Electronic Arts have announced on May 5, 2020 the preliminary financial results for its fourth fiscal quarter. Let’s find out how the company sees the current state of the FIFA franchise.
According to Andrew Wilson, “EA SPORTS is a pillar of our portfolio and continues to bring more players together”. In his opinion, “FIFA is one of the biggest and most engaging entertainment franchises in the world. With approximately 100 million players engaging globally in our FIFA franchise, more than 25 million unique players have joined FIFA 20 so far, with VOLTA opening up an entirely new dimension to the game, and FIFA Ultimate Team continuing to grow as the most popular mode. FIFA Online in Asia also continues its momentum, significantly outperforming our expectations.”. Madden NFL was also praised: “it is a cultural icon in football, gaming and entertainment, and it just had its biggest year ever. We took a new approach to launching and rolling out new modes of play in Madden NFL 20, and the result was the highest engagement levels in franchise history.”
The EA CEO has detailed how the COVID-19 situation is affecting their games: “We have an internal COVID-19 task force that has been tracking and making decisions on a daily basis since January to keep our teams safe, including early decisions to restrict business travel, cancel events, and close our Shanghai and Seoul facilities. By mid-March, we shifted nearly all of our global workforce to work from home in response to the growing threat of the pandemic. Through this transition, we’ve put a heavy focus on ensuring our people have everything they need to balance the challenges of work and home life during stay-at-home orders and physical distancing. We continue to be in a work-from-home status for all of our locations outside of Shanghai. We have detailed protocols to evaluate our readiness to return to work in each of our offices when the time is right, accounting for guidance from health authorities and government, the comfort level of our employees, and preparation of our facilities for continued physical distancing. We’re planning for the return to take place over an extended period as we make longer-term changes to our locations and practices in response to the pandemic. We will continue to do everything we need to support our teams as we go forward”. In his own words ” The innovation that we are
delivering to players across the breadth of our games and live services continues to drive strength in our business.”
The way how the studio has dealt with these difficult times was a huge success. Andrew Wilson explained that their “amazing studio teams have delivered great live service content while working from home, including FIFA Ultimate Team events, Madden Ultimate Team content for the NFL Draft, and new additions to Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes. We also launched our “Stay Home, Play Together” initiative to do some special things for our players as shelter-in-place orders began to take effect in March. Thanks to the dedicated work of our teams and our partners, we’ve delivered dozens of Stay & Play programs to date, from special community livestreams and giveaways, to athletes and celebrities playing our games with fans. Our esports teams launched a fully cloud-based broadcasting platform that allows us to produce high-quality esports content with competitors, hosts and production staff all safely at home. We’ve since conducted major online tournaments for Apex Legends, Madden NFL 20, FIFA Online 4 and FIFA 20, including the FIFA Stay & Play Cup, a $1 million charity tournament for COVID-19 relief that brought together top European Clubs and footballers and aired in more than 100 countries. We’ve now executed, or plan to execute in the coming months, more than 100 celebrity, athlete, community and charity online
About the short-term plans, Blake Jorgensen said that ” Teams across the company have shown extraordinary innovation in meeting the challenge of delivering games from home. Developing a game from home inevitably carries risks, and we haven’t yet solved all the problems, but, for example: we just had a very successful FIFA Ultimate Team birthday event; Apex Legends Season 5 is about to launch; and we expect the next Sims expansion and Command & Conquer Remastered to both launch in June as scheduled. Learnings from this period will forever change the way we work at EA”.
EA plans to extended their games to as many platforms as possible. As explained “This year we plan to grow our communities across more platforms and ways to play. Building on our announcement with Google Stadia last week, we plan to bring our games to more digital distribution channels. We’ll take our subscription service to a fourth platform in Steam. And we’re also planning to deliver for more Nintendo fans, with multiple EA games set to launch on Nintendo Switch this year.”
The best part was saved to the end. The EA COO and CFO revealed in first hand that “We are planning to launch 14 new titles to players this fiscal year. That includes four new EA SPORTS titles – FIFA, Madden, NHL and one more unannounced sports game – all of which deliver on the mix of creativity, authenticity and quality that sets EA SPORTS apart. EA SPORTS will also lead for us on the next-generation consoles this year, and we’re excited to share more about the breakthroughs in those experiences soon. (…) The games we are launching for the current generation of consoles that can also be upgraded for free for the next generation.