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FIFA 21: EA confirms release plans, despite pandemic uncertainty
EA Sports games currently planned for July – Sep window
Electronic Arts has confirmed it intends to release FIFA 21 and other sports titles as planned this year, amid significant disruption to both sport and entertainment industries caused by the coronavirus.
Both FIFA 21 and Madden NFL 21 are planned for release during EA’s second fiscal quarter, which runs from July until September.
In addition, the company plans to announce another EA Sports title, an additional EA HD title, four EA Partners titles and two mobile soft-launches, the company said in its financial results on Tuesday.
EA said its release plans were subject to possible further disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, or potential postponements or cancellations of sports seasons and sporting events.
In Europe, a number of football leagues have been cancelled due to the pandemic, while England’s Premier League and Spain’s La Liga are yet to resume.
If the Premier League does return it will likely be behind closed doors, while the possibility remains that the 20/21 season could also be played without the presence of fans.
CFO Blake Jorgensen said on Tuesday that while EA was being cautious around what could develop with the sports leagues, it had seen positive engagement from fans even in their absence.
“We know today people are engaging with sports because that’s what they love to do. If you are a sports fan, it doesn’t stop,” he said. “And so the only way they’re getting their sports engagement is through our games, and that’s a huge benefit for us.
“But we don’t know – because there’s no precedent on this – what happens long term if any of the sports seasons get delayed any further. But we do believe that everything we’re seeing now, particularly in esports, is that we can be a huge factor in helping people socialise and do what they love around the sports they love.”
EA’s CEO Andrew Wilson echoed Jorgensen’s comments on a cautious approach but added that he felt “we have a long history of creating spectacular sports content that’s not directly dependent or reliant on the real world of sports.”
EA confirmed on Tuesday that virtually all of its global workforce has shifted to remote working.
However, it noted that its teams have still been able to deliver live service content from home, such as the upcoming fifth season of Apex Legends, and said that the experience would likely “forever change” the way the company works.
With more people around the world staying at home, EA said it has experienced, and is continuing to experience, heightened levels of engagement.
FIFA 20 has now reached more than 25 million unique players to date, it said, and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order has surpassed 10 million unique players.