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EA Go Free-To-Play After Anthem Fails To Meet Expectations

Apex Legends' success might mean terrible things for players.

Bioware

After a revealing conference call to shareholders and investors (documented on Twitter by Daniel Ahmad), EA have provided an update on their recent releases and mapped out their plans for the upcoming fiscal year. First up on the bill was Anthem, which the publisher officially announced performed under expectations in its launch period. Though they didn't reveal exact numbers, prior to release the blockbuster was expected to hit 5-6 millions units sold in its first month, which always seemed a little ridiculous.

EA apparently confirmed they plan to continue supporting the game and, most importantly, fixing it, but with the main team jumping onto Dragon Age 4, how extensive the support is going to be is anyone's guess. Anthem still doesn't have a roadmap, and its first big piece of DLC has been delayed.

In more positive news for the company, Apex Legends has been a major success, being one of the publisher's biggest ever launches for a new IP and bringing in 50 million players (30% of which were new EA customers). The shooter's success is allegedly going to influence how EA operate in the future, with it being mentioned that they're looking into new ways to market and release games, as well as doubling down on free-to-play elements.

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That latter tidbit is particularly interesting, as Anthem arguably could have been free-to-play at launch, and if it had been, the reception might have been warmer. Still, EA confirmed full-priced experiences are still essential going forward.

One game ripe for the free-to-play market could be Battlefield V's Firestorm add-on, which the company has dubbed "the biggest Battlefield live service event ever." It seems that the battle royale mode has been a huge success, and engaged the audience in exactly the way the publisher wanted to. It wouldn't be too much of a surprise to see this siphoned off to reach a broader audience, especially after the success of Apex Legends.

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Firestorm doing well does pose quite a significant problem though: for EA, it will confirm their hypothesis that single-player damaged Battlefield V. At another conference call a few months ago, executives explained how focusing on the solo campaign and delaying the battle royale element hurt sales, and while Firestorm's recent success doesn't out and out prove that, it will be enough for EA to draw a conclusion from the correlation and push their anti-single-player narrative.

As if it needed reiterating, EA closed out the conference by assuring investors they're only going to double down on bigger, more expansive games-as-service models going forward, and still expect huge things (specifically, 6-8 million copies sold) from upcoming games like Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.

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Writer. Mumbler. Only person on the internet who liked Spider-Man 3