New DICE Battlefield in 2016, new Titanfall inbound – EA Q3

Thursday, 28 January 2016 23:20 GMT By Brenna Hillier

EA has hinted at its upcoming release slate in its most recent financials, and provided some interesting detail about Star Wars Battlefront sales.

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A new Battlefield game from DICE will launch in time for the 2016 holiday season, EA confirmed during a post-release call with investors.

The publisher also mentioned that a new Titanfall “experience” is on the way. Executives who have seen the work in progress described it as “fantastic”, but didn’t give a release window.

Mass Effect Andromeda wasn’t dated, either, but is coming “later in the fiscal year” – which makes it sound like it might make the holidays this year, or might slip into calendar Q1 2017.

Here’s the full quote regarding EA’s FY2017, which runs April 1 2016 through March 31 2017:

“In Q1, we’ll begin with the creative and innovative Mirror’s Edge Catalyst from DICE launching in May. A great line-up of EA Sports titles are in development for next year, and we look forward to sharing more about these new experiences in the months ahead. An all-new Battlefield game from DICE will arrive in time for the holidays, we’re excited to have a new Titanfall experience coming from our friends at Respawn – and of course, Mass Effect Andromeda from the team at BioWare will launch later in the fiscal year.”

Star Wars Battlefront

Investors and analysts had questions about the performance of Star Wars Battlefront, which EA said has shipped 13 million units, beating the publisher’s forecasts.

EA didn’t give a hard breakdown, but did say that sales skewed more towards physical sales than it had anticipated, which CFO Blake Jorgensen attributed to holiday gifting. EA was bullish on digital, saying there had been no slow down. It managed to pull $139 million in revenue from full-game downloads during the quarter, the majority of which were surely Battlefront. As for physical sales numbers, EA said only that it is “very comfortable” with sell-through.

CEO Andrew Wilson said Battlefront triggered a demographic shift, with new players in two categories: youth and “older, lapsed gamer”. Wilson said this comes down to gamer dads playing with heir kids, after years of avoiding online multiplayer shooters.

EA made a reference to the “next” Battlefront experience but didn’t give us anything meatier to work with. The firm’s CFO, Blake Jorgensen did state, though, that the current Battlefront game would be sticking with the original film trilogy.

In other words, don’t expect characters from the new film to be making an appearance.

“One thing that we are adhering to, and I think this is part of our arrangement with Lucas and Disney, is you can’t make a game in Star Wars that violates the canon of Star Wars,” he said via Seeking Alpha. “Mainly you can’t take something from the future and bring it back into the past unless it’s a reference.

“Not knowing yet exactly what the storyline in Rogue One is going to be, I can’t comment on how that could come in to the extent that it’s in the future around our current Battlefront game [which takes place] 30 years before the most recent movie. But in our current game and for that manner the DLC associated with that current game, we’ll have to be careful that we don’t violate the cannon.”

Jorgensen went on to say the company would stay “tightly connected” to future Star Wars movies and in future titles “tap into” new characters and vehicles.

General

EA posted GAAP revenue of $1.07 billion for the quarter ending December 31 2015, a decrease on the $1.126 billion of the same quarter 2014.

Despite this seeming downturn, it managed a record quarterly operating cash flow of $889 million and its non-GAAP figures show growth across the board.

EA believes it was “the #1 publisher on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles in the Western World for calendar year 2015″, which is nice. In calendar year 2015, Madden NFL 16 was the best-selling sports title in the US, while FIFA 16 was the top title in all genres in Europe.

A couple of other highlights, nominated by EA itself:

  • The return of Need for Speed drew more than twice as many monthly active players in Q3 than the previous game.
  • Players logged more than 150 million hours of gameplay across Battlefield 4 and Battlefield Hardline in Q3.
  • In Q3, Star Wars: The Old Republic grew to its highest subscriber level in nearly three years.
  • Madden NFL Mobile monthly active players were up nearly 50% year-over-year in Q3.

“This holiday season we connected millions of players through amazing games across multiple platforms. From the stunning visuals and gameplay of Star Wars Battlefront, to the anytime, anywhere competition in Madden NFL Mobile, players are deeply engaged across the increasing depth and breadth of the EA portfolio,” Wilson said in a prepared statement.

EA forecast GAAP net revenue of $4.363 billion for the full financial year, which ends March 31 2016.

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