Casual games on Facebook, including Farmville and Mafia Wars, are an industry expected to make more than $2 billion by 2012, according to ThinkEquity LLC analyst Atul Bagga. Electronic Arts didn’t become one of the biggest companies in video games by letting that kind of money get away.
EA Sports President Peter Moore told Bloomberg Television that the company will bring a stripped down version of its popular Madden NFL series to Facebook.
“We have to make Madden more accessible. You’ll see us on Facebook going forward.”
Of course the Madden series was already successful even before an exclusive deal made EA the only company that could use the NFL license. The game’s annual August release is often marked by a number of players taking vacation or sick days to begin marathon gaming sessions. Since it’s already a huge part of pop culture, a transition to Facebook seems like a natural step.
While playing games such as Farmville are free, there are in-game microtransactions that cost real-world money. EA purchased Playfish, Inc, the company behind Facebook hit Restaurant City in 2009 for $400 million so this announcement didn’t come as a shock.
Also coming to Facebook is Civilization Network, a new iteration of that real-time strategy classic.
With PC and console hits flocking to Facebook, can a browser-based version of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare be far behind?