Battlefield and Star Wars Battlefront Could Work as esports Titles, EA Says

Publisher says competitive gaming represents a "huge opportunity."


Electronic Arts sees the competitive gaming scene as an area of "huge opportunity" and one that the company's major franchises like Battlefield and Battlefront could play a role in sometime down the road.

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Speaking at the UBS Global Technology Conference this week, EA CFO Blake Jorgensen reminded people that EA has actually been involved in the esports space for over a decade with its FIFA Interactive World Cup tournament. But looking to the future, Jorgensen said you should expect EA to "up-level" its efforts in the sports world, though the company doesn't necessarily plan to operate its own tournaments.

"It's something we think is a huge opportunity for us because what it does is it deepens engagement in something people love," he said. "The way we've approached esports historically has been at a much more local level. And we're seeing the oppportunity now to really up-level that to really more of a global level. Clearly, properties like our sports properties offer that, but also things like our Battlefield or Battlefront properties could also be open for esports.

"You'll hear more about this in the coming years, but I think there's a huge upside for us around deeper engagement. We don't think esports per se is a way to make money," he added. "The running of a tournament is not really our skillset. We would probably outsource some of that activity. The real opportunity is to deepen the engagement and sell more copies of your games because more people want to engage, get better, and beat people in tournaments."

The latest Battlefield (Battlefield Hardline) and Battlefront (Star Wars Battlefront) games do not feature much in the way of esports functionality. However, a new, military-themed Battlefield is coming by the end of 2016, while just this week, EA teased that Battlefront sequels are also on the way. What esports functionality those games have, however, remains to be seen.

EA's approach sounds somewhat different than Activision Blizzard's. That company recently announced the formation of a business division dedicated entirely to esports and hired former ESPN and MLG executives to run it. Activision already has an extensive lineup of esports-focused initiatives such as tournaments for StarCraft, World of Warcraft, Heroes of the Storm, and HearthStone. In addition to this, the company recently announced a new competitive Call of Duty tournament called Call of Duty World League, boasting a $3 million prize pool.

For more on Jorgensen's presentation this week, check out the stories below.

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