It seems that our expectations, and fears, surrounding next generation consoles could well ring true. Why’s this? Because EA CFO Blake Jorgensen has heavily hinted at what we could expect from the next slab of metal and plastic that Sony and Microsoft are going to bring to market. And this man has clearly seen what both devices can do.
The details came out during a question and answer session at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference in San Francisco, according to TheSixthAxis.
The first tidbit comes from his statement about releasing “ten to fifteen” next-gen games in stages over the next two or three year, wishing to keep “the cost increase for R&D under $100 million” and that “some of that will be in this year, some of that in ’14 and some in our fiscal year ’15,” indicating that not only will EA roll out titles slowly, but they’ll begin this year – signifying at least one next-gen console should arrive this year.
Interestingly, Jorgensen says that the Next Xbox and PlayStation aren’t likely candidates for the backwards compatibility that fans are yearning for – worryingly echoing what we’ve heard before.
“So if you’re a FIFA player and, and the soccer season’s starting in August, and all your friends are playing FIFA, you’re going to want to be on the same box that they’re on,” he states. “So if they all go out and buy a gen-four box if it comes out at Christmas, then you’ll most likely do it.”
He also weighs in on the possibility of blocking used game sales, but also places EAs stance in the matter as very much on the fence.
“Would we like to sell everything at full price and not have a used game market?” he asks. “Sure. But I think the used game market’s a little like any other kind of market where it creates liquidity. The fact is, that liquidity benefits us in some fashion. So if someone goes in and trades in a game, there’s a good chance they’re going to buy another one of our games.”
“I can’t really comment on where the next generation boxes are going to be relative to used games.
His concluding point is a more than a little worrying as it nudges at the possibility of games registering to consoles.
“I will say that the trend in the business is to have that always-on connectivity and connect with a customer, and to the extent that the software identifies a certain customer is going to create some issues going down the road in the used game market.”
While nothing has been confirmed, when the CFO of EA speaks up on the issue – resonating with what we’ve heard before – it’s probably time we start listening.