EA's Q4 2019 report is littered with juicy info, yes I said "juicy" because reading and listening in on some of these meetings with the leaders of large companies and their shareholders give such an understanding as to the way the organisation is moving forward. EA's own report alludes to a lot of developments next financial year in regards to their releases and what they have planned to meet the revenue and gross profit targets they have set themselves.
In their Q4 2019 results report we can see that EA's revenue and subsequently gross profit have decreased from their financial year 2019, with that everything they measure in page three of link has reduced but they expect that to correct this financial year coming. This is of course slightly worryingly and will disappoint investors however there is always a reason.
Anthem was the reason essentially by looking at the comments in the report stating that "The launch of Anthem in Q4 did not meet our expectations." You wouldn't say this is a harsh comment, but it essentially states that it wasn't a success. However, Andrew Wilson, CEO of EA said that he fully sports BioWare and genuinely believes in what they were trying to create. He states that there was and is industry-wide a fundamental problem in how large games like this are launched in todays gaming world.
He states that the way EA release games like this in the future is going to change and is looking to how companies in Asia release their games, whereby they go through a soft launch and many betas and tests which test different elements of the game at different scales. He states the west tend to do a huge marketing build up, with a relatively small closed beta then a release where problems occur that were never anticipated. Whether we know this problem was obvious for years, it's nice to know EA have acknowledged it and are going to do something about it. He also went on to state:
As games have gotten bigger that system isn't working as as well as it has done in years gone by. So what you should expect from us is that it's not just about changing the development processes in the game, it's not just about changing the QA process in the game—although both of those things are being changed dramatically inside our organization right now—but it also comes down to changing how we launch games.
So EA moving forward are going to look at multiple soft launches of these larger games and change how they communicate with players from "presentation mode and into conversation mode." One word: brilliant!
Also in the report EA state that their live services and mobile revenue streams look healthy for the forthcoming year and for this financial year they are looking at the following developments:
- EA are looking into launching Apex Legends on mobile just like PUBG and Fortnite which should produce an excellent battle for the mobile market.
- They are looking at releasing 20 new content drops and expansion packs for their Sims 4 community on all platforms due to the 35% growth they have seen in their financial year 2019 for the game.
- They have a "robust live service plans" for Anthem and Battlefield V, you can read more about their updated plans here as we published their roadmap for Battlefield V here last month.
- New content coming for Star Wars Battlefront II.
- They are also going to be continuing to support their competitive gaming areas, mostly in the sports games they release like FIFA and Madden, whether via their own platforms or across the global esports programmes available.
- And of course their new Origin Services and EA Access programme rollout where you can pay a monthly or yearly subscription to play hundreds of games and get early access to some games where you can get some free game time a PS4 rollout is on the way this summer, and PC already have theirs via Origin.
A troubling year with Anthem has led to a reduction in their revenue and gross profits for this quarter compared to the previous financial year but EA have some solid plans in place and actually, some of them seem pretty good and catered for us gamers. I for one welcome the announcements made, particular in regards to how EA are looking at the way they release future games.