EA's Ultimate Team business new contributes $800 million in net revenue annually, up more than 20% year-on-year.
We last heard about annual Ultimate Team revenue in March last year, when CFO Blake Jorgensen told analysts at a Morgan Stanley conference that it had reached $650 million - around half of all the money EA made from extra game content that year. Yesterday, Jorgensen gave an update at the same conference, confirming that Ultimate Team is now worth $800 million in revenue.
Ultimate Team started out as a mode in FIFA, and EA has now implemented it in several of its sports franchises. According to Jorgensen, the "real opportunity" is finding ways to bring a similar concept other EA games.
"Like Battlefield or Battlefront, our Star Wars game, which are very similar in the depth of play - we can possibly add a similar mechanic to that. We spend a lot of time thinking about it," he said. "Not for tomorrow, but over the next couple of years you're going to see a lot more of that in our portfolio."
Doing so is particularly attractive to EA because of the "nice margins" associated with digital business, which is the vast majority of extra content and 30% or more of EA's full-game sales. Jorgensen expects full-game downloads to be 50% or more within five years, though markets with lower bandwidth and access to credit make that difficult to predict exactly.
"The good thing for us us that every single percentage point move towards full-game downloads adds to our margin," he said. "It's a great tailwind for our business, combined with the fact that more and more of the extra content that's added to games is also all digital."
Combined, these two trends have pushed EA's gross margins from, "the low 50s to now, this year, the low 70s."