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EA CEO Andrew Wilson addresses acquisition rumors

EA had a successful first quarter, and CEO Andrew Wilson knows it. But an acquisition isn't entirely out of the realm of possibility.

During Electronic Arts' earnings call for the first quarter of 2022, CEO Andrew Wilson briefly touched on the possibility of the games publisher being acquired. 

There've been several acquisitions of game developers and publishers in the last few years, many of them from Microsoft and Embrace Group. In May, it was reported that the Battlefield and FIFA publisher was in talks to be acquired by NBCUniversal, but the deal fell through due to disagreements over price and structure. 

Wilson's answer on the matter both seemed to dismiss that May story, and stressed the success of EA as a "standalone" developer and publisher. "We are in an incredible position," said Wilson. Making sure to hype up EA's successful first quarter, the CEO declared that the company was "soon to be the largest stand-alone independent developer and publisher of interactive entertainment in the world."

That said, he also said that he'd be open to the possibility of an acquisition if an offer arose. 

The next generation of EA customers

Much of EA's success was thanks to its live service games, particularly sports titles such as FIFA 22 and F1 2022. The publisher will continue to release live service games and cultivate communities, such as the upcoming Skate. In July, EA revealed the title will be free-to-play and employ a live service model rather than being a full-priced title.

Earlier in the earnings call, Wilson called Gen Z and Gen Alpha the "leading generation" for media consumption, and briefly touched on the efforts being made by the publisher to "show up" for that demographic of players via Skate. A "significant focus" has been put on how to connect with younger audiences, according to chief operations officer Laura Miele.

"Skateboarding is kind of a cultural language for many generations. It transcends so many things, certainly geography and as we think about the ability to bring a global community of youth together through the language of skateboarding," explained Wilson. 

Loot boxes have already been confirmed to not be coming to the new Skate, but monetization will come via in-game cosmetics, and possibly a season pass. Whether younger players will roll up for this new Skate, and if EA will convince those players to form the community it wants from them, is another matter entirely. 

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