32% of EA unit sales in 2016 were digital

EA’s digital unit sales are tracking ahead of the publisher’s own expectations. That’s according to an investor call with the publisher last night, in which CFO Blake Jorgensen revealed that that 32 per cent of its unit sales were digital. The exec said that is just on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in 2016.

Jorgensen said that this is ahead of the publisher’s expectations; it predicted that 29 per cent of unit sales would be digital for the fiscal year, and believes that 32 per cent figure may increase due to catalogue sales.

During the Q&A, Jorgensen was asked about the increase in digital sales – and Battlefield 1 sales – and gave some historical context for this growth. He also explained that this diital growth may have been driven by Battlefield’s PC heritage and that platform’s affinity with digital.

Just to clarify, the 32 per cent number is a trailing 12-month number for all of our titles on Gen 4 consoles, and as comparison, in fiscal 2015, that number was 20 per cent; fiscal 2016, it was 24 per cent; and this year, it’s running at 32 per cent. We thought it would be probably 29 per cent for the full year – our full fiscal year, so running ahead of that,” Jorgensen said, transcript courtesy of Seeking Alpha.

The Battlefield numbers, we don’t disclose those, but since it is a very popular PC title, which north of 75 per cent of those games are sold digitally, you should assume that the Battlefield full game download numbers skewed higher than what we’ve seen, in contrast to last year when we saw Battlefront which skewed lower because it was less of a PC-based title, so.”

Though global, that 32 per cent figure is higher than research from retail trade body ERA says with regards to the split of boxed and digital games. In October, the organisation revealed that 77 per cent of UK consumers preferred physical games.

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