Citing two anonymous sources, CVG is reporting that Electronic Arts will announce a “key exclusivity agreement” for the next Xbox (Xbox 720/Durango) when Microsoft reveals the next-gen console later this year.
Neither source works for Electronic Arts or Microsoft, so they were unable to confirm the exact details of the partnership between the two companies. CVG speculates that the agreement is unlikely to be an exclusive EA game, but is something more along the lines of exclusive downloadable content, or a timed-exclusive release date for software — similar to the deal that Microsoft struck with Activision for first dibs on all Call of Duty downloadable map packs.
The anonymous sources speculated that the announcement could be for Battlefield 4 exclusive content, or a possible Respawn Entertainment surprise visit to formally announce their first project at the Xbox 720 event.
Electronic Arts has not officially confirmed that they will be at the Microsoft event, however, their chief financial officer, Blake Jorgensen, recently hinted that they might be showing up at pre-E3 events to announce products. Speaking at the Morgan Stanely Technology, Media, and Telecom Conference, Jorgensen stated:
“It was more about timing of our own slate as well as trying to maintain a good balance of power with all the parties out there and choosing when to unveil certain pieces of software… I’d say, between now and E3, you are going to see a lot of stuff, and we are going to chose with our marketing teams when to announce.”
Even though there is little to back this rumor up, I would not be surprised to hear that Electronic Arts has worked out some sort of minor-exclusive deal with Microsoft. These types of arrangements have been very common over the last few years, and it would honestly be more surprising if they suddenly stopped happening during the next-gen console cycle.
At any rate, the Xbox 720 is expected to be revealed this April, so if there is any truth to this rumor we won’t have to wait long to hear it.