The AAA games industry heavily relies on franchises, using established brands to launch sequels, prequels, spinoffs, etc. to built-in audiences. Major publishers put most of their money into large scale followups, making it a rare sight to see a company go all in on an untried IP. With such a heavy dependency on established in the current console cycle, some had hoped to see more original franchises going into the next generation. While there are a few notable cases of this in Titanfall, Destiny and The Division, there is still a massive emphasis on established IPs from Assassin’s Creed and Call of Duty, to Battlefield and FIFA.
For Electronic Arts, the strategy going forward is to begin the next-gen with familiar franchises before bringing out the newness.
In an interview with EA’s Frank Gibeau, CVG inquired about the publisher’s strategy with new next-gen IPs. Gibeau:
“We have a broader portfolio, we’ve got a sports business, we’ve got Need For Speed, so we have more to bring over in terms of existing and healthy and growing franchises, and so we want to add a little bit more there.”
EA is also of course heading into the next-gen with Battlefield 4, the sequel to their fastest-selling game ever. Using the proven sellers helps the company establish a foothold on both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One first before pushing newer franchises.
Continuing, Gibeau said that EA were currently pursuing around “half a dozen” new IPs to follow that established base. It all sounds great in theory, but don’t get too ahead of yourself, as his next comments are, frankly, baffling.
“We’ve announced a couple of them, Mirror’s Edge and Battlefront, but we’ve also added some as well. The last time I spoke about this we hadn’t done the Star Wars deal, so there are those games too.”
The president of EA Labels continued,“if you look at a game like Dragon Age Inquisition, it’s a sequel yeah but we’re treating it as a new IP with a new approach. We’re reinventing it.” So by count, three of EA’s six or so “new” intellectual properties are a reboot of Star Wars: Battlefront set for 2015, a tangent of Dragon Age and a next-gen sequel (prequel) to Mirror’s Edge. He certainly has an interesting (read: incorrect) definition of “new IP.”
In fairness, Star Wars is such a huge and all encompassing franchise that creating something new within that universe could ‘almost’ be considered a new IP. That reasoning falls apart however, when considering that the game is a reboot of an established gaming franchise that DICE is in the process of planning, and it is difficult to begin fathoming the reasoning behind the other two games being mentioned. Regardless, Gibeau went on to explain how he sees the games releasing, stating “in years two to three in the next-gen cycle, the plan is each year you’ll see one to two new IP from us coming out.”
How many of those are actual new franchises, we will have to see.
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