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EA looks to revamp its mobile biz to tap into an 'unbelievable exponential opportunity'

EA looks to revamp its mobile biz to tap into an 'unbelievable exponential opportunity'

November 9, 2020 | By Alissa McAloon

"There are a lot of games that come to app stores on an annualized basis, we are seeing that where you build games with great teams around trusted IP that offer unbelievable experience and value to players that monetization opportunity is very, very strong."

- EA CEO Andrew Wilson walks through the company's enhanced focus on mobile.

Like other major leaders in the video game space, Electronic Arts is hard at work plotting its own expansion into mobile games. The company is no stranger to the platform, and has heavy hitters like a mobile Apex Legends and future FIFA titles already on the way.

But speaking in a recent earnings call, EA CEO Andrew Wilson explored how a recent hire at the company is looking to deepen those mobile efforts, either through "licensing or co-development or co-publishing or, in some cases, acquisition."

That recent hire is Jeff Karp, a veteran EA exec that left Big Fish Games over the summer to instead head up EA Mobile and, according to Wilson, reassess and revamp EA's future on the platform.

Wilson breaks these down into three core assessments: EA's game portfolio is brimming with mobile potential, several key franchises have "unbelievable exponential opportunity" in worldwide markets, and EA could benefit from a heavier focus on external development partners.

"We have an existing portfolio of games that are tremendously profitable," explains Wilson. "But have significant more opportunity for engagement and monetization than we're presently doing with some changes to the organization and some changes to how we run those live services."

"[Karp has] already started to work with leaders and we brought a number of new leaders from across the mobile industry into our company and they are going through each one of our franchises and looking for opportunities to deliver new content, new experiences and new services to players that will drive higher engagement and result in monetization in our existing franchises."

Wilson notes that one benefit of Karp's years away from Electronic Arts is that he was able to build expertise through work with a number of mobile centric studios and companies, and now apply those learnings back into EA's future mobile plans.

"[Karp] also has a tremendous network out there in the mobile sphere," continues Wilson."There are a lot of great developers out there who have really great games and really great game mechanics and lot of experience and expertise, but they do not have the IP to build their games around or the marketing muscle to really drive acquisition and what is becoming an increasingly competitive market. 

"Jeff is also doing a lot of outreach with external developers and publishers and looking at ways that we could partner differently with them with our slate of IP and with our marketing muscle, either in the context of licensing or co-development or co-publishing or, in some cases, acquisition."

"I've not been more excited for a number of years about what I think we're going to be able to achieve in our mobile business," continues Wilson. "And again, what we know is mobile is tremendously competitive."

EA is, of course, not the only major game presence looking to expand its reach on mobile. In its own earnings call a few weeks back, Activision Blizzard expressed its interest in bringing all of its franchises to mobile in due time, calling mobile its all-around "biggest opportunity."

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