When it comes to mobile, we often see one big game that rules the app store charts and then dozens of copycats. Well, it looks like publisher Electronic Arts is tired of following others, and it’s going with what it knows best to blaze its own trail.
EA is capitalizing on its knowledge of sports games to take on mobile. In recent months, the company has released FIFA Ultimate Team and Madden NFL Mobile for iOS and Android. These are simpler versions of the long-running console franchises that are free-to-play with smart in-app purchasing mechanics. In previous years, EA has tried to sell premium-priced versions of Madden on mobile for around $5 to $10. It is moving away from that, and it is already seeing results that show its sports games can thrive on smartphones and tablets.
Mobile games generated $115 million for EA during its fiscal Q2. That is up 11 percent year-over-year.
“Since its release, FIFA 15 Ultimate Team has reached the No. 1 spot in the Apple App store download chart in 90 countries,” EA executive vice president of mobile Frank Gibeau said. “It is charting above mainstays like Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter.”
In terms of revenue, FIFA is in the top 100 highest-grossing chart on iOS in 111 countries.
Madden NFL Mobile is seeing similar success — although it is obviously bigger in the United States than around the world. The football game is the 22nd highest-grossing iOS game in the U.S., and it is No. 59 on the download chart.
But those numbers should continue to grow and improve as the soccer and football seasons progress. EA is already seeing a huge increase in player engagement, which is a metric that it believes is a leading indicator of profitability.
“Our EA Sports mobile games averaged 40 million monthly average users last quarter,” EA chief executive officer Andrew Wilson said on a conference call with investors. “That is up 250 percent year-over-year.”
The publisher also revealed that its EA Sports releases have surpassed 100 million downloads over the last 12 months on mobile.
Developers and publishers are often speculating about what is next on iOS and Android. Perennial hits like puzzler Candy Crush Saga and strategy release Clash of Clans continue to top the highest-grossing chart, but newer releases like Kim Kardashian: Hollywood are establishing a market for celebrity-endorsed mobile games.
With its EA Sports endeavors, however, EA is proving that it doesn’t always have to follow the latest trend, and it may end up more successful because of it.