EA Could Get Into Betting, But It’s Early Days

Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson shared some high level details on where the company is headed in the future, and betting could be on the horizon–but not anytime soon.

During a “fireside chat” with the company’s top management, Wilson said EA’s goal on a longer timeline is to reach players where they are as part of a bigger ambition to expand the company’s reach.

“On a slightly longer term time horizon, there are another couple of vectors we think will drive growth,” Wilson said. One of these is betting in some capacity, Wilson said.

“The skills and capabilities and experience that we have over 40 years in this industry has broad application to a great many industries,” he said. “You should think about the future of the consumption of sport. You should think about the future of consumption of entertainment. You should think about how we engage players throughout their daily lives with other things that are interesting to them that adjoin their gaming experience–one of those things might be betting.”

“These are on a longer-term time horizon but we have a number of projects incubating inside the company right now as we think about that one that five-year-plus time horizon.”

Wilson added that another growth vector for EA is its incredibly ambitious Atlas cloud service, which the publisher has more than 1,000 developers currently working on. Specifics about Atlas remain mysterious, but Wilson said the company will share this service with not only EA’s internal teams, but also outside studios. Additionally, EA could offer Atlas to other industries, markets, and categories outside of gaming, Wilson said.

On the subject of betting, EA has been criticized in the past for how some of its games use loot boxes, with some politicians and industry-watchers commenting that EA has created virtual slot machines. Whatever the case, these types of mechanics are incredibly lucrative already for EA. The company has made nearly $800 million from microtransactions–including Ultimate Team mode–already this year.

Betting on video games is a growing industry. Numerous Las Vegas bookmakers are currently taking bets on various competitive video games. It only makes sense that EA–and presumably other top publishers–would be looking at betting a growth category as they look to the future.

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