiums that will host World Cup games this upcoming summer, an additional 15 hours of in-game commentary, and new control systems. It will also have new set piece tactics, Adidas ball physics and penalty kick animations for both shooters and goalkeepers.

The new game enables players to protect the ball better. It also introduces a proper off-side awareness and the “Pure Shot” feature, which enables better shot execution. It is also equipped with 100 new animations.

EA SPORTS’ FIFA franchise has attained an almost cult status among soccer fans. Thus, the release of the latest version is expected to increase the fan following, raking in millions for the company.

EA’s pipeline consists of high-quality titles and with increasing online exposure, social games guarantee market share gains over the long term.

According to market research firm NPD, U.S. video game store sales jumped 2.0% year over year to $3.28 billion last December, which again is a positive catalyst for Electronic Arts.

However, the gloomy macroeconomic environment and increasing competition from Activision Blizzard Inc. (ATVI - Snapshot Report), Take-Two Interactive Software (TTWO - Snapshot Report) and Zynga Inc. (ZNGA - Snapshot Report) may act as headwinds going forward.  

Currently, Electronic Arts has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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