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Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson said in an analyst call that he is optimistic about the year ahead based on the strength of its user growth, live services, and new titles coming.
EA ended the fourth fiscal quarter with 580 million users, fueled by growth from EA Sports FIFA, Apex Legends, and The Sims. FIFA Mobile saw new players surge 80% compared to a year ago. The numbers grew even though EA removed Russia and Belarus consumers from its market during the quarter due to the Ukraine war.
“EA delivered profitable growth in FY22, a record year in every important measure of our business,” Wilson said in an analyst call after reporting FYQ4 earnings. “Total players, engagement in our games and live services, net bookings, and underlying profit. We grew our global network of players to more than 580 million unique active accounts, fueled by new players joining titles including EA Sports FIFA, Apex Legends and The Sims, and new players that we welcomed from our acquisitions.”
Wilson credited EA’s intellectual property, talent, and player network engaged with live services. Apex Legends Mobile launches this month, and new updates are coming. EA has six EA Sports titles coming and more are in development.
EA’s upcoming titles include Need for Speed, Dead Space, Star Wars, The Sims, Skate, the Bioware franchises, and Lord of the Rings. The company’s two new studios in Seattle are working on new projects, the Motive studio has an unannounced title in development, and EA has more underway across its global studio teams.
EA has new titles like Dead Space coming. And it announced a new mobile game based on The Lord of the Rings coming soon. But Wilson didn’t mention Battlefield 2042, which fell short of expectations last fall, at all during the analyst call.
“Every year, we’ll continue to deliver more positive experiences,” he said.
Next year, EA said its soccer titles will shift to a new EA Play FC brand, as it moves away from its FIFA license that lasted for nearly 30 years. This fall FIFA soccer title will be the last licensed EA Sports game in that series. One of the advantages is that EA won’t have to pay licensing fees to FIFA after this year.
On its fiscal 2023 title slate, EA said it will ship F122 in Q1, FIFA and Madden NFL in Q2, Need for Speed and NHL in Q3, and five titles in Q4 2023 (quarter ended March 31, 2023).
Those titles include PGA tour, a major intellectual property, a partner title, a remake, and a sports title. Chris Suh, chief financial officer, said EA’s return on ad spend is back to normal after it powered through the difficulties of Apple’s Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) changes, which emphasized user privacy over targeted ads.
EA saw its fiscal year 2022 bookings hit $7.515 billion, up 20% from a year earlier.
“Games are now central to people’s lives, and younger audiences have more power as consumers,” Wilson said. “Gen Alpha, Gen Z and Millennials are digital natives and they are gaming-first generations. They see gaming as their #1 choice for entertainment. The consumption of entertainment and sport is deeply social, with players across our network using games to stay connected to friends, and to express themselves.”
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