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ELECTRONIC ARTS INC. (EA) is an American video game company headquartered in Redwood City , California . Founded and incorporated on May 28, 1982 by Trip Hawkins , the company was a pioneer of the early home computer games industry and was notable for promoting the designers and programmers responsible for its games. As of 2014, Electronic Arts was the world's fourth-largest gaming company by revenue after Tencent , Sony and Microsoft The company sparked controversies over its advertising efforts, and acquisition of other studios.

Currently, EA develops and publishes games under several labels including EA Sports titles FIFA , Madden NFL , NHL , NCAA Football , NBA Live , and SSX . Other EA labels produce established franchises such as Battlefield , Need for Speed , The Sims , Medal of Honor , Command "> Founder of EA Trip Hawkins.

In February 1982, Trip Hawkins arranged a meeting with Don Valentine of Sequoia Capital to discuss financing his new venture, Amazin' Software. Valentine encouraged Hawkins to leave Apple Inc. , where Hawkins served as Director of Product Marketing, and allowed Hawkins use of Sequoia Capital's spare office space to start the company. On May 28, 1982, Trip Hawkins incorporated and established the company with a personal investment of an estimated US$ 200,000. The company was not named Amazin' Software, but instead Electronic Arts. Seven months later in December 1982, Hawkins secured US$2 million of venture capital from Sequoia Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield "> Electronic Arts' original corporate logo, 1982–2000.

For more than seven months, Hawkins refined his Electronic Arts business plan . With aid from his first employee (with whom he worked in marketing at Apple), Rich Melmon, the original plan was written, mostly by Hawkins, on an Apple II in Sequoia Capital's office in August 1982. During that time, Hawkins also employed two of his former staff from Apple, Dave Evans and Pat Marriott, as producers , and a Stanford MBA classmate, Jeff Burton from Atari for international business development. The business plan was again refined in September and reissued on October 8, 1982. By November, employee headcount rose to 11, including Tim Mott, Bing Gordon , David Maynard, and Steve Hayes. Having outgrown the office space provided by Sequoia Capital, the company relocated to a San Mateo office that overlooked the San Francisco Airport landing path. Headcount rose rapidly in 1983, including Don Daglow , Richard Hilleman , Stewart Bonn, David Gardner, and Nancy Fong.

He recruited his original employees from Apple, Atari, Xerox PARC, and VisiCorp, and got Steve Wozniak to agree to sit on the board of directors.

Hawkins was determined to sell directly to buyers. Combined with the fact that Hawkins was pioneering new game brands, this made sales growth more challenging. Retailers wanted to buy known brands from existing distribution partners. After more flyers were handed out, former CEO Larry Probst arrived as VP of Sales in late 1984 and helped the company sustain growth into US$18 million in its third full year. This policy of dealing directly with retailers gave EA higher margins and better market awareness, key advantages the company would leverage to leapfrog its early competitors.

In December 1986, David Gardner and Mark Lewkaspais moved to the UK to open a European headquarters. Up until that point publishing of Electronic Arts Games, and the conversion of many of their games to compact cassette versions in Europe was handled by Ariolasoft .

Most of the early employees of the company disliked the Amazin' Software name that Hawkins had originally chosen when he incorporated the company. While at Apple, Hawkins had enjoyed company offsite meetings at Pajaro Dunes and organized such a planning offsite for EA in October 1982.

Hawkins had developed the ideas of treating software as an art form and calling the developers, "software artists". Hence, the latest version of the business plan had suggested the name "SoftArt". However, Hawkins and Melmon knew the founders of Software Arts , the creators of VisiCalc , and thought their permission should be obtained. Dan Bricklin did not want the name used because it sounded too similar (perhaps "confusingly similar ") to Software Arts. However, the name concept was liked by all the attendees. Hawkins had also recently read a best-selling book about the film studio, United Artists , and liked the reputation that the company had created. Early advisers Andy Berlin, Jeff Goodby, and Rich Silverstein (who would soon form their own ad agency Goodby, Silverstein ">

Hawkins liked the word "electronic", and various employees had considered the phrases "Electronic Artists" and "Electronic Arts". Other candidates included Gordon's suggestion of "Blue Light", a reference from the Disney film Tron . When Gordon and others pushed for "Electronic Artists", in tribute to the film company United Artists , Steve Hayes opposed, saying, "We're not the artists, they are..." meaning that the developers whose games EA would publish were the artists. This statement from Hayes immediately tilted sentiment towards Electronic Arts and the name was unanimously endorsed.

A novel approach to giving credit to its developers was one of EA's trademarks in its early days. This characterization was even further reinforced with EA's packaging of most of their games in the "album cover " pioneered by EA because Hawkins thought that a record album style would both save costs and convey an artistic feeling. EA routinely referred to their developers as "artists" and gave them photo credits in their games and numerous full-page magazine ads. Their first such ad, accompanied by the slogan "We see farther," was the first video game advertisement to feature software designers. EA also shared lavish profits with their developers, which added to their industry appeal. The square "album cover" boxes (such as the covers for 1983's M.U.L.E. and Pinball Construction Set ) were a popular packaging concept by Electronic Arts, which wanted to represent their developers as "rock stars".

In the mid-1980s Electronic Arts aggressively marketed products for the Commodore Amiga , a premier home computer of the late 1980s and early 1990s in Europe. Commodore had given EA development tools and prototype machines before Amiga's actual launch. For Amiga EA published some notable non-game titles. A drawing program Deluxe Paint (1985) and its subsequent versions became perhaps the most famous piece of software available for Amiga platform. Other Amiga programs released by EA included Deluxe Music Construction Set , Deluxe Paint Animation and Instant Music . Some of them, most notably Deluxe Paint, were ported to other platforms. For Macintosh EA released a black "> Headquarters of EA in October 2007.

EA is headquartered in the Redwood Shores neighborhood of Redwood City, California . Following the retirement and departure of Trip Hawkins in 2000, EA decided to replace its logo with a new one, and Larry Probst took over the reins.

In 2004, EA made a multimillion-dollar donation to fund the development of game production curriculum at the University of Southern California\'s Interactive Media Division . On February 1, 2006, Electronic Arts announced that it would cut worldwide staff by 5 percent. On June 20, 2006 EA purchased Mythic Entertainment , who are finished making Warhammer Online .

After Sega's ESPN NFL 2K5 successfully grabbed market share away from EA's dominant Madden NFL series during the 2004 holiday season, EA responded by making several large sports licensing deals which include an exclusive agreement with the NFL , and in January 2005, a 15-year deal with ESPN . The ESPN deal gave EA exclusive first rights to all ESPN content for sports simulation games. On April 11, 2005, EA announced a similar, 6-year licensing deal with the Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC) for exclusive rights to college football content.

Much of EA's success, both in terms of sales and with regards to its stock market valuation, is due to its strategy of platform-agnostic development and the creation of strong multi-year franchises. EA was the first publisher to release yearly updates of its sports franchises—Madden, FIFA, NHL, NBA Live, Tiger Woods, etc.—with updated player rosters and small graphical and gameplay tweaks. Recognizing the risk of franchise fatigue among consumers, EA announced in 2006 that it would concentrate more of its effort on creating new original intellectual property.

In September 2006, Nokia and EA announced a partnership in which EA becomes an exclusive major supplier of mobile games to Nokia mobile devices through the Nokia Content Discoverer. In the beginning, Nokia customers were able to download seven EA titles ( Tetris , Tetris Mania , The Sims 2 , Doom , FIFA 06 , Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06 and FIFA Street 2 ) on the holiday season in 2006. Rick Simonson is the executive vice president and director of Nokia and starting from 2006 is affiliated with John Riccitiello and are partners.

2007–2013

In February 2007, Probst stepped down from the CEO job while remaining on the Board of Directors. His handpicked successor is John Riccitiello , who had worked at EA for several years previously, departed for a while, and then returned. Riccitiello previously worked for Elevation Partners , Sara Lee and PepsiCo . In June 2007, new CEO John Riccitiello announced that EA would reorganize itself into four labels, each with responsibility for its own product development and publishing (the city-state model). The goal of the reorganization was to empower the labels to operate more autonomously, streamline decision-making, increase creativity and quality, and get games into the market faster. This reorganization came after years of consolidation and acquisition by EA of smaller studios, which some in the industry blamed for a decrease in quality of EA titles. In 2008, at the DICE Summit, Riccitiello called the earlier approach of "buy and assimilate" a mistake, often stripping smaller studios of its creative talent. Riccitiello said that the city-state model allows independent developers to remain autonomous to a large extent, and cited Maxis and BioWare as examples of studios thriving under the new structure.

Also, in 2007, EA announced that it would be bringing some of its major titles to the Macintosh . EA has released Battlefield 2142 , Command & Conquer: Tiberium Wars , Crysis , Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix , Madden NFL 08 , Need for Speed: Carbon and Spore for the Mac. All of the new games have been developed for the Macintosh using Cider, a technology developed by TransGaming that enables Intel -based Macs to run Windows games inside a translation layer running on Mac OS X. They are not playable on PowerPC-based Macs.

In October 2007, EA purchased Super Computer International, a long-standing industry provider of game server hosting for development studios, who were currently developing the new Playlinc software. A week later they then purchased VG Holding Corp, the parent company of BioWare and Pandemic Studios .

It was revealed in February 2008 that Electronic Arts had made a takeover bid for rival game company Take-Two Interactive . After its initial offer of US$25 per share, all cash stock transaction offer was rejected by the Take-Two board, EA revised it to US$26 per share, a 64% premium over the previous day's closing price and made the offer known to the public. Rumours had been floating around the Internet prior to the offer about Take-Two possibly being bought over by a bigger company, albeit with Viacom as the potential bidder. In May 2008, EA announced that it will purchase the assets of Hands-On Mobile Korea, a South Korean mobile game developer and publisher. The company will become EA Mobile Korea. In September 2008, EA dropped its buyout offer of Take-Two. No reason was given.

As of November 6, 2008 it was confirmed that Electronic Arts is closing their Casual Label founded as EA Redwood Shores in 1998. * Capital Games in Sacramento, California founded in 2008, specialised in creating mobile games.

DEFUNCT

* Original HQ in San Mateo , California, moved to Redwood City in 1998. * Origin Systems in Austin , Texas founded in 1983, acquired in 1992, closed in 2004. * Bullfrog Productions in Surrey, England, founded in 1987, acquired in 1995, merged with EA UK and effectively closed in 2001. * EA Baltimore in Baltimore , Maryland, established in 1996 as part of Origin, closed in 2000 * EA Seattle in Seattle, Washington , founded in 1982 as Manley closed DICE Canada studio hours later. * EA UK in Chertsey, United Kingdom , moved to EA Bright Light in Guildford. * EA Chicago in Hoffman Estates, Illinois , founded in 1990 as NuFX , acquired in 2004, closed November 6, 2007. * Pandemic Studios in Los Angeles, California and Brisbane , Queensland, Australia, founded in 1998, acquired October 2007 from Elevation Partners , closed November 17, 2009. * EA Bright Light , in Guildford , Surrey, formerly EA UK , closed in 2011. * EA Black Box in Burnaby, Canada , founded in 1998, acquired in 2002, closed on April 2013. * EA Mobile Brazil in São Paulo, Brazil, closed in 2013. * EA Phenomic in Ingelheim, Germany , founded as Phenomic Game Development in 1997, acquired August 2006 and closed down in 2013. * Playfish in London, England, acquired in 2009, closed down in 2013. * Danger Close Games in Los Angeles , founded as DreamWorks Interactive, LLC. in 1995, acquired in 2000, renamed as EA Los Angeles and closed down in 2013. * EA North Carolina in Morrisville, North Carolina , closed in 2013 * Victory Games in Los Angeles, California, also has offices in Austin, Texas and Shanghai, China; founded in 2010 and closed down in 2013 as Danger Close. * Mythic Entertainment in Fairfax , Virginia, founded as Interworld Productions in 1995, acquired in June 2006 and closed down in May 2014. * Maxis in Emeryville , California, founded in 1987, acquired in July 1997, and closed down in March 2015. * Waystone was disbanded in November 2014.

EA PARTNERS PROGRAM

The EA Partners co-publishing arm is dedicated to publishing and distributing games developed by third-party developers. Notable publishing/distribution agreements include:

* Alice: Madness Returns – Spicy Horse * APB Realtime Worlds * Brütal Legend Double Fine Productions * Bulletstorm Epic Games * Crysis series – Crytek * DeathSpank Hothead Games * Fuse – Insomniac Games * Hellgate: London – Flagship Studios * Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning – 38 Studios , Big Huge Games * Rock Band series – Harmonix and MTV Games * The Secret World Funcom * Shadows of the Damned Grasshopper Manufacture * Shank series – Klei Entertainment * Syndicate – Starbreeze Studios * Titanfall series – Respawn Entertainment * Warp – Trapdoor

EA ORIGINALS PROGRAM

EA Originals is a program within Electronic Arts to help support independently-developed video games . The program was announced at EA's press event at the 2016 E3 Conference, and builds upon the success they had with Unravel in 2015. The first game to be supported under this program is Fe by Zoink Games , with plans for release in 2017. It will be followed by Sea of Solitude and A Way Out .

GAMES BY ELECTRONIC ARTS

Main article: List of Electronic Arts games

Some of the most notable and popular games of video game history have been published by EA, and many of these are listed below. Though EA published these titles, they did not always develop them; some were developed by independent game development studios. EA developed their first internally developed game in 1987.

* Pinball Construction Set (1983) by Bill Budge * M.U.L.E. (1983) by Dan Bunten and Ozark Softscape * Archon: The Light and the Dark (1983) by Paul Reiche III and Free Fall Associates * The Bard\'s Tale (1985) by Interplay Productions * Skate or Die! (1987), EA's first internally developed title * Madden NFL series (1988–present) * Populous (1989) by Bullfrog which EA acquired in 1995 * Wing Commander series (1993-2007, previous games published in-house) * Desert Strike: Return to the Gulf (1992) by EA's High Score Production group * FIFA series (1993–present) * Dungeon Keeper series (1997-2014) * Ultima series (1999-2013) * Command 2.5 points behind Nintendo (74.5) but ahead of the other first-party publishers Microsoft (71.6) and Sony (71.2). The closest third-party publisher is Take-Two Interactive (publishing as 2K Games and Rockstar Games ) at 70.3. The remaining top 10 publishers ( Sega , THQ , Ubisoft , Activision , Square Enix ) all rate in the mid 60s. Since 2005, EA has published eight games that received "Universal Acclaim" in at least one platform ( Metacritic score 90 or greater): Battlefield 2 , Crysis , Rock Band , FIFA 12 , FIFA 13 , Mass Effect 2 , Mass Effect 3 , and Dragon Age: Origins .

EA's aggregate review performance had shown a downward trend in quality over recent years and was expected to affect market shares during competitive seasons. Pacific Crest Securities analyst Evan Wilson had said, "Poor reviews and quality are beginning to tarnish the EA brand. According to our ongoing survey of GameRankings.com aggregated review data, Electronic Arts' overall game quality continues to fall... Although market share has not declined dramatically to date, in years such as 2007, which promises to have tremendous competition, it seems likely if quality does not improve."

EA had also received criticism for developing games that lack innovation vis-à-vis the number of gaming titles produced under the EA brand that show a history of yearly updates, particularly in their sporting franchises. These typically retail as new games at full market price and feature only updated team rosters in addition to incremental changes to game mechanics, the user interface, and graphics. One critique compared EA to companies like Ubisoft and concluded that EA's innovation in new and old IPs "Crawls along at a snail's pace," while even the company's own CEO, John Riccitiello, acknowledged the lack of innovation seen in the industry generally, saying, "We're boring people to death and making games that are harder and harder to play. For the most part, the industry has been rinse-and-repeat. There's been lots of product that looked like last year's product, that looked a lot like the year before." EA has announced that it is turning its attention to creating new game IPs in order to stem this trend, with recently acquired and critically acclaimed studios BioWare and Pandemic would be contributing to this process. In 2012, EA’s games were ranked highest of all large publishers in the industry, according to Metacritic.

On December 19, 2013, EA was hit with a class action lawsuit over the bugs in the Battlefield 4 DLC. EA issued a statement regarding the various issues and bugs of the game and promised players that these issues would be fixed before the launch of the next generation consoles. This was not the case as players on both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One had the same problems. The problems were so severe that they made certain parts of the game unplayable due to campaign save files being corrupted and players being unable to start or join multiplayer servers. Players expressed their outrage on the forums of Battlelog, EA Answers HQ and social news sites such as Reddit . EA DICE responded by apologizing for the bugs and promising that they would halt all production of the release of new DLC packages until they fixed the various problems.

SPORTS LICENSING AND EXCLUSIVITY

On June 5, 2008, a lawsuit was filed in Oakland , California alleging Electronic Arts is breaking United States anti-trust laws by signing exclusive contracts with the NFL Players Association , the NCAA and Arena Football League , to use players' names, likenesses and team logos. This keeps other companies from being able to sign the same agreements. The suit further accuses EA of raising the price of games associated with these licenses as a result of this action. In an interview with GameTap , Peter Moore said it was the NFL that sought the deal. "To be clear, the NFL was the entity that wanted the exclusive relationship. EA bid, as did a number of other companies, for the exclusive relationship", Moore said. "It wasn't on our behest that this went exclusive... We bid and we were very fortunate and lucky and delighted to be the winning licensee." While EA argued the player's likenesses was incidentally used, this was rejected by the United States Courts of Appeals in 2015. A further appeal to the US Supreme Court was unsuccessful. In June 2016, EA settled with Jim Brown for $600,000.

On September 26, 2013, EA settled a series of wide-ranging class action lawsuits filed by former NCAA players accusing EA and others of unauthorized use of player likenesses in their football and basketball games. EA settled the lawsuit for an undisclosed amount. The settlement is reported to be around $40 million, to be paid to between 200,000 and 300,000 players.

EULA AND DRM

In the September 2008 release of EA's game Spore it was revealed that the DRM scheme included a program called SecuROM and a lifetime machine-activation limit of three (3) instances. A huge public outcry over this DRM scheme broke out over the Internet and swarmed Amazon.com with one-star ratings and critical reviews of the game in order to get EA to "pay attention to their consumers". This DRM scheme, which was intended to hinder the efforts of infringers to illegally use and distribute EA software, instead mainly affected paying customers, as the game itself was copied and distributed well before release. On September 13, 2008, it was announced (by TorrentFreak's statistics) that Spore was the most torrented game ever with over half a million illegal downloads within the first week of release. In response to customer reaction, EA officially announced its release of upcoming Command ">'s ending was poorly received by both critics and fans due to the inconsistencies between statements by BioWare staff during the game's development and the form the endings ultimately took. Displeased by the ending, one player took his complaint to the Federal Trade Commission , the agency created to protect consumers. His argument was that BioWare did not deliver on the promise of its game, saying the end product did not match with the advertising campaign and PR interviews for the game. The U.S. Better Business Bureau also responded to the controversy, supporting claims by fans that BioWare falsely advertised the player's "complete" control over the game's final outcome. The UK's Advertising Standards Authority disagreed, ruling that EA and BioWare were not guilty of false advertisement since the endings were "thematically quite different", and the choices and readiness rating reflected in the ending content were significant enough to avoid actionable misleading of consumers under existing law.

According to a Reddit administrator and a former moderator of the subreddit devoted to the 2015 Star Wars Battlefront , moderators removed posts critical of the game at the direction of EA personnel in exchange for pre-release access to the game.

LGBT CONTROVERSIES

See also: Gender representation in video games § Portrayal of LGBT characters

EA has been noted for its inclusion of LGBT characters in games, and was among the companies given a perfect LGBT workplace score by the Human Rights Campaign in 2014.

The positive portrayals of LGBT characters in games by EA subsidiary BioWare have motivated fan support and also backlash. Several employees involved in Dragon Age II received hate mail and threats following its release. BioWare lead writer David Gaider responded to a fan upset by the game's bisexual romances, denying the fan's ability to speak for all straight male gamers and writing, "the person who says that the only way to please them is to restrict options for others is, if you ask me, the one who deserves it least."

Over the years from 2006 through 2012, various quotes both truly and falsely attributed to BioWare writer Jennifer Hepler were circulated online by fans who considered her emblematic of their complaints. After one quote from a 2006 interview was used to link Hepler with unpopular changes to Dragon Age II's combat systems, Hepler was harassed by telephone and online. The issue tapped into longstanding discontent over games being simplified to appeal to broader audiences. Backlash was also related to Hepler's writing for Anders, the character that prompted the "straight male gamer" complaint. According to Susana Polo in The Mary Sue , Hepler's gender may have intensified the harassment she experienced, but it was more directly the result of her being scapegoated for EA's pivot towards casual gamers.

EA refused to abandon plans to add gay romances to Star Wars: The Old Republic that were opposed by the Family Research Council . An online petition gathered more than 60,000 signatures in support of EA's decision before the petition became compromised by automated spam signatures. The automated signatures were discovered by Reddit and 4chan users, who accused EA of using the issue to link broader criticism of EA with homophobia. When eventually added to the game, the same-sex romances were ridiculed for being confined to a single "gay planet".

THE CONSUMERIST RATING AS "WORST COMPANY IN AMERICA"

In April 2012, The Consumerist awarded EA with the title of "Worst Company in America" along with a ceremonial Golden Poo trophy. The record-breaking poll drew in more than 250,000 votes and saw EA beating out such regulars as AT">'s poll for "Worst Company in America" a second time, consecutively, becoming the first company to do so. Games mentioned in the announcement included the critically controversial Mass Effect 3 for its ending, Dead Space 3 for its use of micro transactions, and the more recent SimCity reboot due to its poorly handled launch . Additionally, poor customer support, "nickel and diming", and public dismissiveness of criticisms were also given as explanations for the results of the poll. The Consumerist summarized the results by asking, "When we live in an era marked by massive oil spills, faulty foreclosures by bad banks, and rampant consolidation in the airline and telecom industry, what does it say about EA’s business practices that so many people have — for the second year in a row — come out to hand it the title of Worst Company in America?"

When asked about the poll by VentureBeat , Frank Gibeau, President of EA Labels, responded "we take it seriously, and want to see it change. In the last few months, we have started making changes to the business practices that gamers clearly don’t like." Gibeau attributes the elimination of online passes , the decision to make The Sims 4 a single-player, offline experience, as well as the unveiling of more new games to the shift in thinking. "The point is we are listening, and we are changing," Gibeau said.

DUNGEON KEEPER MOBILE APP STORE VOTE MANIPULATION

In 2013, EA released Dungeon Keeper Mobile , a free-to-play mobile variant of the popular 1990's strategy game Dungeon Keeper . The game was poorly received by both game critics and users. Critics noted that an in-game prompt claimed that "5-star ratings from you help us provide free updates!", suggesting that the games' creators would stop providing new content if players did not give the game sufficiently high ratings. The rating system involved a redirect process to the mobile storefront on which the game was sold; it was also pointed out that if players rated the game anything less than 5 stars, the game would not redirect them and not actually cast their vote, never indicating this to the user. This led to accusations of EA fraudulently manipulating the game's rating system and its subsequent score on mobile storefronts.

In June 2014, Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson made a public apology for the game, stating that it was a "shame" that he regretted.

In July 2014, the UK-based Advertising Standards Authority banned a Dungeon Keeper Mobile ad from broadcast, stating that the advertisement "deliberately misled consumers" and made false statements about the game's pricing and free-to-play nature. Later that same month Frank Gibeau, head of EA's mobile division, stated that the game's failure was attributed to audiences "not being ready" and that the game "innovated too much". These remarks resulted in backlash from game journalist media and users alike.

SEE ALSO

* San Francisco Bay Area portal * Companies portal

* History of video games * List of Electronic Arts games

REFERENCES

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FURTHER READING

* Sinclair, Brendan (January 4, 2006). "Innovation: does size matter?". GameSpot . CBS Interactive . * ea_spouse (November 10, 2004). "EA: The Human Story". LiveJournal . Archived from the original on February 15, 2016. * Becker, David (March 8, 2005). "Game makers see workplace changes". CNET . CBS Interactive . * Totilo, Stephen (September 12, 2006). "What\'s The \'Coolest Job Ever\'? Electronic Arts\' Summer Interns Tell Their Story". MTV . Viacom International . * Deck, Stewart (December 19, 2000). "Six Degrees of Hire Learning". ITworld . IDG Communications . * Varney, Allen (October 11, 2005). "The Conquest of Origin". The Escapist . Defy Media .

EXTERNAL LINKS

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