Apex Legends hits 70 million players, Electronic Arts is 'doubling down' on live games

(Image credit: Respawn Entertainment)

Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson said the company enjoyed "an excellent second quarter" in today's earnings release, driven by growth in FIFA Ultimate Team, Madden Ultimate Team, and The Sims 4, as well as the ongoing success of Apex Legends, which has now achieved a total of 70 million players over its life.

FIFA Ultimate Team's unique player count increased 22 percent year-over-year, while the Madden Ultimate Team player count is up 19 percent. The Sims 4 monthly average player total also somehow continues to grow, and is up more than 40 percent year-over-year. Digital net bookings—defined by EA as "the net amount of products and services sold digitally"—hit $3.883 billion for the past 12 months, an eight percent year-over-year increase that accounts for 78 percent of total (digital and physical) net bookings.

It's all very business-y, but the bottom line is that EA is making the bucks, and it sees live games as a big part of its future success.

"The strong results this quarter illustrate the power of our live services and our core franchises. Strength in Ultimate Team, The Sims 4 and FIFA Online drove live services performance above our expectations," COO and CFO Blake Jorgensen said. 

"Looking ahead, we are doubling down on live services combined with our core franchises. We’re investing in games that people play for longer and engage with much more deeply. This focus will continue to drive growth and profitability for the company through the remainder of this year and beyond."

Electronic Arts also announced today that after a long absence, its games—including Apex Legends, FIFA 20, and Battlefield 5—are heading back to Steam.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.