As reported by Gamesindustry.biz, John Riccitiello, EA CEO, has stated EA's commitment to the next-gen consoles in an earnings call – stating that EA has an $80 million planned investment into next-gen consoles for its 2013 financial year (that runs from 1 April 2012 to 31 March 2013).
"We intend to invest $80 million in gen-4 console development in fiscal 2013," he says. "We are strong believers that console will return to strong growth, representing great opportunity, one that is in lockstep with our digital plan."
Interestingly, EA has admitted that its seen a decline in the selling of packaged goods (games on disc) but has seen a 40 percent growth in digital sales. Committing to a console, which is traditionally a 'packaged goods' kind of platform, seems an interesting move. Unless, of course, there are things we don't know about how games are going to be delivered to these platforms.
Furthermore, and investment of $80 million sounds like a lot, but comparing this with the costs of creating games, it's actually not that much at all. No details of what games we can expect and when we can expect them have been mentioned, but Epic Games' Cliff Bleszinski has tweeted that the company has “just the engine for [EA]” - referring, obviously, to the Unreal Engine 4 which only a select number of developers have seen.
All this obviously means that new consoles are further confirmed to be a reality, and they may be coming sooner than Microsoft or Sony are letting on.