Last night EA announced its financial results for the first quarter of this year, and the figures say some fascinating things about the state of the games industry. There's number crunching below, along with some interesting insight into the workings of a major publisher.
First, the big news, the report breaks down earning by platform. PC delivered $276 million, the Xbox 360 $292 million and the PS3 $267 million. So the EA, one of the biggest publishers in the world, made more money from the PC than from the PS3.
The PC's good showing was mostly due to increasing numbers of digital sales. EA made $342 million from those, rising from $232 million last year, while physical sales made $592, dropping from $647 last year. If these trends continue, digital could outpace physical in a year or two, and when that happens at a studio the size of EA, some very interesting things are going to happen to gaming retail.
So where has all that money come from? A lot of it is from Origin, which now has 21 million users. Battlefield Premium also stood out, selling a surprisingly high 1.3 million copies. Fifa Ultimate Team continues to sell like crazy, making $30 million already this year. Rich has something to do with that.
Not everyone can be a winner though, and last nights loser was undoubtedly The Old Republic. Not surprising considering EA just announced that SWTOR was going free to play . The call did shed a little light on why this happened however. VG247 are reporting that SWTORs subscriptions have dipped below a million. According to the results, 40% of players said they didn't want to play a subscription and might return if the game was free.
So that's the brave new world of 2012. PCs are making more money than Playstations, digital sales are catching up to physical ones, and subscription fees are going extinct. Hmm.