Electronic Arts moves outside the box

Video games played on consoles from Microsoft (MSFT) and Sony (SNE) are not selling very well. The economy is slow and even sales of the consoles themselves are falling.

Electronic Arts (ERTS) has watched its earnings slide because of the overall slowing in industry sales. But the large video game company means to fight back.

The firm is working on a program to put some of its most popular games online where it can charge for them by usage. The consumer may look at this as a less expensive way to have fun because it does not involves buying the games outright.

According toThe Wall Street Journal, "EA's moves are the latest sign of how the video game industry is being reshaped by the Internet." The latest version of the Tiger Woods golf game will be available on the internet soon.

The move is brilliant. The growth of online video games is outpacing sales of conventional games. EA may lose some of its traditional sales, but if it keeps up customers interest in its products that may not happen. And the company will pick up gamers who do not have the money to buy the latest Xbox 360 of PS3. By expanding the reach of its products, EA has much more to gain that it has to lose.

EA may have been in a slump but its internet plans should end that.

Douglas A. McIntyre is an editor at 24/7 Wall St.

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