EA will not release new Battlefield game in 2020 and bet on live services

EA reports that the next Battlefield game will not be released next year. A new Battlefield title will follow in fiscal 2022, which runs from April 2021 to March 2022. The company is releasing fewer new games and will focus even more on live services.

This means that previous rumors about the arrival of Bad Company 3 as a possible title to be released with the release of the new Xbox and the PlayStation 5 have turned out to be incorrect. EA CEO Andrew Wilson said during the oral presentation that the next Battlefield title will rely heavily on live services and introduce a number of new multiplayer and competition things that are new to the Battlefield franchise, Polygon wrote. He did not provide further details about the next Battlefield game. By postponing the arrival of a new Battlefield title, EA is breaking the cycle that has been going on for years in which new Battlefield titles follow each other after one and a half to two years.

It has also been communicated that a new Star Wars game, the next one following the upcoming release of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, should be released before April 2022, reports analyst Daniel Ahmad based on statements from EA. However, he says that this is by no means a certainty. EA also indicated that a new Dragon Age title from BioWare is in development and will likely be released after fiscal year 2022, meaning after April 2022.

EA also announced that NBA Live 20 has been canceled. Three months ago, the company announced that this basketball game would be postponed until the last quarter of this year, but now it is being scrapped entirely. Andrew Wilson said a limited-time gaming experience is underway around the NBA’s All-Star Championship weekend.

Some of these choices, such as scrapping NBA Live 20 and moving a new Battlefield game, are likely related to EA’s revamped strategy, with which the company will be fully committed to live services. CFO Blake Jorgensen indicated that significant investments will be made in live services and the core franchises, with money mainly being invested in games that players play for longer. This mainly concerns games in which players can spend money permanently, especially Apex Legends, The Sims 4 and in particular the Ultimate Team modes of FIFA and Madden. Betting fully on live services and thus supporting existing games and franchises means, among other things, that no game from EA will be released in the next quarter.

EA thinks that more money can be made with this strategy, which at least seems to be supported by, for example, the player numbers in the different Ultimate Team modes. FIFA’s Ultimate Team mode had 22 percent more unique players in the quarter than in the same period a year earlier and for Madden it is a 19 percent increase. These modes include purchasing tickets to get players.

Incidentally, the publisher also reported that Apex Legends has had 70 million players so far, although it is unclear how many of them are actually active users. EA describes this game as ‘the shooter for next year’, which is an indication that the company is going to invest heavily in the game and not release another shooter next year like the next Battlefield game. Incidentally, EA says that Titanfall ‘has not been forgotten’, but further details about Titanfall 3, for example, were not given.

Last quarter was a good one for EA, as revenue rose from $1.29 billion to $1.35 billion. Earnings were significantly higher compared to a year ago, but that was mainly due to one-off tax windfalls. The numbers also clearly show that live services are a significant driver of growth, including season passes, single DLC and Ultimate Team mode revenue. Digital net bookings, a term that represents the net number of products and services sold digitally during a period, were worth $790 million, up from $637 million in the same quarter a year earlier. Of this $790 million figure, 493 million and thus 50 percent was attributable to live services; a year earlier, the live services still accounted for $328 million and had a significantly smaller share.