One might think that the slumping economy would have publishers pushing games out of the door to boost revenues in the near term, but Electronic Arts is pushing a trio of big game releases into its next fiscal year, lowering its expectations for the current one in the process.
Today, the publisher revealed that a trio of games that it had previously expected in its fiscal year 2009 (which ends March 31) have been pushed at least to April. The affected games include the open-world crime game The Godfather II, BioWare's fantasy role-playing game Dragon Age: Origins, and the much-anticipated The Sims 3. No explanation was given for any of the delays.
Previously announced as a February 20 release, The Sims 3 has been pushed back to June 2. Dragon Age: Origins' "early 2009" PC debut will now instead coincide with the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game, reportedly due in Q4. EA's delay for the game has moved it to the back half of the year, "coinciding with the release of the console versions of Dragon Age: Origins." As of press time, the company had not offered any updated release window for The Godfather II, which had been set for release on February 24.
[UPDATE]: In a conference call with analysts after announcing the delays today, Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello provided some light on the reasons for the postponements.
In the case of The Sims 3, Riccitiello said, "We see this as being one of the most important launches in our company's history, and certainly in the upcoming fiscal year." He added that the delay was called in the interest of investing more time and effort to make the marketing campaign for the game more innovative.
As for The Godfather II, Riccitiello said that it was set to ship in a competitive environment cluttered with the last wave of games selling at discounted prices. EA felt that by pushing it back a bit, The Godfather II would have better luck in the market.
Finally, Riccitiello admitted that the rationale for delaying Dragon Age may sound a bit odd, but said, "Too much quality can make you reassess your options." The game was shaping up to be so epic in scale, quality, and innovation--according to Riccitiello--that EA thought it would make for a stronger launch to have the console versions of the game arrive at the same time as the PC edition. Additionally, the time would allow for extra polishing of the content.