Rapidly changing publisher EA has revealed that as well as shedding a huge 1,500 jobs, the company has also ditched a dozen announced projects to focus on its established and successful franchises.
The admission flies in the face of statements made by CEO John Riccitiello earlier this year where the outspoken exec claimed that EA had previously been too reliant on licenses and franchises and intended in future to focus on create its own new IP.
The result has been a string of new franchises such as Dead Space, Mirror’s Edge, Spore, Zubo, Brutal Legend and Henry Hatsworth. The critical and commercial success of these new ventures has been mixed to say the least, though there have been notable successes.
However, question marks now hang over every non-established EA series.
Electronic Arts has a core slate of games label and sports franchises that we will iterate on a either annual or bi-annual basis,” Riccitiello stated. And I think you know what those major titles are – all of them are selling or have sold in their most recent edition 2m units or more.
After that, we’ve got The Sims and Hasbro, and frankly anything that doesn’t measure up to looking like it can pencil out to be in very high profit contributor and high unit seller got cut from our title slate from this point going forward.
We can only speculate as to what series are currently safe from the EA knife – Battlefield, FIFA, Madden, The Sims, Need for Speed, Command & Conquer, Mass Effect, Harry Potter and Mercenaries.
But can we take the news as confirmation that Mirror’s Edge 2 is no more? Has the future of Brutal Legend and Saboteur been curtailed? Can we call this a very significant strategic u-turn?