EA Outlines Future For Sports Slate
Sports has been a huge part of Electronic Arts success, and not surprisingly, it will remain so for the foreseeable future. During yesterday's earnings call the company talked about what's in store for some of its sports franchises.
The call referenced fiscal year 2014 (as opposed to the calendar one), which we are currently in and which ends on March 31, 2014. As it's a forward-looking statement, some things could still move around or be announced in the future. For instance, the company's next-gen sports slate currently lists Madden, NBA, and FIFA as the only titles to appear for the upcoming consoles until the end of the fiscal year. However, EA says that more announcements will be made regarding next-gen at E3 in June.
FIFA – EA has re-upped its licensing agreement with the governing body until December 31, 2022. As this maintains the status quo (and EA's exclusive use of the World Cup,etc.), rival Konami and its Pro Evolution series can also keep its deals with individual clubs (like Manchester United), the UEFA Champions League, and the Copa Santander Libertadores. FIFA 13 continued to mark the franchise as a huge success for EA, tabulating worldwide sales of more than 14.5 million copies in fiscal year 2013 (ending in March of this year). This is 30 percent up from FIFA 12.
UFC – The first game based on the fighting license formerly owned by the now-defunct THQ is currently not expected in fiscal year 2014. The title is being made by Madden/NBA/Tiger/NCAA developer EA Tiburon.
Tiger Woods – The franchise was not listed in the fiscal year's forecast, and Joystiq has confirmed that neither the next Tiger nor UFC will be coming out before March 31, 2014 (the series traditionally comes out at the end of March). There is also a rumor that Tiger 15 might not come out at all.
NBA – It appears the franchise is back to its NBA Live moniker (over the cancelled NBA Elite), and it's being listed as a quarter three release for FY 2014, which puts it on target for a customary fall release alongside the next NBA season. Whether this gets delayed again naturally remains to be seen.
Other EA Sports titles, like Madden, NCAA, and NHL are expected to abide by their usual release schedules.