REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA) today announced a multi-year partnership with global racing sensation and action sports icon Ken Block and Need for Speed™. Block will become Racing Advisor for the franchise, lending his unique insights into what it takes to push the action and adrenaline of racing to new limits to help keep Need for Speed atop the videogame racing world for years to come. The Need for Speed franchise is also sponsoring Block and his Ford Fiesta ST 2013 racing car and will be working with him on the release of Gymkhana SIX, the next installment of the award-winning, record-breaking viral video franchise, via the Need for Speed website and YouTube channel.
ESPN has recognized Block as one of the most influential action sports athletes in the world. When his rally racing career began in 2005 he quickly earned Rookie of the Year in the Rally America Championship and has gone on to nineteen overall wins and five X-Games medals. In addition to his performance in competition, Block has reached global fame for his skill and car control and pushed the sport of rally cross the line into the mainstream through his wildly successful Gymkhana video series. To date, the first five videos have garnered more than 250 million views. The next video in this series, Gymkhana SIX, will be released in its entirety November 11 and will once again raise the bar for what can be done behind-the-wheel of a car.
“Partnering with EA and Need for Speed is a natural fit for our team. I feel like we both have the same goal in mind – to let people live out a fantasy of really pushing the limits of what you can do in the driver’s seat,” said Ken Block. “It’s that special mix of fast-pace, raw speed and over-the-top fun, which has made the Gymkhana series a success, and something the Need for Speed games capture really well. We’re both excited to show you how we’re taking things to a new level in Gymkhana SIX in just a few weeks.”
Marcus Nilsson, Executive Producer of Need for Speed Rivals added, “I couldn’t think of a more exciting and more appropriate partner to have for Need for Speed. Ken’s a true master of drifting, handling, and really turning the streets into a playground for cars. We were already huge fans of his at Ghost, and we know he will be a great asset in helping us provide gamers the most adrenaline-filled and fun racing experience in the industry as we move forward.”
The Need for Speed franchise has sold more than 150 million copies since it first launched in 1994. The newest entry, Need for Speed Rivals, is already receiving praise from press worldwide, winning 15 awards including Best Racing Game of E3 2013 from the Game Critics Awards. Need for Speed Rivals glorifies the street’s ultimate rivalry, allowing gamers to choose their driver’s seat between cops and racers. Each side of the law will have its own set of distinct cars, tech, high-stakes challenges and rewards. Set in a stunning world powered by the advanced Frostbite™ 3 engine, Need for Speed Rivals also introduces the revolutionary AllDrive system that destroys the line between single player, co-op and multiplayer, seamlessly connecting gamers to their friend’s racing world.
Need for Speed Rivals will be in-stores November 19 in North America and November 22 in Europe for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, Xbox 360® videogame and entertainment system from Microsoft and PC via Origin™. Need for Speed Rivals will also be available starting November 22 in North America for the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system and Xbox One®, the all-in-one games and entertainment system from Microsoft. The game will be available starting November 22 in Europe on Xbox One and November 29 on PlayStation 4.
To join the conversation on Need for Speed Rivals, please visit http://www.facebook.com/needforspeed, or follow us on Twitter® at www.twitter.com/needforspeed and #NeedforSpeed. Press assets for Need for Speed Rivals are available at http://info.ea.com.
About Electronic Arts
Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA) is a global leader in digital interactive entertainment. The Company’s game franchises are offered as both packaged goods products and online services delivered through Internet-connected consoles, personal computers, mobile phones and tablets. EA has more than 300 million registered players and operates in 75 countries.
In fiscal year 2013, EA posted GAAP net revenue of $3.8 billion. Headquartered in Redwood City, California, EA is recognized for critically acclaimed, high-quality blockbuster franchises such as The Sims™, Madden NFL, FIFA Soccer, Need for Speed™, Battlefield™, and Mass Effect™. More information about EA is available at www.ea.com/news.
The Sims, Need for Speed, Mass Effect and Frostbite are trademarks of Electronic Arts Inc or its subsidiaries. John Madden, NFL and FIFA are the property of their respective owners and used with permission. PlayStation is a registered trademark of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Xbox, Xbox One and Xbox 360 are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies.
About Ken Block
Ken Blockʼs rally career began in 2005. His skill and car control became quickly apparent and Block aptly nabbed Rookie of the Year in the Rally America Championship. Since then, Block has continued to race in the series, boasting a healthy twelve overall wins, in addition to numerous podium appearances as well as X Games medals, including taking silver at Summer X Games 18 in 2012. In addition to his performance in the car, Block has been a driving force in shedding light on the sport within the United States. His keen branding and marketing acumen has allowed Block to achieve global fame as a rally driver through his wildly successful viral videos, which include his record-setting jump for the TV series Stunt Junkies, his scenes in the DC snowboard video Mtn.Lab 1.5 and spy footage of his Subaru TRAX STI project in action, along with his Gymkhana videos. Ad Age named his “Gymkhana TWO” the No. 4 Viral Video of 2009 and his “Gymkhana THREE; Part 2 Ultimate Playground; l’Autodrome” the No. 6 Viral Video of 2010. At the start of 2012, Gymkhana FOUR: The Hollywood Megamercial was named the top-shared viral add of 2011 by Marketing Magazine Australia. In 2012, Block and DC Shoes dropped “Gymkhana FIVE” and the video garnered 5.1 million views on its first day up and 21+ million in the first week. In January 2010, he formed the Monster World Rally Team and signed with Ford to become the first American to campaign in the World Rally Championship, becoming only the second American to ever score points in the WRC during his inaugural 2010 season. Additionally, his signing with Ford included campaigning domestically in racing (Global RallyCross, X Games and Rally America), as well as continuing to do gymkhana. For 2012, Block has re-named his team as Hoonigan Racing Division, with the goal to further push the boundaries of motorsports marketing. Block co-founded DC Shoes, a worldwide leader in performance skateboarding shoes and a renowned action sports brand.