EA's Game Plan

The video and online gaming business is fascinating and definitely addictive. I got a chance to play a game with Jon Niermann, while filming Managing Asia and I was hooked right from the start except that I kept crashing out. But Niermann was nice enough to try and save me every time.

Niermann is quite a character when you meet him. When he's not talking seriously about business, he is able to reveal a side of himself that reminds me so much of American comedian Will Ferrell. Some of that came through towards the end of the interview, when he had me almost in stitches.

But Niermann would tell you it's not all fun and games at Electronic Arts. Unlike the U.S., the online gaming market is huge here in Asia and Niermann has been busy driving the company's transition into this area. That process required restructuring the company's Asian operations and laying off staff. Niermann is also hard at work localizing games for individual markets like South Korea and China. And that's not counting the competition he faces.

Niermann clearly enjoys the ride at Electronic Arts. He's got a job most of us would envy. Given the latest games the company is developing, you can bet he’s never, ever going to be bored.

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