A top Electronic Arts executive, speaking at an investor conference, hinted that EA Sports could add "a couple of new sports franchises" in the coming year. The company also reaffirmed the label's commitment to publishing NBA Live, which it cancelled for a second time at the end of last year.
In remarks reported by Polygon, Blake Jorgensen, EA's chief financial officer, answered a question about the publisher's upcoming releases with: "For us, the big opportunities continue to be the FIFA franchise, the Battlefield franchise and then the core sports of Madden, NCAA, NHL, adding NBA and possibly a couple of new sports franchises along that way." Jorgensen was speaking at the Wedbush Technology Conference.
And by "NBA", Jorgensen did mean NBA Live, saying EA Sports "didn't necessarily cancel" the game, it merely failed to deliver it on time. That's not how I see things in sports publishing, but OK.
So what are the "couple of new sports franchises" Jorgensen is referring to? Well, of course, one of the most mourned sports video games ever, unfairly taken away from gamers under an exclusive league licence that delivered nothing other than a terrible product, is MVP Baseball (above), made by EA. 2K Sports' exclusive pact with baseball appears to have died last year (though 2K published a licensed console game this year, releasing yesterday).
EA Sports is widely believed to be sitting out baseball until the next console generation arrives. But considering the strength of the label's "Ultimate Team" modes in Madden, NHL and FIFA, and the natural fit of baseball with a card-based game, it seems a no-brainer that they could make money off a deal with the big leagues.
Jorgensen, however, could be referring to the introduction of known new products, such as the UFC game EA Sports is building after acquiring that licence from THQ last summer. He could also mean the reappearance of semiannual series such as Fight Night or Grand Slam Tennis, which last released in 2011 and 2012, respectively. Who knows. I've asked an EA Sports spokesman for clarification, and if any is provided, it will be updated here.
Update: From an EA Sports spokesman: "Blake's referring to UFC and the ongoing evolution of our biggest sports titles into new markets and on new platforms (like FIFA Online 3 in Korea, FIFA on mobile in Japan, Madden on mobile)."