Going by the sales figures, at 1.8 million units sold, Left 4 Dead isn't exactly a standout either -- but it does go down in EA's "win" column. As an EA Partners game, Left 4 Dead didn't cost EA development bucks; and while that means a lesser share of gross revenue, the game's decent sales performance has likely equaled greater profit for EA compared to the results of its new, in-house IP.
Where does EA go from here? Well, a "new" Dead Space game can signal one of two things: (a) EA is confidently moving forward with its plan to build compelling, new franchises; or (b) EA is morphing its compelling, new franchises into redundant, tired formulas. If the latter, don't blame EA. Our money does the dictating. EA just follows along.
Source - EA Q3 2009 Earnings Conference Call Script [PDF]