According to EA Sports general manager Daryl Holt in an exclusive interview with Axios, the market leader in sports video games has plans to expand even farther – on mobile, in football, and possibly even with basketball once more.
Why it matters: Sports gaming doesn’t receive much coverage, yet it’s a booming industry with lots of players available, more competition, and gamers to be had.
According to EA, it currently touches 230 million sports gamers and aims to reach 500 million over the next five years.
According to Holt, the expansion will involve “new business models, new geographies,” and a consistent round-the-clock provision of sports gaming material to users.
Between the lines: EA is renowned for its achievements in professional hockey (“NHL”), American football (“Madden NFL”), and soccer (“FIFA”).
EA announced ambitions to return to baseball, college football, and golf earlier this year.
Moreover, it just acquired a Formula One gaming company and extended its contract with the UFC.
Competitor Take-Two is expanding its golf portfolio and has plans to resume producing NFL games after a lengthy hiatus, so the rivalry isn’t resting.
The “Madden NFL” series, the company’s flagship product in the US, is still well-liked after receiving negative reviews the previous year.
On mobile, EA’s realistic sports games do fine, but more casual, quick-play options tend to top the charts.
The company is leaning into that with the recent pickup of Playdemic for its “Golf Clash” game and of Glu Mobile, which has an MLB game.
What’s next: EA Sports’ long-running business model involves annual releases, but much of gaming is moving toward fewer releases that are expanded upon more often — hence the reason there’s always new “Fortnite” content but never a “Fortnite 2.”
Don’t expect the cessation of annual “Madden” games soon, but Holt said EA is mindful of this shift toward perpetual service-related games, just as it is aware that there’s an annual cyclicality to the sporting calendar.
“I think it is an evolution that is happening around the gaming industry in different ways,” Holt said. “How we unlock the big beat of sports into that type of a service, I think we’ll see over the course of the future.”