FIFA 15 boasting massive online growth as digital blossoms at EA

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EA says that on average FIFA 15 is attracting 50 per cent more players online than the numbers achieved by predecessor FIFA 14.

FIFA 15 also attracted 3.4m unique players in its first day of availability – a record for the series.

Boss Andrew Wilson told investors that overall Ultimate Team usage across FIFA, Madden and NHL is up 40 per cent year-on-year while Ultimate Team revenues climbed 96 per cent. Player numbers of its EA Sports mobile titles in Q2 is up 250 per cent year-on-year at 40m active monthly users.

So successful is this new digital opportunity that EA is, according to Wilson, changing the shape and skill set of our workforce” and combining the art of game making with the science of managing dynamic live services”.

Added Wilson, via Seeking Alpha: The digital transformation is unlocking new potential in platforms, content models, and modalities of play, and with our investments in technology and services, we feel well prepared to continue delivering new opportunities for our players. The pursuit of our goals requires that we operate as one team that is faster, more focused, and constantly evolving.

We are changing how we develop, engaging with players through alphas, betas and other programs to seek out more feedback.”

Digital non-GAAP revenue for EA's Q2 was up 30 per cent and comprised 37 per cent of EA's overall numbers for the period. Digital revenue for the last 12 months hit a record $2bn for the publisher.

CFO Blake Jorgensen said of this number $153m came from extra content and free-to-play titles, representing an increase of 20 per cent. Mobile accounted for $115m, up 11 per cent. Premium games, however, declined by 62 per cent to $10m.

Also on the up are full game console and PC downloads, which grew 71 per cent to $94m. Growth is strongest in America – a fact Jorgensen attributes to broadband bandwidth speeds.

We are seeing that on both platforms, Xbox and Sony, and we are seeing it across all genres of the games we're having not just our most current games, but also some of our older games that are in the catalogue,” he explained.

COO Peter Moore added: Right now with the increased adoption of Gen-4, we're seeing anywhere between 10 per cent and 15 per cent of our net sales through digital channels full game download and as we get into the holiday and beyond, we can only imagine that is going to increase.

So we're pretty optimistic that that number will increase over the next few quarters as per your question.”

Subscriptions, advertising, and other digital revenue grew 47 per cent to $91m, while subscription service EA Access on Xbox One is performing above expectations although little revenue was recognized in Q2, following its launch in the middle of the quarter”.

We're seeing both empirical and anecdotal data that people now who are members of Access and of course, have access to games like FIFA and Madden, who've said that ordinarily they wouldn't have gone out and bought them, are now experiencing them and enjoying them and our belief is the next time around when the games are launched, they will actually buy them,” Moore said. It's turning into an incredible sampling program for us if you will, and obviously the value for money is there.”

Moore added that he had nothing to talk about right now” about the possibility of EA Access rolling out onto PS4 – something that Sony has previously distanced itself from.

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