EA: Digital success helps grow boxed sales

Publisher EA has countered the belief that digital will eventually cannibalise the packaged games market.

The evidence, EA’s boss claims, comes from its FIFA series. FIFA has been a cornerstone of the console market for nearly 20 years but has in recent times expanded onto new platform such as iOS and Facebook.

Yet this year’s FIFA 12 has been the series’ fastest selling boxed instalment yet.

The telemetry data is pretty clear. When we extend our brands in the new platforms, we actually create more users for our packaged goods games,” he told investors.

So it’s actually a very virtuous cycle that drives frankly a stronger brand and a stronger revenue opportunity. And without putting too sharp a point on it, FIFA’s development costs have not been escalated in line with this type of growth in revenue opportunities so it’s a margin expander.”

It’s a healthy cycle for all markets, of course. More boxed sales means more consumers for the digital side of the business.

We’re seeing over 2m people now already engaged in FIFA Ultimate Team. I think it’s fair to say when I look at the projection going forward, we could get as much as 25 per cent more digital revenue on top of the core packaged goods business,” EA COO Peter Moore added.

Last year, we did over $100m with Ultimate Team, which was FIFA 10 and FIFA 11 combined. So as I said in the statement it’s already at $13m, I think approximately 25 per cent on a go forward run rate feels like a good figure for me.”

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