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EA's Ultimate Team earning around $650 million a year

"The extra content business is $1.3 billion a year. Half of that is roughly our Ultimate Team business"

The Ultimate Team modes in EA's FIFA, Madden and NHL franchises are now earning around $650 million in annual revenue - half of all sales generated by the extra digital content released to accompany the publisher's games.

Speaking at a Morgan Stanley investor conference, EA CFO Blake Jorgensen detailed the role of digital content and commerce in the improving the company's performance. Jorgensen broke the digital side of EA's business into discrete parts, of which he considered extra content and DLC the most important.

"We've been a leader in driving digital extra content for games, which really drives the profitability of this business," he said. That extra content includes products like a Season Pass for Star Wars Battlefront, say, or map-packs for the Battlefield series, but the biggest contributor - by far - is Ultimate Team.

First introduced with the long-running FIFA series, Ultimate Team is now a key part of the Madden and NFL franchises, too. A retrospective glance back at the EA's financial reports reveals clear indicators of rapid growth, but the company has generally presented that information in terms of percentages - 82 per cent year-on-year in at the end of calendar 2014, for example, or 64 per cent year-on-year in Q2 of the current fiscal year.

For Morgan Stanley's investors, though Jorgensen was more forthcoming about just how valuable Ultimate Team has become to EA's digital business. "The extra content business is a billion-three [$1.3 billion] a year," he said. "Half of that is roughly our Ultimate Team business."

That's equivalent to $650 million in annual revenue, in addition to the revenue generated from units sales of the full games. Assessed in the context of the last fiscal year's results, Ultimate Team would account for almost 30 per cent of EA's record $2.23 billion digital revenue.

Jorgensen also revealed that EA's mobile business is now worth $650 million in annual revenue, substantially higher than the record $524 million it earned in the last fiscal year.

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Latest comments (2)

Nicholas Lovell Founder, Gamesbrief5 years ago
It's part of the same dynamic that is driving F2P: it is hard to find customers, so once you have got them into your game, let them spend lots of money on things they really value.

Fewer games with more potential for long term spend by engaged fans seems likely to be the future of games.
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Arthur J. Mortega Business Developer, Iron Galaxy Studios LLC5 years ago
However, this model is not F2P. EA charges a premium for their sports titles, Madden, FIFA, etc... These titles all include the Ultimate Team experience which further extends the life time value of their core fans. Then the following year a new updated edition is released and again players pay a premium price and then follow through with micro transactions. This model is above the traditional F2P model. With F2P, you are giving away a product for free in the hopes of making a return through additional content/micro transactions. EA has definitely found a winning sustainable strategy for their sports franchises.
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