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EA Details Strong Digital Growth,  Sims Social  Numbers

EA Details Strong Digital Growth, Sims Social Numbers

September 7, 2011 | By Frank Cifaldi

EA's new focus on digital titles and games as services is only starting to pay off for the company, CFO Eric Brown said at the Citi 2011 Tech Conference on Wednesday.

Gamasutra previously reported on Brown's commentary on upcoming subscription-based MMORPG Star Wars: The Old Republic, though in further commentary, he spoke to the success of the company's current and upcoming casual games, freemium social games, and downloadable content for its console titles.

On EA Sports' Online Pass

This year, EA introduced its Online Pass, which directly combats the used games market by offering one-time use codes to play its EA Sports games online. Those obtaining used copies of the game must purchase an additional $10 pass from EA to play online.

According to Brown, the revenues from the program have not been terribly substantial for the company, though the profit margins are of course significant.

"The revenues we derive from that haven't been dramatic. I'd say they're in the $10-$15 million range since we initiated the program," he said. While the sales are not "dramatic" in volume, he pointed out that it is all "found revenue" that comes from users who previously "consumed bandwidth for free."

On PopCap and Playfish

"They're two different companies, both leaders in different regards," Brown said. Playfish offers expertise in social network gaming on Facebook, while PopCap has a peerless record of quality casual game releases that span online and mobile platforms.

"We're very excited about further leveraging industry leading intellectual properties like Plants vs. Zombies from PopCap."

The Sims Social

The company recently launched The Sims Social, a major launch for EA's social business based on a franchise that has sold tens of millions of units at retail.

According to EA, The Sims Social sees about 7.8 million daily active users, placing it third on the charts (about 200k shy of Zynga's Farmville at number two).

Brown says the ratio of daily to monthly active users is "quite high," and that players play an average of three times a day in 15 to 20 minute sessions.

"What has made [The Sims Social] a success so far is the Playfish expertise... combined with the creative excellence of the core Sims team," said Brown. "Those teams work together exceptionally well."

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