EA, iVillage make play for women


Electronic Arts has joined forces with NBC Universal's female-oriented iVillage.com to create a co-branded games channel that will feature casual games from EA's Pogo.com.

The games channel on iVillage.com will be placed alongside existing channels like health, wellness, diet & fitness; pregnancy & parenting; beauty & style; and home & food.

"The number of women playing games online has clearly exploded, and we knew it was time for us to carve out a space where our members could play to their heart's content," iVillage Properties COO Ezra Kucharz said. The site boasts 16 million members.

Pogo.com attracts more than 14 million players per month and is the No. 1 gaming site with women 25-54, according to ComScore Media Metrix.

While EA targets male gamers through console and PC game franchises like "Need for Speed," "Madden NFL," "Command & Conquer" and "Tiger Woods PGA Tour Golf," the video game publisher does offer games for the mass market that appeal to both genders, like "The Sims 2," which has sold more than 80 million copies worldwide.

Casual online games like "First Class Solitaire," "Poppit!" and "Word Whomp" attract a large female gaming audience for long sessions. According to ComScore MediaMetrix, in December, women spent 83 million hours playing games, and 39% of women who went online visited gaming sites. This compares to 63 million hours spent on Google and 47 million hours spent on Yahoo! instant messenger.

Nancy Smith, executive vp Pogo.com, said that not only do Pogo and iVillage share an audience demographic, they share a passion for women's issues and a belief that interactive entertainment is a great way to stay connected, stay sharp and keep a healthy mind.

"This relationship will allow us to reach even more women than ever before," Smith said.

Members of iVillage will be invited to participate in monthly game nights on the games channel, where they'll interact with other Pogo users. Members will also be given two-week passes to try out Club Pogo for free.