EA slicing up PC Orange Box, Spore-ing by Holidays

Publisher to unbundle Valve's FPS megacompilation into individual retail SKUs; reaffirms 2008 release for universe-building sim.

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EA's post-earnings conference call yesterday yielded several interesting nuggets of information. Capturing the lion's share of attention for many was EA CEO John Riccitiello's off-the-cuff confirmation that Harmonix's popular four-piece rhythm game Rock Band would roll onto the Wii. The game found great success, with 1.5 million units sold across the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation 2 editions released last year.

Although a good deal of the call dwelled on console updates, Riccitiello also offered up a few tidbits for those concerned about the most venerable of gaming platforms, the PC. When asked about another possible delay for Will Wright's much-hyped and heavily anticipated Spore, Riccitiello said, "We will tell you it's going to be before the holidays. This is one of the titles we pay enormous attention to for all of the obvious reasons, and we're very, very bullish."

Riccitiello also expressed interest in busting Valve's critically lauded Orange Box up into individual offerings. "From our EA Partners business we're...unbundling Orange Box and releasing separate PC SKUs: Half-Life 2, Episode 2, Portal, and Team Fortress."

The components of The Orange Box--that is, Half-Life 2, its first two follow-up episodes, puzzle game Portal, and multiplayer-oriented Team Fortress 2--can currently be purchased as stand-alone products through Valve's online distribution service, Steam. EA, which acts as Valve's retail distribution partner for the game, confirmed yesterday that The Orange Box had attained platinum status in the publisher's third fiscal quarter, having sold more than 1 million copies across the PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3.

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