During Electronic Arts' quarterly financial conference call, chief executive officer Andrew Wilson and chief financial officer Chris Suh talked about a variety of topics.
We hear how Electronic Arts intends to distribute its investment, focusing mostly on massive live services, followed by more focused and deliberate investment in telling blockbuster interactive stories like Star Wars Jedi: Survivor.
A great portion of our investment will go into building games and experiences that entertain massive online communities. We'll then follow up with a more focused, deliberate investment against telling blockbuster interactive stories, and we think that there will be opportunity for investment over time with the extension of these social and creative tools, both for the in-game experience and beyond the game experience, broadly, and you'll see us do some more of that, particularly in the world of EA Sports, in the coming year.
Wilson also mentioned that the launch of Star Wars Jedi: Survivor has been "very strong," with millions of players playing the game since launch. It's "pacing very strongly" against expectations and against its predecessor, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. Suh added that EA expects the game to contribute to its earnings for a long time.
Incidentally, the presentation slides showcase the games to be released and ongoing during the current fiscal year (between April 2023 and March 2024), as you can see below. Interestingly, two unannounced games are mentioned, one EA Sports game and one racing game (thanks Shinobi602 for bringing this detail to my attention).
Speaking of industry consolidation, Wilson expressed a neutral stance on the proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft, and confidence that whether it happens or not, EA will remain the number one publisher on Xbox. He also added that he believes consolidation at some level is inevitable, and he'd love for EA to be large enough to be part of it as a party acquiring other companies.
What I would say is, I don't know what's going to happen with Activision and Microsoft. Again, we continue to be Microsoft's biggest partner... I think we're the number one publisher on their platform. So whether that deal goes through or not is not really material to us, broadly.
We think we have the scale - again back to our Network, our IP, and our talent - to continue to navigate the future and lead the future of entertainment, and compete in the marketplace, regardless of whether that deal goes through or not.
Longer term, you know, will there be industry consolidation? Will there be broader entertainment consolidation? If I was predicting the future over the long term, I would say that's an almost certainty at some level. I would love for us to have the scale to be a meaningful consolidator in that space.
I think that we have tremendous assets with respect to the future of entertainment. But as it stands today, I think we're indifferent as to where they go through or not. We feel like we have an incredible strategy. We feel like we have an incredible opportunity, and whether it goes through a not, we'll continue to be the number one publisher on the Microsoft platform.
We also get Wilson's opinion on the use of AI in game development, explaining the opportunities and acknowledging the fears around the tech.
As it relates to AI I think that you know, again, as an industry we're probably going to be one of the greatest beneficiaries of Ai broadly. I think that it will allow us to do what we currently do more efficiently. It will allow us to actually do more things as we think about being creators. Our ability to use AI to augment our incredible teams and create even more entertainment for an audience that has an insatiable appetite for what we're doing.
And then ultimately allowing AI to help our players and now fans create content in our worlds, represents a significant opportunity for us.
One of the things that we are also very cognizant of is there are also fears around AI. Of course, the fear of displacement of the workforce is something that we read a lot about and we talked a lot about and as we think about every revolution over the course of time, from the agricultural revolution through the Industrial Revolution and on, there has been displacement of the workforce in the near term, and then meaningful increases in workforce opportunities over the longer term.
Our hope is that AI represents the same opportunity, and we're working very closely inside our company to ensure that our people benefit in that way and actually facilitate them to do more things.
Of course, then there is the notion of ownership of data and who owns the output of these AI models. And we have the benefit of having been around for 40 years and having extraordinary amounts of data from which to use. [...] And then, lastly, of course, there's this notion of bad actors using AI. I think what our plan will be, and others in our industry, others in entertainment, others in technology, and others in governments and regulators over time, to help the laws keep up with the pace of AI, so that our consumers, our players, our fans aren't subjected to bad actors and unfortunate Behavior as a result of AI in our industry.
Lastly, Wilson provided a high-level view of the current situation of the Battlefield franchise.
I think we've put together an extraordinary creative leadership team. We've got the team gathering actually this week in Sweden. I had a call this morning with some of the leadership and they're very bullish on how that's progressing. I think we've got extraordinary confidence in that team and extraordinary confidence in the progress they're making against the future of that franchise.
We're not just building a game. We're building a platform, content as a platform to drive live services over the decades to come. And so, as we continue to move through this process and become appropriate will share more about the future of Battlefield, but it is firmly implanted in that first pillar of our strategy, building games and experiences that attract and entertain massive online communities across platforms. across business models, and across geographies and we think that Battlefield is going to be a meaningful part of our future, and will share more as time progresses.
If you're interested in Electronic Arts' quarterly financial results, you can read our dedicated article with all the details.