Electronic Arts (EA) is one of the biggest gaming companies, with legacy titles like FIFA and Madden that have had a dedicated player base for many years. Additionally, titles like Apex Legends have found a strong player base with potential for long-term longevity.
In the company’s latest earnings call this week, EA CEO Andrew Wilson described blockchain technology, notably NFTs and play-to-earn capability as “the future of our industry.”
The Future Of Gaming
On the earnings call, Wilson added that “it’s still early to figure out how that’s going to work.” Given EA’s long-time licensing partners, most notably with heavy-hitting sports league IP, there’s clear-cut potential moving forward in integrating NFTs into gaming. How the ecosystem at large operates is a much muddier perspective.
EA has long been criticized for it’s emphasis on loot boxes and pay-to-win incentives. However, in titles like FIFA (whose long-standing relationship with EA now seems to be in jeopardy), Ultimate Team player cards are already in a sense operating as centralized pseudo-NFTs.
“In the context of the games we create and the live services that we offer, collectible digital content is going to play a meaningful part in our future,” Wilson added. “It’s still early to tell, but I think we’re in a really good position, and we should expect us to kind of think more innovatively and creatively about that on a go-forward basis.”
Electronic Arts’ (EA) stock has had a nonchalant 2021 thus far after a great close to last year. | Source: NASDAQ: EA on TradingView.com
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The Current Landscape
Traditional gaming publishers to date have moved with caution around blockchain integration. Ubisoft is one of the first top-tier developers to actually make a move, supporting funding to blockchain-powered Animoca Brands. Another major developer, Valve, has openly expressed having no interest in blockchain or NFT engagement at present time. Competitor Epic Games, on the other hand, released a statement from CEO Tim Sweeney around the same time as Valve’s statement, noting that Epic would “welcome games that make use of blockchain tech.” As is the case with many mainstream blockchain integration, being a first-mover likely brings a high-risk, high-reward factor that leave established players more hesitant.
Play-to-earn games have made a splash this year in the crypto-sphere, highlighted by the enormous success of Axie Infinity. Now, with the growth of gaming and crypto, traditional publishers are likely feeling the heat to be ‘future-proofed’. Titles like Fortnite and CS:GO, along with the aforementioned FIFA, are often mentioned when it comes to NFTs, as in-game skins and collectibles that can be transferrable from one developer’s title to another are often cited as the most common idea for NFT integration in gaming.
We’ll see what EA brings to the table in the years ahead.
Axie Infinity has reshaped how we traditionally view video games. | Source: AxieInfinity.com
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