ea-sports-active_web.jpgNEW YORK (AP) — Following in the footsteps of Nintendo's popular “Wii Fit,” the video game publisher known for the “Madden” football games is jumping into fitness software targeted mostly at women.

Electronic Arts Inc. was set to announce Thursday a new line, EA Sports Active, that runs on the Nintendo Wii console and aims to complement, not compete with, Nintendo’s “Wii Fit” exercise title.

Peter Moore, president of EA Sports, called the Active brand, whose first title, “EA Sports Active,” launches next March, a “somewhat radical departure from the normal game experiences we provide customers.”

EA's sports audience has been mostly young men, who have flocked to football, soccer, basketball and hockey titles to make the company the world's dominant player in sports video games.

But to stay competitive with rivals such as Activision Blizzard Inc., whose success with games like “World of Warcraft” and “Rock Band” seems to be weathering the recession, EA needs to continue to expand its audience.

The company's new brand seeks to take advantage of the popularity of the Nintendo console and of exercise games. While the “Wii Fit” is already enormously popular, Moore, a former physical-education teacher, said EA's sports software will run people through an exercise routine with a more Western approach than the Japanese company's product.

“Wii Fit” includes activities like running, skiing as well as yoga, and it emphasizes balance as well as fitness. EA's products will include exercises like running and lunges, as well as simulations of sports such as tennis.

The games use straps to attach the Wii's controller and “nunchuk” attachment to a player's body, so the fitness routines can be performed without holding the controls. EA also plans to include peripherals such as resistance bands. Titles in the line will cost about $60, the same as a regular video game.