Electronic Arts Teams Up with World Winners
By darren
WorldWinner.com Inc., a Newton-based provider of online games that pay cash to winners, plans to announce a partnership today with the world's largest video game company, Electronic Arts. Electronic Arts has quietly begun featuring World Winner's service on Pogo.com, its online games site. The two would not disclose details about their business agreement, but said it includes revenue sharing.

With EA, the closely held World Winner is building up a stable of big-name partners, which already include Yahoo and Terra Lycos. The company has raised more than $23 million in venture capital funding, much of it from Boston-area firms Zero Stage Capital, CommonAngels, and HarbourVest Partners.

Stephen Killeen, the company's chief executive: ''Bringing in a partner like EA is going to help fuel the growth of the company.”

In World Winner's service, players pay between 50 cents and $10 to engage competitors in tournaments of chess, solitaire, blackjack, and other games. Winners receive 75 percent of the entry fees for each tournament, and World Winner and its partners share the rest. Unlike in gambling, Killeen said, ''There's always a winner and a loser, and it's never the house.''

Schelley Olhava, an analyst with Framingham-based International Data Corp., said the partnership ''validates'' World Winner's service because EA is so powerful in the gaming world that it can choose to be picky. The EA deal should drive more traffic to World Winner's website, she said.

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