A probable lack of backwards compatibility in next generation consoles may prevent some of EA's customers from making an immediate jump to the next batch of consoles, chief financial officer Blake Jorgensen explained during a question and answer session at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference in San Francisco.
"The reality is, is that fiscal year 2014 will still be a fairly large gen-three if there's a console business that comes in at the tail end of the year, mainly because a lot of our titles are built around sports calendars. And so a FIFA, a Madden, an NCAA, an NHL title, all come out aligned with the sports calendar. And if a next-gen console doesn't come out until next Christmas, most people won't wait. They'll want to be involved in getting those titles early, because their friends are all playing those titles, and because they're being played on a current generation's consoles."
He added: "An important thing to remember is that next-gen consoles will most likely not be backwards compatible... And if you [play] multiplayer on a game, you'll most likely not be able to play with someone on a different generation. And so if you're a FIFA player and, and the soccer season's starting in August, and all your friends are playing FIFA, you're going to want to be on the same box that they're on.
"So if they all go out and buy a gen-four box if it comes out at Christmas, then you'll most likely do it. If they all hold on and continue to play on third-generation, you'll probably not see that box purchase until after the soccer season's over.
"And I think that works for us positively in both ways. It helps us continue to sell gen-three products, and it will help us sell gen-four product as that cycle finally gets into place."
Is EA right? Will you hold off on next-gen if your friends are sticking with current-gen consoles?