Riccitiello touts EA's digital strength

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While the publisher is experiencing a difficult time with its boxed products - EA's digital operation continues to flourish.

In fact, EA CEO John Riccitiello reckons that if its digital business was independent it would be 'one of the biggest direct content companies in the world'.

During its earnings call to investors last night, the firm's exec team said that the digital business is 'consistently performing in the growth track of 25 to 30 per cent growth, especially over Christmas' - presumably as consumers stayed home with new and existing consoles to download content.

Riccitiello said that even when the firm discounts potential revenue from the MMO category - specifically the upcoming Star Wars MMO, which EA's BioWare is developing - the digital business at EA has high growth margins in the 75 per cent range, with in-game advertising and casual portal Pogo.com a key part of the business.

"Without getting specific, it's a higher operating margin business than our packaged goods business," he pointed out,

CFO Eric Brown added: "[Digital] exceeded our own internal expectations by at least $10m - we saw strength in mobile, and console digital distribution. This is a very early stage opportunity. And there is good opportunity for PDLC in titles such as Dragon Age."

That's when Riccitiello described EA's digital endeavours as "one of the biggest direct digital content companies in the world" if taken in isolation.