EA Downplays the Importance of Mobile
At the Goldman Sachs Communacopia + Technology conference, Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson spoke about the company’s future goals, while downplaying the part mobile has to play in the company’s wider ambitions.
Discussing the company’s broader strategy, Wilson noted that its current strength lies in its IPs.
“We are very blessed in that we have FC, we have Madden, we have Battlefield, we have The Sims, we have Apex, we’re building out Skate,” said Wilson. “So we’re going to disproportionately invest in IP as a platform and really creating the new world that is the flywheel of engagement. 50 years ago, it was about cruise lines and hotels. Today it’s about Play, Watch, Create, Connect around these massive online communities in the context of these extraordinary IP.”
However, Wilson noted that the company’s mobile approach has been somewhat hampered by changes in the ecosystem. Discussing the company’s recent acquisitions in the mobile space, he said “We feel good about those acquisitions. I don’t think they’ve worked out as well as we would have hoped. Some things happened in the mobile ecosystem that changed our [outlook] on that a bit.”
Despite this, Wilson did note that the company’s mobile studios still have the potential to grow the business, with Glu Mobile adding to the company’s “lifestyle community” while Golf Clash studio Playdemic is expected to generate revenue in the future. Significantly, EA’s acquisition of both helped bolster EA’s “analytics and ad monetisation stuff”, and these will likely help the company accelerate its mobile growth in the future.
A Mobile Business
While there’s plenty of money to be made in PC and console the biggest wins are coming from mobile in the modern era, so EA’s slow take up is surprising, allowing less experienced but more agile companies to steal their lunch.
EA has only released two mobile titles in the past three years – Madden NFL 21 Mobile in 2020 and The Lord of the Rings: Heroes of Middle-earth in May 2023. In the same time, the company has released a number of highly successful games for other platforms, including several expansions to The Sims 4, the remake of the highly popular Dead Space, and the latest entry in the Star Wars Jedi series.
To be clear, EA aren’t discounting mobile entirely – by its own admission, it has room for growth, even if its recent acquisitions haven’t lived up to expectations. However, the fact remains that mobile accounted for just 18% of revenue in the company’s latest quarterly report, falling 5% year-on-year. As such, it appears that the company’s strategy – at least for now – is to focus on where the company is seeing the most success, rather than attempting to make further inroads onto mobile.
We listed EA as one of the top 50 mobile game makers of 2023.