With the PS4 reveal in the books discussion regarding the industry’s shift to the next generation has reached an all-time high. Two recent developments, both involving Electronic Arts, have sparked reaction and plenty of conjecture.
At the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media, & Telecom Conference yesterday EA CTO Rajat Taneja talked about the company’s preparation for the new consoles (PS4/next Xbox). Much of it was predictable with Taneja stating that they had never been more prepared for a console launch and how they have reduced their lineup to a core 15 titles from the bloated 85 in the past. What has caught most of the attention however is that, while making sure to emphasize that pricing hasn’t been set for the next generation, games could release with a new standard of $70.
It would not be a huge surprise if the price of games went up for the new consoles. Accounting for inflation $60 in 2005 is equal to $70 today. What would hurt more though is the potential anti-consumer actions that would be implemented in conjunction with a price hike. Used game restrictions would be made even more distressing.
The other big news comes in the forum of a rumor from VG247 who reports that EA and Microsoft will announce an exclusivity deal at the next Xbox’s reveal even in late April. That could explain EA’s complete absence from the PS4 event and maybe even the apparent abandonment of the Wii U. Though Taneja actually addressed the PS4 event in his talk – claiming that not being there was not an indication of their status on the console – obviously they would never publicly admit to favoring one side over the other especially at this early stage.
The rumoured event will allegedly see a deal announced between EA and Microsoft, that could give Xbox 720 / Durango first dibs on all EA titles for a while. CVG’s sources have told the site that the terms of the deal are not concrete, but given EA’s approach of launching games across all formats the deal will likely amount to timed exclusives, rather than Xbox 720-only titles. Timed-exclusive DLC could also be on the cards.
It is extremely unlikely that any exclusivity would be related to the sports franchises. League licenses have required release on all major platforms. The leagues benefit from the exposure and the publisher from the additional sales. Still it can’t be ruled out that something affecting the sports titles could be in play here.