With many people still stuck at home during the coronavirus pandemic, video games have become bigger gathering places. A growing number of people are using game platforms to watch movies, attend concerts and just hang out with friends. In-game birthday parties and graduations also are becoming more common.
Next-generation consoles from Sony Corp. and Microsoft Corp. due later this year also are expected to generate more buzz around gaming. They’re designed to offer better graphics and faster gameplay.
“We are evaluating all possibilities,” Miele said. “New hardware and platforms will clearly enable new services.”
At Thursday’s EA Play virtual expo, which replaced the typical physical event in Los Angeles, the company highlighted its upcoming games for the new consoles. With Madden NFL 21 and FIFA 21 sports games, players will be able to upgrade to next-generation console versions for free. And Electronic Arts is making its games available on online services like Steam and Google Stadia.
The company also announced it was bringing back the cult favorite Skate game after a decade.
Its Apex Legends battle game that’s coming to Steam in the fall will allow for cross-play, letting console owners play with people using PCs. Star Wars: Squadrons, launching in October, also allows for cross-play support.
Future release dates may hinge on how long the pandemic lasts. With some 6,000 employees working from home, Electronic Arts has managed to roll out several titles and updates without a hitch. But now it’s trying to figure out how to reconfigure its offices so employees could eventually return, as the gaming industry thrives on in-person collaboration.
“Our future slate is looking strong,” Miele said. “But we are watching it, and we will prioritize the well-being and health of our teams. If we’d need to move the dates, we will, but we haven’t announced anything yet.”