The games business is going digital and the mobile platform and Asian markets are the biggest growth areas, EA Labels president Frank Gibeau has said.
EA recently announced its financial results for the previous quarter, revealing that 76% of its revenues came from digital.
“The business is going digital. Mobile. Asia. A significant part of the business is in Asia. Does that mean retail is going away? No. But it’s not an experiment. It’s what we’re all about,” Gibeau told GamesBeat.
While the large chunk of digital revenues was partly due to the lack of any retail releases during the period, Gibeau believes this is a sign of things to come.
“The quarter was a bit of an anomaly because we didn’t put out any blockbuster console titles, but our biggest retail partner, measured by dollar volume, in Q1 was not Best Buy or GameStop. It was Apple. That’s never happened before,” Gibeau said.
Gibeau said EA’s games business has grown dramatically since the previous console transition, and that a lot of that is down to the growing markets in Asia.
“We were a $20 billion business back in 2004 or 2005. Now it’s north of $60 billion. A lot of that growth has been the opening up of Asia, but it’s also been the opening up of mobile at scale as a gaming platform,” he said.
Those Asian growth markets Gibeau is referring to probably don’t include India. According to its Indian distributor, EA hasn’t seen the growth it was expecting, prompting it to abandon preferential local pricing for PC games both on Origin and at retail.
One of those major markets is Korea. According to EA COO Peter Moore, FIFA Online 3, an online PC version of the game specifically designed for the Korea market, has become the country’s top sports game, both in terms of revenues and traffic.
In an attempt to replicate that success, EA is now planning to release FIFA Online in China, an even bigger market, as well as other growth markets.
"It's hard to frame this one without superlatives: The world's biggest online publisher is bringing the world's biggest sports game to the world's biggest market," Moore said, adding, "In the months ahead, we expect to forge additional agreements to bring EA's biggest brands to new consumers in Asia and other new markets."
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