EA Trademarking 'Style Empire'
Trademark filings are a reliably productive source of game reveals, even if the titles in question might not be your favorite flavor. EA has filed trademark applications for something called "Style Empire," and all indications are that it's a Facebook or browser-based game. If that's not a double whammy to stereotypical gamers everywhere, I don't know what is.
The filings, which were dug up by the sleuths at Fusible, cover "Computer game software; Downloadable computer game software via a global computer network and wireless devices," and "Entertainment services, namely, providing an on-line computer game; Provision of information relating to electronic computer games provided via the Internet."
The idea of EA making an MMO based on something that involves style is laughably bizarre, which makes Facebook or a browser-based game the most obvious destinations for the title. EA has dabbled in fashion and style-related projects in the past, with the Charm Girls Wii and DS games (pictured above). Moving these elements onto Facebook or online would create new opportunities for players to share their creations with friends and the community at large, which could be more rewarding for designers. As Fusible points out, however, EA doesn't currently own the Style Empire web domain. That could be a potential problem, but it's probably nothing that an open wallet couldn't fix.
Facebook gaming doesn't appear to be going anywhere, and EA is certainly eager to take bold steps in that area. Its Sims Social game has been a runaway hit for the company, and its acquisition of PopCap Games in July bumped up its social-networking presence. CEO John Riccitiello has said that the free-to-play model is where the money is these days, so expect to see more of these games in the future.