EA released their most recent earnings report which has uncovered a lot of information about what’s coming in the future. The publisher revealed they’ve done very well over the last quarter of the year and they hope to continue this success. To help them do this, they have more than 35 new games in development. Some of those will be from Bioware, and despite the studio’s issues in the past, EA is “very, very confident” about the studio’s future.
EA’s CEO Andrew Wilson stated the 35 new titles are part of a “deep and robust pipeline of new content” and they’re at varying stages of development. Very few clues were given to their identities with the exception of Battlefield 6, which will be revealed in more detail this spring. Of course, there’s also the titles we already know about, such as Mass Effect Legendary Edition from BioWare. The studio has had its ups and downs of late, especially with the disappointing reaction to Anthem, but Wilson revealed the publisher still has confidence in what the studio can produce:
That is an incredible studio filled with incredible people who do incredible work. And I think that from the outside wall, there have been some blips in their delivery over the last couple of years, but that has come as a result of them pushing deeply into innovation and creativity. And we feel very, very confident about their future road map and we’ve talked about games like Dragon Age and Mass Effect in their future. […] We look forward to sharing more about what’s coming from BioWare in the near future.
We can expect that some of them will be annual sports titles too, like FIFA, Madden, and NHL. The publisher also just announced the return of college football in the form of EA Sports College Football. Wilson stated the reason for the franchise’s return was the “audience has grown dramatically since we launched the last game in 2013. I also think the nature of gameplay has changed dramatically as we think about the future of sports”. EA will be expanding into a different sport, too, and this will include a new title to launch during the next fiscal year.
While the Codemasters acquisition is yet to be finalized, the publisher did make tentative plans for their future, including the hope they’ll be able to release racing games on a yearly basis. Codemasters will come with their own DiRT, DiRT Rally, GRID, and Project Cars IPs, as well as holding the licenses for F1 and WRC. According to COO Blake Jorgensen, EA wishes to help Codemasters grow the F1 franchise around the globe, as well as adding the benefits of “a large publishing organization and a marketing muscle” to DiRT and GRID. In return, Codemasters would be able to add their expertise to the Need for Speed and Real Racing franchises. In a rather telling comment, Jorgensen also added it was an “incredible opportunity to own essentially all of the driving business there is.”
On the other hand, there weren’t any Star Wars announcements during the report. EA’s studios have produced a number of franchises within the universe, such as Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Galaxy of Heroes, Battlefront, Jedi: Fallen Order, and Squadrons. Between all of these franchises, they’ve sold more than 52 million units and generated more than $3 billion net bookings over their lifetime. Despite losing Star Wars license exclusivity, EA will continue to invest in their existing franchises and develop “some new experiences across platforms for the future.”
There was also a complete absence of their NBA franchise. This is because NBA titles have underperformed over the last few years, something the publisher has unsurprisingly found disappointing. They “remain committed to basketball long term” though, and they’re currently trying to work out how to improve the franchise in the future and maintain their good relationship with NBA.
Moving away from future releases, of all of the games EA sold on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One over the last 12 months, 62% of those were digital sales. This is a 13% increase from last year. As @ZhugeEX explained on Twitter, digital sales are usually expected to increase by 5-7% per year anyway. The reason they increased so much this year is due to the impact of Covid-19 and players remaining at home. EA Play also did incredibly well, totalling nearly 13 million players across PlayStation, Xbox, and PC. Since the subscription service was included with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, membership has doubled. The good news for us about this partnership is that Microsoft is able to tell us of titles that will be leaving the service. One such title is Shadows of the Damned, which will be leaving EA Play on February 16. If you’re still playing this through the subscription service, make sure to finish it within the next couple of weeks.