are (or at least were, last time I checked) the second largest games publishing company in the world (after Nintendo
), but they can count themselves as the biggest company who just publishes games (and doesn't make any hardware
). Way back in the 1980s and early 1990s, EA were respected because they released a lot of quality products (as explained above). This wasn't even limited to games - they were behind the whole Deluxe Paint
series of art packages.
When EA initially attempted to release games for the Sega Genesis (Sega Mega Drive), they did so without obtaining a licensing agreement from Sega. (This is one of the reasons they had that distinctive cartridge design.) In fact, Sega got mightily angry at them and modified the MD hardware so that the first batch of EA games (such as Budokan) would no longer work.
Luckily for all parties, they reached an agreement, and EA released the first of many John Madden Football games for the console (as well as EA Hockey which developed into NHL Hockey). These were a commercial success (to put it mildly) and led to EA releasing revamped versions of these and many other games every year or so. After a couple of years of this some bright spark decided that these games were selling well because they were presented like sports broadcasts, and EA branded all its sports titles with EASN (standing for EA Sports Network).
Obviously ESPN took an interest, and this changed to EA Sports. The modern Electronic Arts group, now without their famous logo, is comprised of three branches: EA Sports, EA Games and the loss-making EA.com.
EA became evil slowly over a period of several years, as the number of identical sequels began to push out their reliance on original content, and they began to treat their development teams more and more badly (see Origin Systems R.I.P., Bullfrog Productions). EA are currently a byword for lowest-common-denominator sports titles, which is a lucrative market for them but one that makes them somewhat tedious after you've played seen FIFA, Madden and NHL a couple of times.
I won't even bother to post EA's URL, because:
a) It should be obvious, and
b) Their website is not WWW compatible*, and furthermore needlessly requires registration.
*Meaning it does not allow certain browsers access. Yep, it's 2001 and some dipshits are still pulling this customer-hostile crap.