Questions over Call of Duty exclusivity “tremendous opportunity” for Battlefield, EA boss says

EA boss Andrew Wilson has suggested the ongoing drama surrounding the future of Call of Duty is “a tremendous opportunity” for his company’s beleagured Battlefield franchise.

Wilson issued the comment at a financial event organised by Goldman Sachs (transcribed by Seeking Alpha), where he contrasted Call of Duty’s situation with that of Battlefield – the latter of which, he boasted, was “platform agnostic”.

“In a world where there may be questions over the future of Call of Duty and what platforms that might be on or might not be on, being platform agnostic and completely cross-platform with Battlefield, I think is a tremendous opportunity,” Wilson said.

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Microsoft’s in-progress deal to buy Activision Blizzard for nearly $70bn is currently being scrutinised by regulators such as the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), with a particular focus on how Xbox owning COD may impact PlayStation.

The increasingly messy situation has sparked a war of words between Microsoft and Sony, the former of which has tried to assure everybody it will keep releasing Call of Duty on PlayStation consoles for the near future.

Nevertheless, Sony still isn’t happy about the idea. It leans on COD to sell consoles, and has for years now wrapped the franchise in its own marketing and branding in return for exclusive bits and pieces.

This, presumably, is the sort of thing Wilson is suggesting Battlefield will gain an advantage by not becoming part of.

At the same time, Wilson does also acknowledge the fact Battlefield is currently struggling – going so far as to say the series’ last two entries (V and 2042) have been disappointments.

“I don’t think we delivered in the last two iterations of that in the way that we should have,” Wilson continued. “There’s a lot of work that we’ve got to do there. But at its very core, this extraordinary IP. And what we’ve seen in the world of entertainment is great IP is resilient.”

Perhaps suprisingly, considering EA’s previous close relationship with Disney and the Star Wars brand, Wilson went on to compare its recent games Battlefield with some of Disney’s recent Star Wars stinkers (looking at you, Rise of Skywalker).

“We’ve seen movies not live up to the expectations of franchises. Star Wars might be one such franchise,” Wilson said. “And then you can see what happens when you get the right creative team involved, how they can completely reinvent and grow a franchise. And I think we have an extraordinary creative team involved in Battlefield now who have unbelievable ambitions to own the first puts and shoot space, particularly as it feels to creation.”

Last week, both Xbox and Sony traded words yet again on COD’s exclusivity. PlayStation claimed that “giving Microsoft control of Activision games like Call of Duty” would have “major negative implications”. In response, Microsoft said it would make “zero business sense” to pull COD from PlayStation.

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