Electronic Arts says its Online Pass program hasn’t resulted in a “dramatic” spike in revenues, bringing in only about $10 to $15 million since it went live.
If you’re somehow still in the dark about EA Sports’ Online Pass, it works like this: brand-new copies of videogames come with single-use codes that enable access to “online services, features and bonus content,” forcing people who buy preowned copies to either pay extra for the same content or do without. The idea is to recover some of the revenues EA loses to preowned game sales, but according to CFO Eric Brown, it hasn’t resulted in a huge windfall for the publisher.
“The revenues we derive from [Online Pass] haven’t been dramatic. I’d say they’re in the $10 to $15 million range,” he said at the Citi 2011 Tech Conference last week. On the upside, he noted that it’s all “found revenue,” which is to say that it’s effectively pure profit coming in for services EA is already providing.
I’d love to be in a position in which 15 million smackers is a trifling amount of money, but it’s a fair description of the sum for EA. The company’s net revenues for the first three months of its 2012 fiscal year – three months, mind – were $999 million. That’s a billion bucks, kids. Every little bit helps but compared to that, $15 million is what you find under the couch cushions.