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EA shows its hand for next fiscal year

Beginning March 2020, EA plans focus on Apex, new EA sports title on annual slate, two third-party IP, "exciting remasters"

Q2 financial calls don't normally come with an itemized outline of everything the company is going to launch in the next fiscal year, but EA's call today came pretty close to doing just that as CEO Andrew Wilson and CFO and COO Blake Jorgensen laid out the company's plans broadly for FY21.

Throughout the call, the pair emphasized the importance of EA's "core business fueled by live services," sharing lots of numbers related to the increased digital share of company revenue and unit sales as well as the strength of its live games. Unsurprisingly, that's directed the company's vision for the debut of the next console generation, with both executives mentioning plans for EA to "drive live growth" in existing live franchises next year: Apex Legends, FIFA Ultimate Team, Madden, and The Sims.

In fact, a great deal of the spotlight will be on Apex Legends in the coming year. Though the game's growth has slowed somewhat since its explosive launch in February, it's now reached 70 million players total. Wilson noted that EA has been growing the Apex team since its launch, and that it was now considered a "core franchise" for EA with high expectations for its growth onto mobile, other platforms, into China and as an esport.

Jorgensen added later that EA is "investing in Apex Legends as our shooter in fiscal year 2021," and in answer to a question from an investor later in the call said that EA is trying to build Apex "as a ten-year business, not a one- or two-year business." This news came alongside a confirmation that the next Battlefield game won't ship until FY22, the year beginning April 2021.

On the sports side, in addition to NBA Live getting bumped to the next fiscal year, Jorgensen and Wilson also mentioned that they will be adding at least one more sports title to their regular annual slate of releases alongside Madden, NHL, and FIFA.

Furthermore, EA plans to have "exciting remasters of fan favorites, including the Command and Conquer game we've already disclosed," coming next year, two unannounced titles from third-party partners, and new projects are in the works at Motive, DICE, Bioware, and Criterion. There's also the already-announced Medal of Honor VR, which is still on track.

Finally, EA noted that Bioware is still working on a new Dragon Age title, but it won't be ready until FY22, beginning April 22. A new Star Wars game is also planned for the end of that same fiscal year.

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