Electronic Arts hit the $1 billion mark in digital revenues in 2011.
“Everything is digital” is how EA chief John Riccitiello put it in a memo leaked to Kotaku and it’s hard to argue with the man given his reason for making the statement. “One year ago, we set a stretch goal to grow our digital business to $1 billion annually,” he said. “I’m proud to say that we achieved that goal in CY11. Crossing the $1 billion threshold is an incredibly important milestone – congratulations!”
To capitalize on this success, Riccitiello revealed that EA Interative, which was established to handle EA’s mobile and social games and Pogo, is being “folded into” other parts of the company as part of a wider, digital-focused restructuring. A newly-formed team of engineers and technologists is “securing our systems and… building infrastructure for EA’s own platform,” while COO Peter Moore will head up a new “Customer Experience Group” dedicated to “helping us reach and support our customers, partners and development teams online.” Riccitiello also promised that we’ll “be hearing a great deal about” Origin, EA’s digital distribution platform, in 2012.
A billion bucks is a lot of money but as Edge notes, EA may very well have blown more than that to make it happen. It dropped $750 million on PopCap in July 2011, a sum which could balloon to $1.3 billion if financial targets are met over the next 18 months. It’s a safe bet that the launch of Origin in June 2011 was also a mighty expensive undertaking.
Still, there’s no doubt that the times, they are a-changin’, and that what was a tiny slice of the pie just a few years ago now represents the most significant space for revenue growth in the videogame industry. That’s something to think about the next time you find yourself annoyed by launch-day DLC.