FIFA 12 Ultimate Team Generates USD $39M Revenue Over 3 Months
Excerpted from EA’s Q3 FY12 earnings call:
Next is FIFA 12, a game from the EA SPORTS Studio in Burnaby, British Columbia, which also broke through the ten million unit mark. The innovation that makes this franchise so unique is FIFA Ultimate Team – a digital game extension that creates a massive online community where football fans can build, manage and compete with their ultimate team. In just three months, FIFA Ultimate Team generated $39 million in micro-transactions. That’s 69 percent more than we generated in the same period last year.
DLC and free-to-play micro transaction content was $123 million in Q3, up 86% versus last year primarily due to the continued digital success of FIFA. Specifically, FIFA 12 generated almost $50 million of non-GAAP digital revenue for Q3, four times what FIFA 11 did during the same period last year.
How Ultimate Team Makes Money For EA
It is safe to say turning FIFA 12 into what is essentially a digital collectible card game (CCG) has been a financial success.
A common element in the success of a CCG franchise, be it Magic: The Gathering, Pokemon, Yugi-Oh or in this case, FIFA 12 Ultimate Team, is the volume of packs of cards sold in order for players to ‘pull’ rare and valuable cards.
Every week, thousands of FIFA12 owners spend real money on microtransactions in order to purchase packs from the Ultimate Team store. These packs have a certain chance of including a coveted Team of the Week player. Each TOTW player has a seven day release window, therefore limiting supply and increasing its rarity and exclusiveness.
In-Form Cristiano Ronaldo, an example of a Team of The Week player.
While one can only guess at the ARPU (average revenue per user) or LTV (lifetime value) of a UT player – reports are there are as many as 2 million active UT players, from EA’s official forums there are posts from players who admit to spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars per year on UT – an affluent marketer from Brazil is known to have spent over USD $10,000 alone on FUT12.
As the gamer generation born in the 70s, 80s and 90s becomes more affluent, the gradual transformation of appropriate video games into collectible hobbies will continue to grow.
We’ve launched Star Wars: The Old Republic, Battlefield 3, FIFA, and The Sims Social – four games that reflect the evolution of our business, a traditional packaged goods model to one with a deeper relationship with the consumer and 365-day revenue potential.
– John Riccitiello, CEO of Electronic Arts