EA Sports opening retail stores this fall

Publishing label's brand marketing VP says first brick-and-mortar outlet has already broken ground in Charlotte, NC.

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Over the past year and a half, Electronic Arts has launched a number of initiatives designed at pocketing more money from the games it sells. These programs include EA Sports' Online Pass, which erects a pay gate around online modes for those who play the label's games secondhand, and the digital-download service Origin.

Madden NFL 12: It's in the store.
Madden NFL 12: It's in the store.

Now, EA Sports has made a move to cut out the middleman altogether. Speaking to Forbes, EA Sports VP of brand marketing Chris Erb said that the publishing label plans to open up its own chain of retail stores. The first EA Sports brick-and-mortar store is expected to open this fall.

"As pervasive as digital is, there's still an offline component to acquiring new customers that remains important," Erb said. "Our approach is to be creative and innovative with whatever we're doing offline and ensure that it connects with our digital strategies. For example, we just started construction on our first North American EA SPORTS retail store, which will open this fall in the Charlotte, NC, airport."

"It is the first of what we hope to be at least three new retail stores to open in the next year, and it's a place people will be able to interact and buy their favorite EA SPORTS games," he continued. "As we look to expand the overall sports game audience, it's important for us to create environments for people to get their hands on our products and experience how much interactive sports experiences have evolved over the past few years."

The opening of the first EA Sports store coincides with the launch of some of EA Sports' biggest brands, including Madden NFL and FIFA Soccer.

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