EA is ‘doubling down’ on live service games like Apex Legends

EA has stated that it will be “doubling down” on live service games like Apex Legends, with the publisher focusing on games that “people play for longer.” This news comes after EA’s digital games spearheaded its sales in the second fiscal quarter, with titles such as FIFA 20 and its in-game monetization helping drive profits.

“We’re investing in games that people play for longer and engage with much more deeply,” said EA COO Blake Jorgensen.“This focus will continue to drive growth and profitability for the company through the remainder of this year and beyond.”

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Battlefield 6‘s release window was also confirmed, with the next entry in DICE’s FPS series set to launch in 2021–22. The publisher stated that it will instead focus on Apex Legends in 2020 as its main shooter.

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EA made the comments during an earnings call with investors, discussing the status of its various key franchises. EA revealed that Battlefield 6 will ship during the 2022 fiscal year, which runs from April 2021 through March 2022. This means that the series will be taking a break in 2020, despite previous entries in the series usually releasing bi-annually.

EA also noted that it “won’t forget” about Titanfall, but didn’t state that development had begun on Titanfall 3. Instead, Jorgensen said that Respawn was “hyper-focused” on its work with Apex Legends.

The news that EA is continuing to target live service games will raise eyebrows. Though Apex Legends has been a bank-rolling success and its sports franchises continue to earn the company a lot of money, live service games don’t always work out as planned. EA found this out the hard way with Anthem, which was one of the year’s most highly-anticipated new releases, but drastically underperformed both critically and commercially.

EA posted the following highlights from the earnings call:

  • Digital net bookings for the trailing twelve months was a record $3.883 billion, up 8% year-over-year and represents 78% of total net bookings.
  • The number of FIFA Ultimate Team unique players increased 22% year-over-year.
  • The number of Madden Ultimate Team unique players increased 19% year-over-year.
  • Apex Legends has had 70 million players life to date.
  • The Sims 4 monthly average players are up more than 40% year-over-year.

The company also announced yesterday that it was embarking on a new partnership with Valve, in order to bring EA games and its EA Access subscription service to Steam. The first EA game released on the platform as part of this collaboration will be Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.