Activision-Blizzard beat revenue expectations for the first quarter of 2020, so it won’t surprise anyone to learn that EA did too. But while revenue was still down year-over-year for Activision, the same wasn’t true of EA, which turned in a 12% YOY total net revenue increase and 14.4% YOY digital net revenue increase. The upturn is COVID-19-influenced, of course, and is a result of multiple franchises, including FIFA 20, Madden NFL 20, Apex Legends, Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order, and even The Sims 4.
Like Acti-Blizz, EA devotes a great deal of space and time to its efforts dealing with the pandemic. “Substantially all of our global workforce has shifted to work from home, and our primary focus continues to be the safety and well-being of our employees,” the company says. “Our IT, security and digital platform teams mobilized to add capacity to our remote working systems to scale to a fully distributed workforce. Throughout this time, our studio teams have continued to deliver live service content while working from home. […] With more people staying at home, we have experienced, and are continuing to experience, heightened levels of engagement and live services net bookings growth to date.”
During the EA conference call last night, the company told analysts that current-gen console games can be “upgraded free” for next-gen hardware, which we presume means the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles. As GamesRadar noted, it’s not immediately clear how that will be achieved, though if backwards compatibility is in the cards, that’d be a huge boon to MMOs and other online titles.