Franchises, mobile, and eSports are key to EA’s future
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Franchises, mobile, and eSports are key to EA’s future

Electronic Arts is a video gaming powerhouse. The game developer is one of the biggest names in the market, and leading the charge towards digital distribution. Up almost 40% in the last 12 months, the company revealed a number of clues to its future in its latest earnings call.

Electronic Arts is up by 38% over the last 12 months

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SOURCE: Yahoo Finance

Electronic Arts’ franchises are performing incredibly well. Notable amongst them is first-person shooter Battlefield, which the company’s CEO, Andrew Wilson, mentioned specifically. The games latest version is building on an already successful following:

“The unique player base of Battlefield 1 is more than 50% larger than that of Battlefield 4 [the previous iteration] in its comparable launch quarter, with more than one-third of the players being new to the franchise or new to EA.”

However, Battlefield is not the only property that the company is pinning its hopes on over the coming year. Wilson teased investors with the promise of an entirely new franchise, which could deliver serious revenue:

“At the end of the fiscal year, our BioWare studio will be delivering an all-new [intellectual property], a clean-sheet design with new concepts, new gameplay mechanics, and new stories set in a unique new universe. This game has the potential to fundamentally disrupt the way people think about an action title, bringing friends together to play in an exhilarating new way. We're very excited about the future of this new franchise and its ability to attract a large global audience.”

Another of Electronic Arts’ franchises, popular football game FIFA, is also drawing in larger crowds thanks to the company’s foray into the world of competitive computer gaming, or eSports. Wilson said:

“Our eSports competitions for players at all levels have led to dramatic increases in engagement among competitive players. Through Q3, FIFA 17 competitors were playing nearly three times more than the rest of the FIFA community.  We expect the excitement will continue as we add more competitions, more broadcasts and more content in the year ahead.”


The last area that should make investors eager to see what the future has in store for Electronic Arts is mobile gaming. The shift towards mobile has been transformative on the gaming industry, bringing in hordes of new ‘casual’ players. These are people who might spend fifteen minutes of their daily commute playing via their iPhones, and are a relatively new market, untapped by consoles.

Electronic Arts has an outstanding portfolio of mobile games, like Plants vs. Zombies and the mobile versions of its sporting franchises FIFA and Madden NFL. And, according to Wilson, Electronic Arts was the most downloaded mobile games publisher during the last quarter. Given that mobile gaming is a fast growing sector – in 2016, it grew 18% from the previous year – this is an extremely positive piece of news. Wilson says of the company’s mobile gaming aspirations:

“We are building our mobile games today to have a long life with players through outstanding live services and dynamic content updates.”

Disclosure

Dominion holds Electronic Arts in its Global Trends Ecommerce Fund.


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The views expressed in this article are those of the author at the date of publication and not necessarily those of Dominion Fund Management Limited. The content of this article is not intended as investment advice and will not be updated after publication. Images, video, quotations from literature and any such material which may be subject to copyright is reproduced in whole or in part in this article on the basis of Fair use as applied to news reporting and journalistic comment on events.