How Coronavirus Is Impacting EA And Activision

"Learnings from this period will forever change the way we work at EA," says CFO Blake Jorgensen


The novel coronavirus (or COVID-19) pandemic has had a huge impact on the games industry, from increased activity and demand for games to delays to game releases and cancellations of industry events. Two industry giants, EA and Activision, have released their first financial results since widespread social distancing began, and included notes on how the companies are dealing with the outbreak.

In an investor note, EA reiterated that its entire global workforce has shifted to a work-from-home structure, and touted its "Stay Home, Play Together" initiative to keep players entertained with special livestreams and giveaways. It said this has led to higher levels of engagement and use of live services.

In a statement, chief financial officer Blake Jorgensen explained how EA's business model is equipped to sustain itself through the current crisis.

"Our results this quarter prove the value of the live-services path we've been on now for a decade," Jorgensen said. "The breadth and depth of our live services give the flexibility we need at times like this to meet player needs. I want to thank everyone at EA for rising to the challenge. People across the company have shown extraordinary innovation, energy and ingenuity. Learnings from this period will forever change the way we work at EA."

Similarly, Activision has shifted to work-from-home, and noted it's covering the costs of testing and treatment with increased tele-health resources. It pointed out that this structure "adds complexity and challenges in some areas of the game development process," but it is still expecting to deliver its planned games this year. It has also made donations, funded therapeutic trials, and added extra funding to its Call of Duty Endowment.

It credits an increasingly digital environment for its game as well as more reliance on recurring income--the kind generated by content like battle passes, for example--as the basis of "substantial flexibility" to handle the current "uncertain environment."

Previously, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick explained some of these measures in an interview, as well as how he gave out a personal cell phone number to raise any concerns about the company health plan.

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