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EA Talks Facebook Revenues, Zynga Vs. PopCap, Social  Sims

EA Talks Facebook Revenues, Zynga Vs. PopCap, Social Sims

July 26, 2011 | By Frank Cifaldi

The average lifetime revenue from a player paying for content on EA Sports' Facebook games is higher than players of their console iterations, according to the company, saying that social games also lead to console play in fans.

Among players of its Superstars line of Facebook sports titles -- namely FIFA Superstars, World Series Superstars and Madden NFL Superstars -- the average lifetime revenue per paying user is $56, which EA Sports head Peter Moore explained in a Gamasutra-attended conference call was higher than the net revenue the company receives from players on consoles.

Of course, that metric only tracks users who actually pay for an item at least once: spread across all users, that average is actually "in the small single digits," said Moore.

"The great majority of people still play for free, and we enjoy them adding to the ecosystem of that type of game," said Moore.

Revenue is not the only driving factor behind the Facebook series: the company also sees it as a gateway drug.

"We see EA Sports on Facebook not only as a scalable, standalone business, but also as a gateway to bringing new players to deeper EA Sports experiences on consoles, tablets and smartphones," Moore said.

Taking On Zynga

Many saw EA's acquisition of casual game maker PopCap as part of a strategy to directly take on Zynga, but according to company CEO John Riccitiello, that is not necessarily the case.

According to him, based on current figures and an estimate surrounding EA's announced and unannouned projects, the company's combined daily active users between PopCap, EA and PlayFish could jump from a current 10 million to 20 million within a year. By comparison, Zynga currently shows DAUs of over 50 million.

"So we're not Babe Ruth at the plate pointing to a grand slam home run here, but we are telling you that we can do really well in this sector, and we think we've got the right portfolio of intellectual property and development teams on the job," he said.

The Sims Social

The title perhaps most hopeful to EA's social business is The Sims Social. When asked by an analyst during the question & answer portion of the call how many of the franchise's massive existing userbase would make the transition to Facebook (the franchise has sold over 125 million games to date), Riccitiello was unwilling to share.

"We aren't going to put out the stats," he said. "They're highly sensitive competitive comparisons, which is one of the reasons we're also not giving you a launch date."

"It's relatively easy for a competitor to buy all the relevant advertising, say 24, 36, 48 hours prior to a release," he explained, saying that such buys could hurt the company's chances of marketing the game.

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