Electronic Arts is taking its time with ‘Anthem,’ reveals potential launch

BioWare’s open-world online action game Anthem looks to be the most ambitious game the studio — and parent company Electronic Arts — have ever released, but we will have to wait quite a bit longer before we can get our hands on it.

Speaking during Electronic Arts’ quarterly earnings briefing, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer Blake Jorgensen revealed that the company is expecting Anthem to launch in the last month of the last quarter of fiscal year 2019, which would place its release date in March.

Electronic Arts previously announced that Anthem wouldn’t be released in 2018, in part because of potential release date conflicts with its upcoming Battlefield game. Despite the crowded fall release calendar containing games like Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 and Red Dead Redemption 2, the publisher is confident in the Battlefield brand and doesn’t appear to be shifting away from its traditional October release window.

During the call, EA CEO Andrew Wilson confirmed the next Battlefield game will contain a single-player component. It had been reported recently that Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 will omit a campaign, possibly replacing it with a battle royale mode, which could cause campaign-focused players to jump ship to the Battlefield franchise.

Though Wilson stressed that Electronic Arts will continue to support traditional game sales as long as consumers want them, he expects the company to increasingly focus on live services and subscriptions in its games. Currently, about 75 percent of the company’s net bookings come from recurring revenue, with this expected to jump to 85 percent over the next fiscal year. With microtransactions almost certainly finding their way into games like Anthem and the upcoming Battlefield title, EA puts less emphasis on total game sales than it did in the past — instead, cultivating a community of players into recurrent spenders now drives revenue.

We expect to hear more details on EA’s future game plans at its EA Play event in June. It’s rumored that a third Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare title will be announced, and we’re sure to see a new look at the publisher’s upcoming sports games. Combined, more than 90 million players have played an EA Sports game in this console generation.

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