FIFA 23 became the best-selling title in the history of the franchise to help publisher EA deliver record bookings in the fourth quarter.
There is perhaps a certain irony to FIFA 23 driving "all-time high" franchise performance just months after EA decided it would be rebranding and rebooting the soccer sim after parting ways with licensing partner, FIFA.
According to EA's fiscal report for the full-year ended March 31, 2023, Q4 net bookings rose by 11 percent year-on-year to $1.9 billion thanks, in part, to FIFA's contribution.
Live services and other net bookings for Q4 totalled $1.6 billion, an increase of 9 percent year-on-year. EA said that quarterly record was the result of increased engagement, and again highlighted FIFA 23—which surpassed the lifetime sales of FIFA 22 in just six months—as the MVP as it delivered a "strong finish to the fiscal year."
EA believes FIFA's lucrative swan song will allow it to carry "strong momentum into brand launch of EA Sports FC," which will replace FIFA when it debuts later this year.
Other notable performers included The Sims 4, which has now amassed over 70 million players worldwide. Apex Legends, meanwhile, saw a 20 percent surge in peak weekly active users following the launch of Season 16 and averaged 20 million monthly active users across the fiscal year.
Overall, EA delivered consolidated full-year net bookings of $7.3 billion, representing a year-on-year decrease of 2 percent. Live service titles accounted for $5.5 billion of that total and full-game sales contributed $1.8 billion.
What's next for EA?
In a series of earnings slides, EA said it expects to deliver net bookings of between $7.3 billion and $7.7 billion by the end of the current fiscal year on March 31, 2024.
It explained those results will be "driven by anticipated low single-digit growth for EA Sports FC and our release of Star Wars Jedi: Survivor."
As for how EA Sports FC will take shape, EA said its new franchise will include 19,000 fully licensed players, 700 teams, 30 leagues, and over 300 global football partners.
The U.S. publisher spoke of nurturing "massive online communities" around key live service titles like EA Sports FC, The Sims 4, Apex Legends, and Madden–but said it's also keen to keep producing more traditional "blockbuster" titles like Jedi Survivor.
"Our business is in a strong position, propelled by strong brands, massive online communities, blockbuster storytelling and evergreen live services," said EA CFO, Chris Suh. "Our efforts over the last year to align our teams more closely with our key priorities has led to a more focused scope of work, which will help us deliver on our multi-year growth aspirations."