Electronic Arts Inc. can rest at Ease Due to Huge Titles
EA has some of the most popular sports titles as feathers in its cap since a long time. Franchises like FIFA, NHL and Madden have done very well for the firm. For decades, analysts have been projecting that soccer would soon become the most popular sport in North America. A 2014 ESPN Sports Poll found that professional soccer was the second most popular sport among 12-17 year olds, behind only American football. In addition, US viewership for European league games, as well as the World Cup, has increased dramatically. Last season, NBC aired Premier League games which drew an audience of 425,000, the largest ever. Furthermore, the Women’s World Cup final in 2015 drew more viewers than both the NBA Finals and Stanley Cup, a remarkable achievement. These numbers reflect a trend of the growing popularity of soccer in the US. In addition to soccer, EA dominates the market for football and games with no real challengers. Madden consistently ranks among the top 10 most purchased games each year.
We read about the upcoming release of the next installment of the Battlefield series, i.e. Battlefield 1. At the same time, rival Activision plans to release its next installment of its ‘Call of Duty franchise’. Both firms released the reveal trailers for their new FPS games set to be released later this year. If upvotes and downvotes on the videos are anything to go by, Battlefield killed it, Call of Duty massively flopped.
Control is in the Right Hands
The CEO Andrew Wilson has watched over a period of tremendous growth since joining the firm. Its user base has increased significantly through a growth in mobile presence, and a combination of downloadable content (DLC) and a subscription service known as EA Access. DLC content is generated largely through the prior mentioned Madden and FIFA franchises, as well as Sims. With EA Access, while titles are generally $60 when new, users gain access to dozens of previous editions of their favorite games for $5 per month.
Overall, growth trends appear very positive. EA is also looking to the future with several new franchises set to come between now and 2022. It is known that EA has a relatively small presence in the largest genre of gaming: action. In this regard, EA Studios boss Patrick Soderlund had commented earlier in an interview with IGN, saying ‘EA is not known to make gigantic action games like Assassin’s Creed or Batman or GTA or those types of games that are really big. The strategic direction that we put in motion is to expand our portfolio more into that segment, to see what can we bring to gamers that maybe hasn’t been done before.’
The ‘gigantic’ game is currently in development with a firm known as Motive Studios and likely will not be completed until 2020. The latest GTA installment sold 50 mn copies. If EA can produce a game that produces even half of that, the firm will go through the roof. Star Wars: Battlefront 2 is a sequel to the installment which was released last year. The power of the Star Wars brand and the increasing mainstream popularity of the new movies will generate sales which far exceed the prior game.
The firm has also highlighted the fact that it was the #1 publisher on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, commonly referred to as the next-generation consoles. Furthermore, it was the #1 most downloaded mobile games publisher in 2015. The Sims 4 player base grew by nearly two-thirds throughout the year, and The Sims Free Play on mobile reached 200 mn installs to date.
So the firm’s massive gaming lineup and expanding DLC program have immense potential. EA will increase its market share over competitors like Activision and Ubisoft and could become the Apple of video game makers, if it isn’t already.