EA planning '10-to-15' titles for next-gen transition, fiscal year mostly 'gen-three' due to EA Sports titles

Electronic Arts has between 10 and 15 titles planned for the next-generation console transition, although the company will still have a "fairly large gen-three" fiscal year due to most of its games being built around sports calendars, chief financial officer Blake Jorgensen said in a talk yesterday.

Speaking at the 2013 Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference, Jorgensen said console generation transitions can be "bumpy" when companies have too many planned titles, which drives up cost. He said that EA is trying to be "receptive" to Sony and Microsoft's final pricing models, which he believes won't be "dramatic."

"We're much more focused now," Jorgensen said regarding EA's scaled-back launch lineup. "We'll stage those in terms of the transition and manage those costs through that. Our goal is to keep the cost increase for R&D under $100 million. And some of that will be in this year, some of that in [2014], and some in our fiscal year [2015]."

Fiscal year 2014 will still be largely focused on third generation titles if the new consoles arrive at the end of the year, Jorgensen said. EA Sports franchises are all built around sports calendars, with release dates tailored to fit these time frames, and most players won't want to wait for a new console to purchase the games.

"An important thing to remember is that next-gen consoles will most likely not be backwards compatible," he explained. "And if you [play] multiplayer on a game, you'll most likely not be able to play with someone on a different generation. And so if you're a FIFA player, and the soccer season's starting in August, and all your friends are playing FIFA, you're going to want to be on the same box that they're on.

"So if they all go out and buy a gen-four box if it comes out at Christmas, then you'll most likely do it," he added. "If they all hold on and continue to play on third-generation, you'll probably not see that box purchase until after the soccer season's over."

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