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Video game developer and publisher, Electronic Arts Inc. (EA - Analyst Report) is leaving no stone unturned to make its upcoming action game Army of Two The Devil’s Cartel a hit with the fans. The Battlefield maker recently announced that renowned hip-hop stars Big Boi and B.o.B are collaborating for the game’s theme song.

Moreover, they will feature in the game as two Tactical Worldwide Operations (T.W.O.) agents namely Charles “Chuy” Rendall and Anthony “Baker” Barnes. EA is offering an exclusive hit-makers kit, a bonus pack available on pre-order, which will allow players to play the characters of Big Boi and B.o.B in an additional contract mission. The pre-order pack will be available at select retail stores in the US and Europe.

Army of Two The Devil’s Cartel, developed by Visceral Games, is a co-operative game set in Mexico. TWO is a private military organization, whose two operatives Alpha and Bravo fight the deadly drug cartel on the streets of Mexico. The game is powered by the Frostbite 2 engine, which provides a more advanced upgrade and customization system. The gameis scheduled to release on March 23, 2013 on Microsoft’s (MSFT - Analyst Report) Xbox 360 and Sony’s PlayStation 3.

We believe that the inclusion of real-life stars Big Boi and B.o.B in the video game reflects changing marketing strategies of the traditional video game companies. Facing increasing competition from the growing popularity of mobile and free-to-play games, EA is looking for new avenues to boost its consumer base and revenue.

The use of real-life public figures commanding a loyal fan base makes it much easier for EA to reach a large audience instantly. Although it is very difficult to predict the outcome of this strategy, we believe that the gaming companies will continue to include real-life icons in their games, in order to boost their customer base going forward.

Moreover, the marketing strategy to attract gamers with bonus packs prior to the game’s release should definitely work in favor of EA. The company will get a better idea about the title’s popularity and its future performance. Moreover, EA will be generating revenue from the game even before it is released.

We believe that EA’s high-quality titles and a robust product pipeline along with the increasing online exposure and traction in the social and mobile gaming market will boost its top-line growth over the long term.

However, we remain cautious on EA due to sluggish consumer spending, dismal video game sales and increasing competition. Considering these factors, we have a Neutral recommendation on EA over the long term.

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

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