One look at EA fourth-quarter and full-year financial results tells us one big thing: downloads and mobile platforms are the future.
Digital sales were up 47 per cent year-on-year. In real numbers, that’s $US1.2 billion in digital revenue. That growth was instrumental in helping the company pull away from the loss it experienced in the previous year. EA stated that net income climbed from a loss of $276 million to a profit of $76 million. That’s not much, but given the stresses facing games publishers at the moment, any profit is a good thing.
Other highlights include:
– EA’s Steam rival, Origin, is up to 11 million subscribed users.
– Play4Free brands (including the Simpsons Farmville Clone, Tapped Out) are generating an average of nearly $2 million (non-GAAP) per week.
– Of the more traditional games EA attributes the good results to four major titles: Mass Effect 3, FIFA Street 4, SSX and Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.
For the 2013 fiscal year, EA’s projecting net revenues of about $4.075 billion and GAAP loss per share between $0.36 and $0.16.
I'm happy that Kingdoms of Amular is on that list, especially considering that it goes against the video game industry's obsession with multiplayer. Also, I believe that that Origin subscription number is bias; if anybody had an EA Account before Origin was released, the account automatically changed to an Origin account. 11 million people don't actually USE Origin (which makes me feel a bit happier).
I agree – as much as my feelings for Amalur are mixed (it should have been even better, given Rolston, Salvatore and McFarlane were the creatives behind it), it was a very high quality game and EA deserved a hit for risking a new IP – especially after two other risky new IPs in Shadows of the Damned and Alice Madness Returned failed on them. I am always glad to see risk rewarded with the big publishers.
I also agree on Origin – I'm pretty sure I have four accounts despite never using any of them because EA forces me to sign up for all its iPad games. But then again I have a problem with Steam being a virtual monopoly, so I hope Origin's real numbers pick up.