Back at Gamescom we spoke to Battlefield 1's producer David Sirland about how the game's upcoming Incursions mode, a tighter experience with less players and a smaller scale, can "spawn esports" for the game, and now a new financial report for EA's last quarter (ending on December 31) has also talked about the future of esports for Battlefield 1 in a very positive way.
"Competitive Battlefield will open up a brand-new dimension of our esports programs beginning next fiscal year, and by the end of FY19 we will launch competition in a fourth title as well," CEO Andrew Wilson said, adding elsewhere that "we expect esports will continue to drive growth in Ultimate Team as well as Battlefield and other titles."
In terms of when we can expect this, Wilson also said that "we're bringing competition to Battlefield, with online qualifiers set to begin in Q1 FY19. Across FIFA, Madden, and Battlefield, this is going to be our biggest competitive season yet for players and spectators." Q3 FY18 ended on December 31, which means that after this quarter (ending on March 31), we should see some headway on these qualifiers.
It wasn't just Battlefield that was talked about in regards to esports though, as a lot was about sports games too:
"We are bringing some of the biggest sports franchises in the world to the esports stage, and with new league partners, sponsors and broadcasters, our Madden NFL and FIFA competitions are reaching new milestones. The Madden Challenge special on The CW network was the #1 esports television broadcast in the U.S. for 2017, and our Madden Challenge live finals in December drove our largest digital viewership to date for a Madden tournament. On the FIFA side, we just kicked off the Road to the eWorld Cup with the FUT Champions Cup in Barcelona last weekend. Digital viewership was massive, with more than 17 million total views - that's half of last season's total views in just our first tournament of the year. We are also partnering with leagues like the MLS, Bundesliga, and more to bring competitive FIFA deep into their fan bases, expanding our global opportunity."
What's more is that "esports is also fueling opportunities for us in growth regions of the world, driving excitement with our players across China, Korea, the Middle East and more."
EA has made clear their intention to "grow in esports with competitions and broadcast content reaching more players and viewers" (which would in turn "grow our broadcast, sponsorship and advertising deals associated with our esports activities"), but how far can they go in the esports space?