Electronic Arts (NSDQ: ERTS) — which continues to try to move its business “beyond the console” — is bringing Madden NFL to Facebook. It isn’t exactly clear what EA has in mind for the Facebook version of its blockbuster video game; EA Sports President Peter Moore tells Bloomberg vaguely that it will be a “simpler experience” and that the company wants to make the game “more accessible.” A big economic shift is likely involved, since Madden NFL would presumably be ad- and virtual goods-supported on the social network.
Considering EA’s promises to invest heavily in “digital,” along with its recent purchase of social gaming giant Playfish, it wouldn’t be surprising if this was the first of several of EA’s existing titles to make its way to the social network (We’ve asked the company and will update if we hear back).
The Madden news comes as EA is set to report its quarterly earnings this afternoon. In recent quarters, the company’s digital business has been its solitary positive point — and expect more talk about that today, especially since packaged game sales will likely be down again; the company lowered its guidance for the quarter and full year last month, citing “weakness for EA and the overall packaged goods sector in Europe” during the holiday shopping season.