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EA's biggest retail partner last quarter was Apple

EA's biggest retail partner last quarter was Apple

July 24, 2013 | By Mike Rose

Electronic Arts' first fiscal quarter reflected strong sales -- a good start to the publisher's year.

But it wasn't EA's partnership with GameStop or Walmart that drove those sales.

"Our quarter was notable for the high percentage of revenue attributable to digital games and services," explained EA COO Peter Moore in an earnings call yesterday. "To that end, Apple was EA's biggest retail partner measured by sales, and that, is a first."

Electronic Arts said yesterday that its digital revenues are outpacing its brick-and-mortar sales. Apple iOS titles like The Simpsons: Tapped Out and Real Racing 3 are raking in the revenue for EA, now more than ever.

EA president Frank Gibeau explained that his company is carefully considering the costs of developing for each platform, and that inevitably, "We saw a much bigger opportunity and much bigger audience on mobile and on the consoles for the types of products and brands that we have."

Therefore, EA has been transitioning away from social games, and moved its resources and focus onto mobile and console. However, he was keen to stress that "There's still a very active gaming business on Facebook and in the social channels, and we do participate there with several franchises and services. But our emphasis and focus over the next several years is going to be on mobile and HD consoles."

One of the most notable signs of this big shift to mobile is that the upcoming Plants vs. Zombies 2 is debuting on iOS within the next few months.

The game soft-launched in New Zealand and Australia earlier this month as a free-to-play title, and has reached the number one ranking for free-to-play games in both markets, EA said.

EA is having plenty of luck with digital games in Korea too. The beta version of FIFA Online 3, which launched at the end of last year, is currently the second most popular game in Korean PC cafes right now, based on traffic and revenue.

And the company took the opportunity to announced that the game will launch later this fiscal year in China, Thailand and Vietnam, thanks to a publishing partnership with Tencent Games.

The following charts, pulled from EA's fiscal quarter slides, give a good indication of where EA's digital plan is headed.

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