EA soft-launches Link

Downloader digital distribution service morphs into EA Link.

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Not one to pass a good deal by, Electronic Arts was early to jump on the digital download bandwagon, albeit in an understated way--the publisher didn't want to step on any retailers' toes when it announced its Downloader service in late 2005. Selling games in shrink-wrapped packaging off shelves is still the mainstay business model of traditional publishers, but with the promotion of Chip Lange to head up EA Downloader last year, actions spoke louder than words: EA was taking digital distribution seriously.

This week, the publisher retired its version 1.0 download service and gave Downloader a new interface, new name, and new features. According to the Associated Press, EA Link users can now download data faster, search for products in a more intuitive way, launch purchased games quicker, and access a payment system that is faster and more in keeping with consumer's expectations.

Digital distribution ''is an increasing priority for us at EA and it's a further step in EA's commitment to have a one-on-one relationship with our customers,'' Lange, vice president of EA's online division, said. ''The business has gone beyond a static model of 'I've bought the game and I'm done.' This keeps the games dynamic.''

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