EA has revealed just 26% of its revenue came from game sales last year. The rest was generated by DLC, microtransactions, live service, and mobile.
EA has revealed a number of details about its last financial year via its quarterly earnings call this week. The studio generated $6.19 billion during the financial year ending March 31, 2021. However, perhaps the most notable takeaway from that staggering figure was its breakdown. Despite releasing 13 new games during that period, only 26% of EA’s revenue was generated by the sale of premium games.
The other 74% of that $6.19 billion was made up of money brought in by DLC, microtransactions, mobile, and live service. If nothing else, the numbers prove that the war on loot boxes is having very little effect on EA’s ability to make money from them. Despite ongoing lawsuits and outright bans in some countries, FIFA’s Ultimate Team grew by 16% year on year.
Other highlights from the call include FIFA 21 amassing 25 million players in less than six months, and The Sims 4’s player base hitting more than 36 million people. The continued success of Apex Legends also proves as evidence that free-to-play games are where the real money is. Apex’s seventh season averaged 12 million players per week, not to mention the contribution live service games made to EA’s total revenue.
It just goes to show why on the same day EA revealed its annual earnings, Ubisoft announced it will be moving away from triple-A releases and honing in on the F2P market. The studio’s new strategy moving forward will focus heavily on “high-end free-to-play games” which might mean you have a longer than usual wait on your hands for the next game in the Assassin’s Creed anthology.
All of the above doesn’t exactly paint a promising picture for people who enjoy nothing more than an in-depth single-player experience. However, despite the big studios shifting focus to the industry’s F2P cash cows, the single-player epics will never disappear from the business completely. The success of Insomniac’s Spider-Man games and titles like Final Fantasy 7 Remake have proved that market is very much alive.
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