During EA’s latest conference call to investors it talked briefly about the kind of money it was making in the social game sphere. EA said the average money spent per paying user over the user’s entire lifetime (specifically in the Superstar lineup) was $56. That’s surprisingly a considerable amount of money, considering social games usually see player numbers in the tens of millions.
Of course, EA’s definition of lifetime spending is currently unclear, so that value may be subject to change. Unfortunately, that figure doesn’t show how many users are actually paying, which would reveal the kind of money EA is really making on these games. Luckily, we can start to derive that amount using various information sources available.
A new study by Visa’s PlaySpan and VG Market Study came out showing that roughly one third of all players spend money on virtual games. That gives a rough number on how many players are willing to pay.
We can pull some revenue numbers out on these games. If we look specifically at the Superstar lineup of games (as that is what our $56 figure applies to), data collection website AppData shows roughly 3.8 million users for those games (Madden Superstars, Fifa Superstars, and World Series Superstars). If one third of those users are paying customers, it means 1.26 million users that are buying virtual goods.
Finally – by putting these numbers together we can see that EA is making roughly $70.56 million from the Superstars lineup. A good chunk of change to be sure, considering all three of those products probably cost less money and time to develop combined than a single AAA title.
How does that stack up against EA’s overall revenue though? Well, EA reported their yearly revenue at approximately $1 billion right now. That means the money coming from their social games only accounts for 7% of revenue. However, that figure represents lifetime revenues, not yearly, so 7% is still inflated.
Anyone still want to contradict Activision Publishing’s CEO and his statement regarding consoles maintaining their position as the driving factor behind the industry? I thought not.