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Andrew Wilson: "I don't think we could be in a stronger position as a standalone company"

EA CEO also addressed the console lifecycle, expecting a "stronger pipeline down the back half of the cycle"

During EA's earnings call yesterday, CEO Andrew Wilson addressed recent rumours that the FIFA company was looking to be acquired.

Reports that EA had acquisition talks with NBCUniversal, Amazon, Apple, and Disney emerged in May, with Wilson asked about it during the Q&A portion of the call (as transcribed by Seeking Alpha).

First saying that he wouldn't comment on "rumours and speculation from some [little-read] media outlets," he then said that EA was in an "incredible position" and was soon to become "the largest standalone independent developer and publisher of interactive entertainment in the world."

He continued: "In a world where gaming is becoming more important to the lives of Gen Z and Gen Alpha, who will be the leading generation in terms of consumption, entertainment for the future, I don't think we could be in a stronger position as a standalone company.

"Our objective -- and my objective as CEO of this company -- is always to take care of our people, our players, and our shareholders. And should there ever be a way for us to do that differently the way we're doing it today, I, of course, have to be open to that. But I would tell you today, we feel very, very confident and excited for our future."

Wilson also addressed the current console lifecycle, still impacted by supply issues, and how that's affecting EA's strategy. He said we're still "really early" in the cycle, adding that platform holders "think about console cycles on a ten-year time horizon."

While admitting "some supply chain constraints," Wilson said he expects things to "ease up towards the back half and certainly into next year," adding that "the most important thing" is that "demand is off the charts."

He continued: "As the supply chain starts to ease, our expectation is that more and more people pick up that next console. So as we think about what is the next eight years of this cycle, you should expect that we'll continue to invest deeply in our existing owned IP in our EA Sports portfolio, but you should also expect that as we get through that cycle, we're investing deeper into our slate to have a stronger pipeline down the back half of the cycle."

As we reported yesterday, EA's sports titles have been performing well during Q1 2022, with FIFA and F1 driving a 14% growth in revenue year-on-year.

During the earnings call, CFO Chris Suh added that live services net bookings went up 8% year-on-year, with live titles representing 73% of EA's business. Across the company's entire portfolio, digital sales accounted for 65% of all sales, up 4% compared to the same period in 2021. Meanwhile, mobile represented 17% of EA's business during the quarter, with FIFA Mobile leading the charge in a growing area of success for the company.

COO Laura Miele commented: "When we look at our player profile, 46% of our FIFA Mobile players were located in Asia Pacific and Latin America compared to just 28% for our HD players. So we see this as a significant expansion of the overall ecosystem for these big brands that we have."

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Marie Dealessandri avatar
Marie Dealessandri: Marie joined in 2019 to head its Academy section. A journalist since 2012, she started in games in 2016. She can be found (rarely) tweeting @mariedeal, usually on a loop about Baldur’s Gate and the Dead Cells soundtrack. GI resident Moomins expert.
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