Tidbits From Today’s Electronic Arts Earnings Call

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#51 Posted by fishmicmuffin (1041 posts) -
@Grimluck343 said:

TOR has 1.7 million active users, with 300,000 users having “opted out” (read: quit) or not started at all. A “majority” of the 1.7 million active users of TOR are paying subscribers.

...What the fuck is an active user if they aren't paying?

People still using their free month of play time.
#52 Posted by Turambar (6808 posts) -
@SagaciousJones said:

Aren't all of these statistics cut off after the fiscal quarter? Does that mean that TOR had 1.7 Million subscribers on December 31st, or is that an up-to-date estimate?

While I know every company have different dates for fiscal years, most companies end their year in the middle or end of January, so even if its based on the fiscal year (probably is), it's gonna be more up to date than December 31st.
#53 Posted by Grimluck343 (1149 posts) -

@fishmicmuffin said: duh, that makes sense. I'll edit your answer into my post.

#54 Posted by Kordesh (230 posts) -
Origin now has 9.3 million users.

That number by itself isn't very interesting; I imagine that's almost entirely BF3 and TOR owners. I'd love to see the average number of titles per account.

Actually, probably even more inflated than that. They likely just included everyone who had an EA account that was rolled over to Origin as an "Origin User".

#55 Edited by SagaciousJones (142 posts) -

@Turambar said:

While I know every company have different dates for fiscal years, most companies end their year in the middle or end of January, so even if its based on the fiscal year (probably is), it's gonna be more up to date than December 31st.

Their fiscal year cut-off was definitely December 31st.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/electronic-arts-reports-q3-fy12-financial-results-2012-02-01

Electronic Arts Inc. EA -0.73% today announced preliminary financial results for its third fiscal quarter ended December 31, 2011.

#56 Posted by Turambar (6808 posts) -
@SagaciousJones said:

@Turambar said:

While I know every company have different dates for fiscal years, most companies end their year in the middle or end of January, so even if its based on the fiscal year (probably is), it's gonna be more up to date than December 31st.

Their fiscal year cut-off was definitely December 31st.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/electronic-arts-reports-q3-fy12-financial-results-2012-02-01

Electronic Arts Inc. EA -0.73% today announced preliminary financial results for its third fiscal quarter ended December 31, 2011.

Ah, fair enough.  In that case, the 300k drop off statistic is rather interesting considering the 30 day free trial bit hasn't really ended for anyone at that point, even those that preordered and started the game a week earlier, and is probably more indicative of people that have not activated their subscription than those that dropped it.  We'll see how things turn next month I guess.
#57 Edited by EthanielRain (882 posts) -

@cmblasko said:

"EA claims to have had 11% of the first-person-shooter “market” prior to Battlefield 3. Now, it claims to have 23%."

Would really like to know how these kind of numbers are determined.

AFAIK it's based on the unique active users (monthly) reported by Sony, Microsoft, Valve, etc. (and obviously EA has the data for their own games to compare to). That information is available & seems like the logical way to do it; but if that is the case, the question then becomes how they factor in users of multiple titles (ie, 87m users reported playing CoD, EA has 23m playing BF & claim 23% market share...even though 20m of the BF players are also playing CoD). I dunno, just a stab in the dark. Making this post useless? ^_^

#58 Posted by Beluga (17 posts) -

@Dark_Lord_Spam said:

So I see EA's bitch-fit handling of its properties on Origin has panned out well for them. Huh.

I get the desire to have everything in one place, but it’s hard to blame EA for Origin — distributing their games using a platform they control is better. Steam is great from the consumers’ perspective (at least in the short run), but I’m sure the publishers are wary of the amount of digital distribution marketshare Valve has, and the amount of control that gives them (say, to unilaterally raise their cut). EA doesn’t have to pay anything to use Origin, and they have complete control over how it works.

Valve obviously deserves a lot of good will, but who’s to say they’ll continue acting this way forever? And for that matter, how many Steam fans would remain happy with their hegemony if Valve was acquired by, say, Microsoft or Amazon?

#59 Posted by mordukai (7157 posts) -

@patrickklepek said:

@Paul_Is_Drunk said:

I'm confused on the TOR numbers. If I remember correctly, they stated that they needed 500k in steady subscribers to be profitable. The 1.7m is much higher than that. Almost 3x. So why aren't they very excited?

It also contradicts what I've read elsewhere, but who's to say that other information is valid?

A "majority" are paying, not 1.7 million. It's more than 500,000, but they need to maintain and expand that to recoup. Being profitable upfront doesn't mean the gamble is an entire success. They need to make back everything they've spent and more, not just cover daily operating costs.

It'll take a while but at the end I think SWTOR will prove to be a financial success. It just won't happen as fast as EA hoped it would be.

#60 Posted by Ronald (1371 posts) -

How many of those 23% are also playing CoD, and playing it more than EA shooters?

I guess now we know who has been hacking Live accounts to buy FIFA cards. I feel bad for the other guys in this thread who mentioned they just got their accounts back. I got mine back the same day.

#61 Posted by mosespippy (4278 posts) -

Those Origin numbers are inflated. Because I've played NHL 11 online on PS3 and redeemed the online pass I have an Origin account. I never signed up for it but they converted my old EA account into an Origin account.

#62 Posted by Brodehouse (10066 posts) -

Man, the Giant Bomb staff are really looking for any opportunity to naysay The Old Republic.  It's starting to sound personal, can't even report something without adding some negative commentary.

#63 Posted by gringbot (95 posts) -

@Brodehouse said:

Man, the Giant Bomb staff are really looking for any opportunity to naysay The Old Republic. It's starting to sound personal, can't even report something without adding some negative commentary.

That's not the impression I get at all.

Patrick is a pretty unbiased guy, imo.

#64 Posted by bkbroiler (1634 posts) -

They have my Mass Effect 3 Pre-order. DON'T FUCK THIS UP, BIOWARE

#65 Posted by Ares42 (2726 posts) -
@Nigglenummy said:

Vgchartz puts the number of SWTOR retail copies sold at 2.05m not counting digital copies. I think at least an extra 100k digital purchases is realistic. In any case, 1.7m active subscriptions is impressive. Even though there are some free months still included in that.

It's more than anyone out there, especially all the haters, expected. I don't see how this can be seen as anything but a success and a testament to how well it has been received by the non-vocal majority. I was expecting a number half that big.

I don't think anyone ever expected it to get poor sales/first month subscribers. Rift managed to get 1.3 mill in their first month, and look at where that is now. Personally I expected the number to be way higher with EA, Bioware and Star Wars backing it up. 1.7 mill is by no means the huge success they were hoping for, especially with the press they've gotten post launch and what I would assume is an already declining number. It would be good if the general opinion was mostly positive and they were still climbing steadily, but I think it's pretty safe to say we'll never see a 2.5 mill subscriber announcement. 
 
Yes, the game will be profitable, and they might even make enough money to justify the investment. But the game has pretty much already proven all the haters right by getting straight in line with all the other post-WoW MMOs out there. They are already following the same exact steps as all those other games that most people has abandoned and forgotten by now.
#66 Posted by chrispti (224 posts) -

@gringbot said:

@Brodehouse said:

Man, the Giant Bomb staff are really looking for any opportunity to naysay The Old Republic. It's starting to sound personal, can't even report something without adding some negative commentary.

That's not the impression I get at all.

Patrick is a pretty unbiased guy, imo.

I'd have to agree, Patrick's articles rarely have a biased tone.

#67 Posted by bhlaab (143 posts) -

How many of those 9.3 million are only "using" Origin insofar that they have one or two games that require it?

A major social game, based on an unknown but existing EA property, has been delayed a few months.

That has got to be Ultima.

#68 Posted by gringbot (95 posts) -

@chrispti said:

I'd have to agree, Patrick's articles rarely have a biased tone.

It's because of his journalism major, which is actually very rare in this field, surprisingly. (or I should say UNsurprisingly, lol)

Nice avatar btw. I just bought all 5 seasons recently.

#69 Edited by seannao (227 posts) -

Wondering what the next batch of DLC for BF3's gonna be... How about some CAMP GIBRALTAR heh.

#70 Posted by GooieGreen (454 posts) -

@gringbot said:

@chrispti said:

I'd have to agree, Patrick's articles rarely have a biased tone.

It's because of his journalism major, which is actually very rare in this field, surprisingly. (or I should say UNsurprisingly, lol)

Nice avatar btw. I just bought all 5 seasons recently.

It seems to be increasing, ever so slightly, with more of the newer game editorial writers having a degree in journalism. The old guard really didn't have that many college grads, due to (I believe) the dotCom boom.

#71 Posted by MattBosten (497 posts) -

@patrickklepek said:

  • The company expects to generate more than $100 million from FIFA Ultimate Team in the next year.

Doesn't surprise me at all, particularly when it's Microsoft who end up shelling out when accounts are hacked, I assume for EA they keep whatever % they get of the sales generated.

#72 Posted by President_Barackbar (3467 posts) -
@Brodehouse said:
Man, the Giant Bomb staff are really looking for any opportunity to naysay The Old Republic.  It's starting to sound personal, can't even report something without adding some negative commentary.
How does reporting the numbers EA gave out and then saying "but where it goes in the next few months remains to be seen" negative?
#73 Posted by Nigglenummy (78 posts) -

@Ares42 said:

@Nigglenummy said:

Vgchartz puts the number of SWTOR retail copies sold at 2.05m not counting digital copies. I think at least an extra 100k digital purchases is realistic. In any case, 1.7m active subscriptions is impressive. Even though there are some free months still included in that.

It's more than anyone out there, especially all the haters, expected. I don't see how this can be seen as anything but a success and a testament to how well it has been received by the non-vocal majority. I was expecting a number half that big.

I don't think anyone ever expected it to get poor sales/first month subscribers. Rift managed to get 1.3 mill in their first month, and look at where that is now. Personally I expected the number to be way higher with EA, Bioware and Star Wars backing it up. 1.7 mill is by no means the huge success they were hoping for, especially with the press they've gotten post launch and what I would assume is an already declining number. It would be good if the general opinion was mostly positive and they were still climbing steadily, but I think it's pretty safe to say we'll never see a 2.5 mill subscriber announcement. Yes, the game will be profitable, and they might even make enough money to justify the investment. But the game has pretty much already proven all the haters right by getting straight in line with all the other post-WoW MMOs out there. They are already following the same exact steps as all those other games that most people has abandoned and forgotten by now.

Fair enough. I didn't know the Rift numbers. But I think after seeing the amount of people spewing hate and "cancelled" posts, the general consensus was that numbers would be significantly down from the first free month. Like less than 1 million. Most guesses on the SWTOR forums were around that number or less. I guess what I consider a "success" was the retention rate overall, so far at least.

#74 Edited by Ares42 (2726 posts) -
@Nigglenummy: Well, although it's not 100% clear it seems like the numbers presented was from December 31, 2011, which would basically mean anyone that bought and activated their account would count. There are some contradictory qoutes from the call hinting either way. 
 
Also, another quite interesting qoute:
Q: You've previously said you need about a half million subscribers to be profitable, is that still the case?
A: At 500,000 subscribers, we'd break even. At a million, we'd be making a profit but nothing worth writing home about. As it scales up from there, we're talking about a nice profit. At this point with the successful launch, we can take the worst case scenarios off the table.
#75 Posted by mewarmo990 (837 posts) -

@Brodehouse said:

Man, the Giant Bomb staff are really looking for any opportunity to naysay The Old Republic. It's starting to sound personal, can't even report something without adding some negative commentary.

Plainly you did not read the article at all.

#76 Posted by scraz (78 posts) -

Im sure those origin numbers are baked to include any PC or console that has ever had to sign up for a EA account to play one of there online games.Also how many of those were just to play the BF3 beta?

#77 Posted by 2HeadedNinja (1666 posts) -
@Narwhalist said:

Valve obviously deserves a lot of good will, but who’s to say they’ll continue acting this way forever? And for that matter, how many Steam fans would remain happy with their hegemony if Valve was acquired by, say, Microsoft or Amazon?

While I agree on the Origin part (that I didnt quote), you cant blame EA for pushing Origin, this part of you comment strucks me as a little ... doomsday?  
 
First: Valve is not publicly traded and most likely never will be, so nobody can buy them unless the agree. And with steam they generate enough capital to probably run for as long as there are videogames (that would be my guess). 
 
 Second: With the experience I have with Valve and Steam I have no reason to believe they will ever change to the worse for me as a customer. They never stagnate, they never seem to rest ... there is always something they are doing to improve their service. Sometimes it's small stuff like cloud screenshots, sometimes bigger stuff like the mobile app. The pricing has stayed consoistent at least over the last 4 years, you always know what to expect, they never stopped doing their famed steam sales ... So what reason would I have to believe they will ever change?  
 
People love Valve/Steam ... but there is a reason for that. If Origin catches on at some point and gives me the same service Steam does I will use that sevice too, but as of now Origin is just a way wose version of Steam.
#78 Posted by TheHT (11496 posts) -

Holy shit-steak-sandwiches, 11 million copies of Battlefield 3 sold? Is that a lot? That sounds like a lot.

#79 Posted by Wuddel (2098 posts) -

@2HeadedNinja said:

People love Valve/Steam ... but there is a reason for that. If Origin catches on at some point and gives me the same service Steam does I will use that sevice too, but as of now Origin is just a way wose version of Steam.

You kidding me? On word: Sales! EA being the publisher of nearly all of Origins games I don't see those "get 10 games for 3 bucks" offers coming.

#80 Posted by Cwaff (1260 posts) -

With all the FIFA hackings I don't doubt they'll make $100 million!

#81 Posted by NuDimon (169 posts) -
@TheHT said:

Holy shit-steak-sandwiches, 11 million copies of Battlefield 3 sold? Is that a lot? That sounds like a lot.

Yes I can confirm: That is indeed a lot.
#82 Posted by 2HeadedNinja (1666 posts) -

@Wuddel said:

You kidding me? On word: Sales! EA being the publisher of nearly all of Origins games I don't see those "get 10 games for 3 bucks" offers coming.

Thats kinda what I was talking about when I said "Origin getting better" ... As of now games on Origin are highly overpriced. I saw some deals there but not a single one got me excited. And they are missing basic functions like gifting games.

#83 Posted by Branthog (5583 posts) -

@bhlaab said:

How many of those 9.3 million are only "using" Origin insofar that they have one or two games that require it?

Exactly. This would be important only if the same content was available elsewhere. You know, the way stores have always worked. If people have choice and they pick you, that's impressive. If the only way to play BF3 (which I haven't played since a couple weeks after launch) and SWTOR (which I canceled my subscription to after playing less than two weeks) is through your crappy "me too" service, then that's not really saying a lot. If given the choice, I'd take everything on Steam. And that's how it should be. Every game should be on every service and - just like in real life - digital stores should have to compete on price, features, functionality, and service.

#84 Posted by Cymatics (90 posts) -

@SpaceButler14 said:

Those numbers sound good for TOR, but if that were the case wouldnt' they be more upbeat?

I think they'd like to be more subtle about it for a few months, until they for sure know where they stand at.

#85 Posted by insanejedi (654 posts) -

@Branthog said:

@bhlaab said:

How many of those 9.3 million are only "using" Origin insofar that they have one or two games that require it?

Exactly. This would be important only if the same content was available elsewhere. You know, the way stores have always worked. If people have choice and they pick you, that's impressive. If the only way to play BF3 (which I haven't played since a couple weeks after launch) and SWTOR (which I canceled my subscription to after playing less than two weeks) is through your crappy "me too" service, then that's not really saying a lot. If given the choice, I'd take everything on Steam. And that's how it should be. Every game should be on every service and - just like in real life - digital stores should have to compete on price, features, functionality, and service.

You realize that Steam does the exact same things with the following...

- Half Life 2

- Half Life Episodes

- Counter Srike

- DoD

- Portal

- Skyrim

- DoW 2 40K

- Dow 2 40K Expansions

- Red Orchestra

- Saints Row 3

And ect. ect. ect.

I don't see anyone asking the same questions about their numbers.

#86 Posted by Gaff (1807 posts) -

@Turambar said:

@SagaciousJones said:

@Turambar said:

While I know every company have different dates for fiscal years, most companies end their year in the middle or end of January, so even if its based on the fiscal year (probably is), it's gonna be more up to date than December 31st.

Their fiscal year cut-off was definitely December 31st.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/electronic-arts-reports-q3-fy12-financial-results-2012-02-01

Electronic Arts Inc. EA -0.73% today announced preliminary financial results for its third fiscal quarter ended December 31, 2011.

Ah, fair enough. In that case, the 300k drop off statistic is rather interesting considering the 30 day free trial bit hasn't really ended for anyone at that point, even those that preordered and started the game a week earlier, and is probably more indicative of people that have not activated their subscription than those that dropped it. We'll see how things turn next month I guess.

A bit late to the party, but... if the third fiscal quarter (Q3) ended on December 31st, wouldn't their -or most businesses'- fiscal year (Q1 to Q4) start and stop around April? As far as I know, most video game companies use this, which does explain a lot of things: the late March announcement of the 3DS, the weird rush of "unique" titles in late Spring.

Online
#87 Posted by illegalnull (112 posts) -

Since this article is about an earnings call, it would be nice to include one sentence that had the actual revenue and profit, you know, the earnings part!

#88 Posted by Beluga (17 posts) -

@2HeadedNinja said:

@Narwhalist said:

Valve obviously deserves a lot of good will, but who’s to say they’ll continue acting this way forever? And for that matter, how many Steam fans would remain happy with their hegemony if Valve was acquired by, say, Microsoft or Amazon?

While I agree on the Origin part (that I didnt quote), you cant blame EA for pushing Origin, this part of you comment strucks me as a little ... doomsday? First: Valve is not publicly traded and most likely never will be, so nobody can buy them unless the agree. And with steam they generate enough capital to probably run for as long as there are videogames (that would be my guess). Second: With the experience I have with Valve and Steam I have no reason to believe they will ever change to the worse for me as a customer. They never stagnate, they never seem to rest ... there is always something they are doing to improve their service. Sometimes it's small stuff like cloud screenshots, sometimes bigger stuff like the mobile app. The pricing has stayed consoistent at least over the last 4 years, you always know what to expect, they never stopped doing their famed steam sales ... So what reason would I have to believe they will ever change? People love Valve/Steam ... but there is a reason for that. If Origin catches on at some point and gives me the same service Steam does I will use that sevice too, but as of now Origin is just a way wose version of Steam.

Yeah, I admit that I made a few giant leaps, but things can and do change. As a consumer, while Steam is great, it freaks me out that one company seems to be so dominant. Sure, Valve doesn’t have a fiduciary responsibility to milk their dominance, but it’s still good business to do so (at least to a point). And while they’re privately held and can’t be the target of a hostile takeover, that doesn’t mean they won’t ever be owned by anyone else.

In the long term, I’d rather there be a bunch of companies competing for digital PC game distribution market. As much as some console gamers are fans of Microsoft, Sony, or Nintendo, I think all but the most insane realize that it’s in their best interest for their console manufacturer of choice not to dominate the market. It’s not good for anyone (besides Valve) when Valve is in a position where they could say “we raising our cut, we own the consumer mindshare, and we know that you’ll pay it” regardless of whether or not they’d actually try.

#89 Posted by Davin (243 posts) -

$20 of that FIFA money is mine, that was unwillingly spent by a hacker. Enjoy, EA.

Origin is terrible and I refuse to be forced into using it. Maybe they have an account for me due to my old EA account, but again, it was forced. Nice how they can make up pretty numbers like that. I would have bought ME3 on the PC if it wasn't for that.

Speaking of ME3, no EA, I won't pre-order it. That is a dumb concept these days. Back in the early to mid 90's when you wanted the hottest Zelda game on release day, sure, they didn't make enough copies for everyone so that made sense. Today it's only for publishers to stroke their e-peens and wave around numbers. No thanks. I don't care what carrots you dangle in front of me. I'll wait three months and when ME3 is $20 on the Xbox, I'll buy it there and enjoy it just as much.

Damn I wish this industry hadn't turned me so jaded, I hate all of the BS and fakery that goes on.

#90 Posted by LaserJesus (60 posts) -

@Davin said:

$20 of that FIFA money is mine, that was unwillingly spent by a hacker. Enjoy, EA.

Origin is terrible and I refuse to be forced into using it. Maybe they have an account for me due to my old EA account, but again, it was forced. Nice how they can make up pretty numbers like that. I would have bought ME3 on the PC if it wasn't for that.

$50 of it is mine too! I don't even own FIFA!

I'm still going to play ME3 on the PC, but I'm going to buy a... physical copy. These are the depths that their Origin dickery has forced me to sink to! Physical media for my PC games!

#91 Posted by Branthog (5583 posts) -

@insanejedi said:

@Branthog said:

@bhlaab said:

How many of those 9.3 million are only "using" Origin insofar that they have one or two games that require it?

Exactly. This would be important only if the same content was available elsewhere. You know, the way stores have always worked. If people have choice and they pick you, that's impressive. If the only way to play BF3 (which I haven't played since a couple weeks after launch) and SWTOR (which I canceled my subscription to after playing less than two weeks) is through your crappy "me too" service, then that's not really saying a lot. If given the choice, I'd take everything on Steam. And that's how it should be. Every game should be on every service and - just like in real life - digital stores should have to compete on price, features, functionality, and service.

You realize that Steam does the exact same things with the following...

- Half Life 2

- Half Life Episodes

- Counter Srike

- DoD

- Portal

- Skyrim

- DoW 2 40K

- Dow 2 40K Expansions

- Red Orchestra

- Saints Row 3

And ect. ect. ect.

I don't see anyone asking the same questions about their numbers.

No they don't. Half Life 1, Half Life 2, Half Life Episodes, Portal 2, Skyrim, Dawn of War 2 40K, Red Orchestra 2, and Saints Row 3 are all available on competing distribution services like Impulse, Direct2Drive, and others.

#92 Posted by insanejedi (654 posts) -

@Branthog said:

@insanejedi said:

@Branthog said:

@bhlaab said:

How many of those 9.3 million are only "using" Origin insofar that they have one or two games that require it?

Exactly. This would be important only if the same content was available elsewhere. You know, the way stores have always worked. If people have choice and they pick you, that's impressive. If the only way to play BF3 (which I haven't played since a couple weeks after launch) and SWTOR (which I canceled my subscription to after playing less than two weeks) is through your crappy "me too" service, then that's not really saying a lot. If given the choice, I'd take everything on Steam. And that's how it should be. Every game should be on every service and - just like in real life - digital stores should have to compete on price, features, functionality, and service.

You realize that Steam does the exact same things with the following...

- Half Life 2

- Half Life Episodes

- Counter Srike

- DoD

- Portal

- Skyrim

- DoW 2 40K

- Dow 2 40K Expansions

- Red Orchestra

- Saints Row 3

And ect. ect. ect.

I don't see anyone asking the same questions about their numbers.

No they don't. Half Life 1, Half Life 2, Half Life Episodes, Portal 2, Skyrim, Dawn of War 2 40K, Red Orchestra 2, and Saints Row 3 are all available on competing distribution services like Impulse, Direct2Drive, and others.

Which all require you to install and use steam to play it. That's the argument. If your using that logic, you always have the choice to purchase any EA games from a retail store like Gamestop or Amazon.com. The original argument is that the 9.3 million is meaningless since "how many are using origin because they require it?" that same argument can be applied to steam for "how many are using steam because they require it?"

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