We've heard of hardcore customers of EA Sports' "Ultimate Team" modes - spending more than $US1,000 just on virtual sports cards in Madden, FIFA or NHL. We didn't know what it meant to Electronic Arts' bottom line, though.
According to GameSpot, quoting the company's chief financial officer, downloadable content accountes for 20 percent of the company's digital revenue - about $US750 million. Of that, FIFA, the longest-tenured Ultimate Team title, has returned $US45 million in revenue since from FIFA 09 and FIFA 10. (Numbers for FIFA 11 are not yet available.)
Outside of sports, Battlefield 1943, the download only shooter released mid-2009, has raked in $US16 million, that's after Sony and Microsoft took their percentage.
Eric Brown, the EA CFO, didn't have figures on what Madden has contributed, but last month we reported that 35 super users in that franchise have spent $US1,000 or more on Madden Ultimate Team cards - which stock or boost a personalised team for online competition - without ever playing the game online. Brown's hard figures, plus Madden's anecdotal ones, mean Ultimate Team is a fixture of EA Sports' team simulations going forward.
EA Expects 20 Percent Of Sales To Be Digital [GameSpot]