EA Explains Why Next Battlefield Game Is Skipping a Year, Says It Will Be “Driven Around Live Service”

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In case you didn’t catch it, yesterday, EA confirmed that the next Battlefield game will be out in fiscal year 2022, which is surprising to most people given we expect a new Battlefield game every two years. (give or take).

Today, in EA’s quarterly earnings call, the publisher was asked why the next Battlefield game is “skipping a year,” and what’s the reasoning behind it.

Stephen Ju (Credit Suisse):I’m (sic) just wanted to dig in a little bit more in terms of the decision making process that went into Battlefield skipping a year here. So – and I was wondering whether this is a conscientious decision to shift the direction of the franchise or is this more of a resource constraint decision? And should we still be thinking about those franchise or something that is still a two year or maybe even a three year cycle release or maybe more like a perpetual service like what you may have been intending to do with Anthem. Thanks.

Thankfully, EA CEO Andrew Wilson wasn’t going to shy away from answering it, and his reply essentially boils down to: the publisher is banking on Apex Legends, and they want more next-gen consoles (PS5, next Xbox) to be in homes before launching the next Battlefield game.

Good question. So, still that resource constraints, I’ll say that up front, but it was a very thought through decision for us and there was a few factors that came into play. And the first is that we still see a burgeoning opportunity with Battlefield V. And as I talked about in the prepared remarks, we’re about to launch a whole new theater of wall with the Pacific theater and the team is still really thinking about, how they can continue to drive that service on a going forward basis. So, we think there’s opportunity still inside the Battlefield V experience, as it was built as a bite large service from the beginning.

The second is we now effectively have an annualized shooter Apex Legends and we see tremendous growth opportunity that can continue to engage, as we talked about in the prepared remarks, now over 70 million players. And as Blake talked about, we have opportunity to take that into other regions and to other platforms. And we think is a tremendous growth opportunity on that and want to make sure that we give that the time that it deserves.

And then third, as we thought about building for the next Battlefield. Battlefield has always been cutting edge, leading edge, both in terms of visual fidelity, and in gameplay and in multiplayer play. And as a team really began working against that. It became a parent to us that, launching into the next gen platforms was going to offer tremendous opportunity for innovation. But we really wanted to give the install base some opportunity to grow. And believe that in combination with the first three things I talked about launching battlefield in FY ‘22 is a really strong move for us and presents us with an opportunity for strong two years of growth. – Andrew Wilson, EA CEO

Now, for those not happy with how Battlefield 5 has focused on the “live services” part of post-launch support (Tides of War), well, the next Battlefield game will be built with the same idea in mind, as confirmed by Wilson.

In terms of the overall franchise direction, I don’t think you should read into this a dramatic change in franchise direction other than it will be driven around live service as the nature of our industry now. It will be cutting edge. It will be high fidelity. It will be doing things in the context of multi-play and social play and competition that Battlefields to this point have not done. And we do believe it will be a really, really exciting title in FY ‘22. Andrew Wilson, EA CEO

As a Battlefield fan, it’s a bummer that we won’t see a new entry in the franchise next year. But if this means we’ll get a better overall game, though? Yeah, I’m all for it. Oh, and let’s hope this new Battlefield game is set in modern times, yeah?

Do you agree with Wilson’s explanation and are you happy that it’ll once again focus on a live services business model?

Source: SeekingAlpha (login required)

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