EA points to growth for FIFA Ultimate Team, 'Apex Legends' and 'Sims 4'

Expect to see a preview of the new 'Battlefield' game in the spring, and even more sports titles.

EA released its quarterly earnings today, and raised its outlook for the full year based on the results. It pointed to titles that back up its live service focus, including Apex Legends, which had 30 percent growth in players, year over year.

The game just launched season eight and a new character, and they revealed the date for a Nintendo Switch port. During the call, execs mentioned that its popularity in Japan helped make the case for a Switch version, and they expect to “soft launch” a mobile version in the next three to four months. According to COO Blake Jorgenson, EA expects the game to pull in over $500 million this year, which is more than the $300 - $400 million range originally projected.

EA Earnings slide

Its controversial cash cow FIFA Ultimate Team mode had a record number of daily active players in December as the figure passed six million, while The Sims 4 has 33 million players to go with “record daily, weekly, and monthly average players in December.” Meanwhile, the combination of Xbox Game Pass and EA Play increased the subscription’s player count to over 13 million across all platforms.

As far as what’s ahead, execs pointed to the next Battlefield title, which will be revealed in the spring ahead of its holiday season launch with “a return to all-out military warfare” that includes immersive battles powered by next-gen hardware. They also referred to the proposed purchase of Codemasters, and hinted at the live service possibilities that can expand across franchises like Need for Speed, Grid, Dirt and the F1 games. EA also just announced the NCAA Football game is coming back, and it’s not done there — apparently we should expect to hear about expansions into new sports over the next few weeks and months, including at least one title that will launch within the next fiscal year.

In response to a question about new Star Wars games — as Disney resurrected the Lucasfilm Games branding and announced a new open-world title with Ubisoft — execs declined to announce anything. They said their relationship with the brand has been “long and profitable” and that “we will continue to invest in those as well as some new experiences across platforms for the future.”