EA CFO Blake Jorgensen reckons the publisher should get more credit for how it handles its studio acquisitions, in a line that's likely to send chills down the spine of anyone still reeling over the loss of countless studios axed by the company.
During yesterday's financial report (transcribed here (opens in new tab)), Jorgensen expressed praise for the publisher's recent $1.2 billion acquisition of racing sim developer Codemasters (opens in new tab). The studio's latest F1 title is currently exceeding sales expectations, a success Jorgensen puts down to how quickly Codemasters was able to integrate with EA's publishing and marketing efforts.
"It's to the testament of an exceptional game development team that was able to produce the right assets, to produce the right marketing materials to help us drive this business and the teams working together," said Jorgensen. "And you know what? I think we don't get enough credit for that."
The real win for EA is Apex Legends developer Respawn. Apex Legends brought in over 13 million weekly active players last season, with EA forecasting "outstanding growth" for the battle royale going forwards. The publisher would, of course, like to take its share of the credit for this boom.
"Respawn has obviously driven the amazing development of Apex, but they've partnered with us extremely well to drive what is now—it's coming up to almost $2 billion in business over two years. That's unheard of in our industry. And I'm not sure we get enough credit for it."
This does, of course, immediately ring hollow in the light of how many studios EA has shuttered in even its own recent history. Dead Space may be getting a remake (opens in new tab), but it was only four years ago that series creator Visceral Games was closed by the publisher. That's not to mention sore spots like Command & Conquer creator Westwood, or Pandemic Studios getting shut down before it could realise its vision for Star Wars Battlefront 3 (opens in new tab).
Even EA's so-called poster child, Respawn, has arguably been done dirty by the publisher at times. Apex Legends may have hit hard, but it's hard to forget Titanfall 2's infamous launch—with EA choosing to release the less established shooter right between its own Battlefield 1 and Activision's Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. Predictably, Titanfall 2 failed to meet sales expectations (opens in new tab).
EA might be doing well by its acquired studios right now. But there's still plenty reason to be wary things won't go south should F1 or Apex start failing to meet expectations.