Electronic Arts’ senior vice president of European publishing, Jens Uwe Intat, has told MCV that the firm is ‘disappointed’ with the market’s performance in 2009, and that he expects it to remain flat at best for the next 12 months.
He believes sales of packaged goods decreased by around 10 per cent this year across Europe and that, with no officially recognised figures, it is as yet impossible to say whether or not digitally delivered content and other revenue streams made up for the shortfall.
“I have to say we’ve been a little bit disappointed. When we were planning 2009 we were looking at market growth of around 5 per cent in packaged goods, but what we’ve seen is a decrease of about 10 per cent.
"But, at the same time, we’re very happy because in this shrinking market we increased our share and so now we are back to the leading position again in Europe, which is a nice place to be. We actually lost it to Nintendo in 2008 but we’ve gained it back and we’ll have to see if we can hold it until Christmas, but we’re confident we can. Across Europe we’re tracking at about 19 per cent market share, which is two points up.”
Intat went on to single out a handful of products that have contributed to this growth, including EA Sports Active, The Sims 3 (which he pointed out has got off to a faster start than The Sims 2), Need for Speed Shift (“back on track in terms of quality after years of deterioration”), FIFA 10 (“we continue to beat the heck out of Pro Evo and are taking 75 per cent of the football market”) and Dragon Age (“with a lot of PDLC to come”).
Looking ahead, he predicted that the packaged goods business in 2010 would be flat at best: “It might decrease slightly, but after the price reductions, especially on 360 and PS3, more people will buy new hardware.
"So, maybe there will be more consumers and maybe the market will be slightly better – maybe stable, or only a very slight decline, less than this year.”