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Will Electronic Arts’ subscription services grow to include first-party games at launch or something else?
The release of BioWare’s Anthem has officially been narrowed down from the first quarter of 2019 to March of next year. Electronic Arts made that revelation during its year-end fiscal earnings call Thursday and hinted its Origin/EA Access subscription service may see the game included at launch.
Chief Financial Officer Blake Jorgensen confirmed Anthem will be launching in March when he stated (via Seeking Alpha) “the game will be shipped in the last quarter of the [fiscal] year and in the last month of that quarter.” Electronic Arts fiscal quarter ends on March 31.
Anthem was pushed to 2019 back in January of this year, though Electronic Arts did not call it a delay. The decision was ostensibly made to give BioWare more time to polish the game for release and launch it during a time where it would receive “more attention” during a “quieter quarter.”
This was likely the right decision given Red Dead Redemption 2’s impending release in October combined with EA’s next Battlefield game plus Call of Duty: Black Ops IV and other titles. A new IP like Anthem will need time to breath, and the heart of the holiday shopping season surrounded by blockbusters is not it.
Is The Future Subscription?
Electronic Arts also touched on its EA Access subscription service for Xbox One and Origin Access service for PC during the call.
“We will introduce a new offering to one of our industry-leading subscription programs, delivering unprecedented access and value,” CEO Andrew Wilson declared.
The publisher was extremely cagey about giving out the details of what this meant as it danced around the details. However, cloud gaming combined with subscriptions was brought up repeatedly during the earnings call as a major initiative for the future. Electronic Arts wants a “Player Network that scales across games, devices, and geographies.”
Meanwhile, Electronic Arts were later asked about the possibility of including major releases like FIFA, Battlefield, or Anthem as part of the EA Access subscription service for Xbox One and Origin Access service for PC.
“I’d just say assume that our subscription strategy … will be evolving quickly,” Jorgensen answered. “I think that’s this year and next year you start to see new things in that subscription program, be it new third-party titles, potentially at some point front-line titles. But clearly, we’ll continue to push that. We believe the platform can do all those things. We also want to add more social layers into the platform and more tools, and you’ll continue to see that evolution going on as well through the Origin platform.”
How this evolution takes place will be interesting to watch. Microsoft has gone all in on its Xbox Game Pass subscription service by adding first-party titles at launch but still supports EA Access. Meanwhile, Sony said no to allowing EA Access on the PlayStation 4 in favor of its PS Now game streaming service.
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