EA-branded 'sporting goods' en route

Megapublisher signs deal with Toy Island to make EA Sports-branded athletic playthings for all ages.

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When EA Sports president Peter Moore announced EA Sports Active last year, he said the Wii fitness game would be compatible with a series of real-world accessories. This week, the planet's second-largest third-party publisher announced a deal to release "a unique new line of sports equipment that will bring the excitement of video game simulation outside onto the fields of play."

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The agreement with manufacturer Toy Island Partners will see a new line of EA Sports-branded toys aimed at children launch this fall. The toys will use such high-tech bells and whistles as infrared, motion, and balance sensors to help youths hone their technique, speed, and power in five sports: baseball, basketball, soccer, hockey, and football. EA Sports currently develops and publishes games related to four of those pastimes, including the NBA Live, FIFA, NHL, and Madden NFL franchises.

So far, four unnamed EA Sports toy types have been revealed. The first will be a series of "interactive training tools," which will act as virtual coaches and will even issue and receive voice commands. Another line will offer encouragement by providing cheers when players use good form, and yet another will feature a series of Nerf-like high-density foam balls to teach younger children basic motor skills. Lastly, EA and Toy Island will offer all-in-one starter kits, which will feature all the equipment youths will need to start training for a sport.

"Our goal is to take the EA Sports brand deeper into the fabric of sports, and into new markets that allow more people to unleash their inner spirit of sports and competition," said Moore in a statement.

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