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EA CEO Gears Up for 'Battlefield' Against Activision Blizzard

Electronic Arts unveiled its big lineup of games Monday ahead of the E3 video game convention-and in addition to high-tech graphics, social and cross-platform gaming were front and center.

The gaming giant gave a crowd at the Orpheum theater a sneak peek at flashy graphics from a slew of new games, but the focus really seemed to be on how the game business is evolving.

I sat down with CEO John Riccittielo for a first on CNBC interview on the fast-changing market and upcoming competition with Activision Blizzard.

Going Social:

The established PC franchise "The Sims" is coming to Facebook, to compete with the likes of Zynga's Farmville and Mafia Wars. But CEO John Riccittielo says he doesn't think they'll cannibalize each other, but rather that the market will grow.

Cross Platform:

Now gamers playing FIFA soccer will be able to compete with friends not just on the XBox or on Facebook, but seamlessly on all platforms they're playing on. Riccitiello stressed that gaming has changed-- it's no longer siloed on one platform or another, but truly fluid between these different gaming worlds.

Gaming Battleground:

Riccittielo is gearing up for a major battle between his upcoming "Battlefield" game with Activision's new "Call of Duty."

He stressed that he's intentionally pitting his game against the competition-- he simply thinks it's better, and this is the most exciting standoff since the cola wars.

An interesting twist: while "Call of Duty" will charge a subscription for a new "Elite" option. Riccittielo said that he definitely has no plans for something similar— he doesn't think it makes sense to charge extra on top of the packaged game fee. So this fall will be an interesting showdown between both the games and the business models.

Questions? Comments? MediaMoney@cnbc.com

  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.