EA Reports Strong Digital Sales, Still Has PC Earnings

The logo of the so-called 'Electronic Arts', yesterday
The so-called ‘Electronic Arts’ company has reported very strong sales as it announced preliminary financial results for its first fiscal quarter. And “digital games and services” are outstripping “brick and mortar sales”, with Apple iOS titles like The Simpsons: Tapped Out making a crapload of money for EA. Well if you are a games company trying to sell bricks and mortar to people then obviously the Apple products are going to sell better, silly. Can we have more Bullfrog games you amateurs.

I feel a lot like I should be wearing a pant suit like CJ from the West Wing when I say these words, and it makes me feel very important, so bear with me whilst I preen myself.

According to the lovely Mike Rose at Gamasutra, EA COO Peter Moore said, “Our quarter was notable for the high percentage of revenue attributable to digital games and services… To that end, Apple was EA’s biggest retail partner measured by sales, and that, is a first.”

It is with sadness and much regret that I tell you now that the PC is dead. Apple is now our overlord.

This new information on the way sales are going are strongly directing changes in EA’s investments. EA president Frank Gibeau said, “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.”

But as you can see from the graphs below, the PC is still a significant earner for EA, so let’s hope whilst they are looking at the pretty shiny Apple shinies they don’t forget that we are over here getting annoyed at their DRM like proper people.

Here are some charts so you can chart yourselves.



Usually at this point in the press briefing I’d take questions from the floor, but today I’ll be asking some maths questions to test your ability to read those charts properly, thereby judging your suitability to be in the RPS community.

How many official members of RPS are there, including columnists? You there at the back.

Okay that was easy. How many cups of tea does Jim drink a day? How many times do I forget to put a ‘more’ tag on my copy each day?

How many swears does Adam say at tiny men each day? Approximately? And how many words can John type a minute?

Last one: by how many inches does Nathan’s magnificent curl-headed mop grow overnight?

Get ’em wrong you are ejected from the press room. Thank you everyone, that will be all.

(Thanks Gamasutra. Thamasutra.)


  1. benjamin says:

    The answer to all those questions is one. Discuss.

  2. bleeters says:

    Well, good. If they’re doing well as a company, hopefully this’ll postpone the next inevitable closing-a-studio-they-bought-up-and-firing-half-the-staff fiasco.

    • Leb says:

      I think they do well as a company because of the layoffs

      • Nicodemus Rexx says:

        Well, *I* think that THEY think that they do well as a company because of the layoffs, regardless of whether it’s true or not. :p

        • BooleanBob says:

          I think, therefore EA fires a bunch of people and closes a studio.

    • Shuck says:

      A popular EA strategy is to lay a bunch of people off just before making their quarterly statements so that they can report that they’ve reduced costs…

  3. Synesthesia says:

    Maybe it’s good? Their latest games have a lot more to do with the zynga facebook crap, and apple apps.

    After Origin; Simcity (and the subsequent death of maxis, of course); the absolutely retarded dead space 3, and… another sims expansion? I couldn’t care less about where they go. The farther they get from pc gaming, the better.

    • kickme22 says:

      but….Battlefront 3, Battlefield 4, Mirror’s Edge 2, Command and Conquer…..what about those ;_;

    • Kageru says:

      Acceptable losses since EA will find a way to drive them into the gutter anyway.

      Origin has been a wondrous invention because since it keeps EA in their own little ghetto I can easily ignore. Much as retail did in terms of PC gaming.

  4. mentor07825 says:

    Not to mention the lawsuit that EA lost to Robin Antonick, awarding the man 11 million American Dollars in damages because Madden.

    For those interested here’s an article here:

    link to ie.ign.com

    • dE says:

      This is comedy gold. Reality creates the best commedy.

      the contract […] stipulated he should be paid royalties not only for the games he developed, but any derivative works.


      a jury […] found that several EA games published between 1990-1996 were “virtually identical”


      • mentor07825 says:

        :) it is hilarious. Especially when you consider what this actually means. It pretty much means that, through the eyes of the law, the games are truly identical. We weren’t talking out of our arses saying the exact same thing this entire time!

  5. Dan Puzey says:

    Worth noting the small print there: “PC includes browser.” Sadly means you can’t separate the Facebook pap from a proper game (you know, the ones with all the pixels). It’d be a much more interesting set of numbers if that divide was made clear.

    • darkmorgado says:

      Not *all* browser games are crap, you know. Hell, not even all Facebook games are crap (though the vast majority are).

      Hawken says hi, for example.

      • Leb says:

        you can play Hawken in browser? this is news to me…

        • darkmorgado says:

          Yes actually.

          Or, how about The Room, Runescape, Quake Live, Desktop Tower Defense? Plus HTML5 is practically designed for supporting high-quality graphics and interaction for browsers.

          Broswer games may be a relatively new development, but just because the games are relatively simple now doesn’t mean they’re going away. As broswer technology and internet connections continue to improve, they are becoming more and more viable. It’s not all just Facebook and Flash games anymore.

          • Dan Puzey says:

            No, I take that point absolutely – my comment was a little flippant (and I have and do play the odd non-rubbish browser game myself). But still, the split between “browser” and “PC/Mac client game” is quite a stark one – especially since a lot of those “browser” games are quite possibly being played on tablets.

            The combining of those two figures totally masks any change in numbers for the games that are made for both console and PC (like the triple-A titles) – and it’d be really interesting/relevant (at least to this site’s audience) to know whether “PC games” are growing like “console games” without “browser games” muddying the numbers. Unfortunately the statement that “the PC is still a significant earner for EA” isn’t actually backed up by the data as it’s presented.

          • darkmorgado says:

            A breakdown per-title would probably be better. It would also allow us to see whether their income is being primarily generated by one or two titles and could backup/expose some of the more eyebrow-raising claims they make when they start whining and blaming consumers for not supporting a game as a reason for dropping server support, franchises, etc etc (in a “Tomb Raider solved over 6 million copies and was below expectations” kind of way).

          • Don Reba says:

            Or, how about The Room, Runescape, Quake Live, Desktop Tower Defense? Plus HTML5 is practically designed for supporting high-quality graphics and interaction for browsers.

            Must be just a coincidence that none of these games use HTML5. Well, Runescape alpha does, supposedly, except that it is Chrome-only.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Yes they are, almost by definition.

  6. Wut The Melon says:

    I’d be interested to know what exactly the split for PC is between ‘proper’ games and browser games. We all know that PC as a platform is doing well enough (apparently it brings in more revenue than consoles, even!), but how much of that is facebook and casual games? Because that’s probably a relevant statistic for EA to decide how much time and effort they want to put into PC games.

    Also, as much as I dislike EA, props to them for making these kind of statistics public.

    EDIT: Ninja’d by Dan -.-

  7. lowprices says:

    The answers are, in order: No full-timers except Horace, Three bucketfuls, Too often, Not often enough, 20 x N (where N equals degree of fury), and Infinite.

  8. darkmorgado says:

    “Can we have more Bullfrog games you amateurs.”

    Please god no, after the atrocity they committed with resurrecting Syndicate I don’t think I could take any more. What would be next? Dungeon Keeper re-imagined as a f2p MOBA with spell slots and building space unlocked through “optional” mini-transactions?

    Actually, I might delete that in case it gives the c*nts any ideas…

  9. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Okay, can we just stop with the whole ‘Macs not being personal computers’ joke? It’s getting a bit tiresome.

    • MasterDex says:

      No. Blame Apple. They started it.

    • Sir Buildbot Winslave says:

      But the joke hasn’t been made yet. Strange but true.

    • Contrafibularity says:

      Apple deserves to be ridiculed and shamed at every opportunity. People who pay Apple should at least be reminded of what it is they knowingly paid for, I think. It’s bad enough they’re not held accountable to any laws (and certainly not their shareholders who obviously care about little more than brand strength and profits). They’re Too Big To Jail and they know it.

      Apple started that whole “magic designs born from the sexy heavenly elixir of pure genius” brand marketing crap, too. So if it’s funny and people repeat it, that’s because it hints at their idiosyncratic madness, and the galactic divide between what Apple wants people to think of their products, and what they actually are.

      An “Apple PC” for example is nothing more than an underpowered, overpriced OEM PC put together as cheaply as inhumanly possible by the lowest bidder (see link above) which has its warranty voided by so much as opening the case or looking at it funny, never mind upgrades or trying to salvage your data on failure (warranties which you actually have to pay for extra for every year contradicting every consumer protection law ever). Everything Apple does is to turn people into passive consumers rather than learning users, to increase their control over people and the entire media, computer and internet value chain.

      It’s just hilarious and sad how just a few years back Apple fanboys were literally aping the “I’m a Mac, I’m a PC” commercials word for word, but now that Apple’s high priests have decided to allow Mac users to run Windows “so that it’s like the only PC you’ll ever need” it’s the opposite and you don’t want people to say or even joke it’s not a PC. What

    • bstard says:

      I’m expecting the next gen of Apples to have this nice Fair Trade logo on them, packed with anti oxidants and vitamin’s and Electric Car Ready(tm)!

  10. Cinek says:

    Wow… seems like DLCs work brilliantly. And an actual game price is nearly meaningless for EA profits.

    • Skabooga says:

      Their projected increase in and absolute value of revenue from ‘extra content’ is mildly disturbing.

      • spacedyemeerkat says:

        Yes, and those graphs display exactly why we’ll continue to be fed DLC.

        • Cinek says:

          Yep. Still I find it hard to believe that people spend more money on DLCs than an actual game.
          I mean: I can’t recall even one such case for myself.

          • mattevansc3 says:

            A full price game would be hard but when you pick up games in sales its very easy. Also DLC has started to broaden out, a Brave New World is technically DLC and that’s a full fledged expansion, Crusader Kings 2 has had the tiny DLC such as the shields but has also had three substantial pieces of DLC…scratch what I said earlier, as long as its well made and not overpriced its easy to spend more than a full price game in DLC.

          • darkmorgado says:

            I dunno, I’ve spent an awful lot of money on Borderlands DLC…

      • frightlever says:

        They need to stop making games and concentrate on “extra content”. Wave of the future!

    • Mattressi says:

      I imagine that the reason for low “Full Game download” sales is because console gamers still tend to buy the full game in stores, but will (obviously) download DLC. Even some PC gamer friends of mine prefer to buy the boxed version of a game – I even do it occasionally, because it’s often significantly cheaper to buy one from the US and pay for shipping than to buy the same game on Steam for twice the price in USD (I’m in Australia).

      Another thing to consider is EA’s P2W (they sure aren’t F2P) games are all free to download, so nothing spent on them would count towards the Full Game download revenue.

  11. Tom Servo says:

    So did Origin ever reconsider their spying ways? As I understood it last year, Origin bascially did not give you the option of saying no like Steam does to hardware surveys and seeing what programs you have installed on your PC, etc. I would really like to get Mass Effect 3 to finish the trilogy but am wary of installing Origin.

    • Moraven says:

      The outcry was overblown and they did change their EULA right away. It was not really any worse then Steam and MMO hacking safeguards

      Steam and Origin are going to know what hardware you have so it can install and run your games.

      • Kadayi says:

        Indeed. I recall somewhere someone did a examination and found the software basically scanned the system registry to see what software was installed as well as what the system hardware was. No different than Steam.

  12. Moraven says:

    I want to know how many digital copies they sold of BF3 vs box. Mostly this says is “we released no traditional console/PC releases this quarter, but our F2P games from the fall are raking in the cash using monetization methods to cheat our customers to pay more than the content of a full game”

  13. MadTinkerer says:

    “It is with sadness and much regret that I tell you now that the PC is dead. Apple is now our overlord. ”

    Well at least I don’t have to tolerate fucking Windows 8 on my next desktop.

    But on a more relevant note, I hope non-Origin sales are beating the crap out of Origin. That, or they try something worthwhile and different, like using the Origin infrastructure to resurrect support for old multiplayer games.

    • Premium User Badge

      FhnuZoag says:

      Well, look at that ‘extra content’ bar, in comparison to games downloads. I think the majority of DLC enabled games were on Origin, so it seems to have been a success for them.

  14. Shooop says:

    I’d be happy if they gave up on PC and went to Mac exclusively. It’d mean much less garbage to sift through while looking for shooters worth playing.

    • Cinek says:

      I wouldn’t.
      Cause someone else might come up with the same idea.

  15. DrScuttles says:

    5, 7, Thrice, 56 (though he sometimes invents new swears, making the true total confusing and nebulous), 75, 2.35″. Though it must be said that if Nathan were to shave his gorgeous mane, it would grow back to baseline length in 15 minutes.
    Should I win, I demand either the prize of guest editor one lethargic Sunday in late August where I shall proceed to blather incoherently about Dune at length or a lollipop. Either’s good.

  16. Chris D says:

    After yesterday’s Viscera Cleanup article I can only assume “Nathan’s magnificent curl-headed mop” is a euphemism.

  17. SuicideKing says:

    “Last one: by how many inches does Nathan’s magnificent curl-headed mop grow overnight?”
    I’m torn between laughing and getting creeped out.

  18. mpk says:

    Oh man, now I want to go and watch all of The West Wing again.

    • Mirqy says:


    • darkmorgado says:

      I actually watched it till the about 1/4 through the 5th season for the first time recently. Then there is an immediate and severely apparent drop in quality the second you get to Season 5 to the degree where I couldn’t bear to watch any more in case it tarnished my impressions of earlier seasons, which I’m guessing has something to do with Sorkin’s departure. It hasn’t dated well in many aspects either, as the recent reunion parody highlights.

  19. Artist says:

    So, the PC market blows away Wii + Xbox + Sonybox…?! Man, when Im dead I hope its a death like the Pc market…

  20. Michael Fogg says:

    When I see ‘EA’ I like to think ‘Eat Apples’.

  21. darkmorgado says:

    I find it a bit depressing that EA’s single-minded determination to dumb-down gaming has led to the situation where they label The Sims as “strategy” and Dragon Age 2 as “RPG”.

  22. malkav11 says:

    By “significant” I take it you mean “highest by a significant margin”?

  23. stupid_mcgee says:

    How funny that, just the other day, someone was calling me an idiot for poking fun at The Consumerist’s ineffectual “Worst Company In America” poll.

    Wow! Man, look at those charts! That poll sure did do a lot of damages to EA’s financials…

  24. Iskariot says:

    The charts do reveal that I have not bought any EA games since Mass Effect 2.

  25. waltC says:

    OK, while you folks hail across an ocean from the country in which I rule–er, live, it is apparent that we sometimes speak the same language.

    May I ask you politely to get off the Microsoft market-speak and stop saying “digital games” when what you meant to say was either “online games” or “downloaded games.” Now, let’s examine why I would ask this of you…briefly…;)

    Games on disks, whether they be on floppy disks or CDs or DVDs, and games one downloads from the Internet, are *all* “digital.” That’s right–there’s no difference in them at all. It is a horse-faced prevarication to state that unless you download a game it isn’t “digital.”

    So, can we please stop the bleeding and quit slaughtering the language? Thanks.

    Your friend,

    Alfred E. Neuman