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EA: Battlefield 4 is "well-positioned" versus rivals, will "exceed expectations"

Do new tech, "innovative" online and "epic" single player add up to a COD-beater, finally?

EA's intensely proud of what it's achieved with DICE's Battlefield 4, company executives told investors in an earnings call last night. Following a strong E3 showing, preorders are apparently "stacking up well" against preorders of Battlefield 3.

"We're very optimistic based on what we saw coming out of E3," chief financial officer Blake Jorgensen observed during the call. "The excitement that was on the floor, the excitement around our press conference, the fact that we had 64 players playing virtually nonstop every hour the booth was open, was a very big positive, not to mention all of the nominations we got for awards.

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"All of that continues to help us signal that we should be able to do what we did for Battlefield 3 in the year which it shipped, our fiscal '12," he said, with the qualification that "I don't want to speculate today if we're going to ship more or less than that. I think we're still sticking with the guidance that we provided."

According to EA Labels president Frank Gibeau, "the DICE team was very encouraged and excited by the reception at E3. We will be publishing the game across five platforms this Christmas, and we're excited about how we're matching up against the competition and what the generation 4 technology on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 is going to enable us to do." (Check out this video for more about the technology.)

"We have a lot of innovation happening in the multiplayer game and new online features," he went on, presumably referencing Battlefield 4's ultra-destructible multiplayer maps and revived Commander Mode feature. "But in addition to that, the single player experience has got even more epic than in Battlefield 3. So we feel like it's a generation ahead of Battlefield 3. We believe that we will exceed expectations, and it's very exciting around here right now in terms of the teamwork that we're putting against Battlefield 4."

I can't say I'm as dazzled by what I've seen of Battlefield 4's campaign - the premise is too familiar, the level design seemingly too rigid - but it's undeniably spectacular.

"As I mentioned earlier, our pre-orders are stacking up well versus Battlefield 3," chipped in chief operating officer Peter Moore. "We came off a very strong E3. As I travel the world and speak to retailers, there is incredible optimism and anticipation for this title. And Frank and his team and, in particular, the DICE team has done brilliantly coming out of E3.

"I think we're well positioned versus our competition in this segment. And our 50 million target, which is what we ended up and what we currently have at Battlefield 3 feels very achievable. So we're feeling good there." It's not quite clear what "50 million" refers to - elsewhere in the call, execs revealed that EA Origin now has 50 million members.

"There's been an amazing length of the Battlefield franchise," Jorgensen added, discussing the growth of Battlefield's digital platform, "or lengthening of the Battlefield franchise, particularly with the premium offering, that we put in place.

"Everyone knows the deferred revenue that we have last year from Premium, it really speaks to the amount of players that are still actively involved with our franchise and continuing to buy both the original Battlefield 3, the Battlefield Premium offering and teeing up, as Peter said, with pre-orders for Battlefield 4." EA has yet to reveal how it will digitally monetise or support the new Battlefield.

What do you think? Should Call of Duty be worried? Battlefield 4 releases on 1st November in the UK, 29th October in the US. Ta, SeekingAlpha.

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