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Just How Big Is Downloadable Content For EA Sports?

FIFA 16

You won’t believe your eyes seeing the extra revenue that the video game developer made on these add-ons.
(Photo : EA Sports)

Whether it’s FIFA, Madden or its NHL series, EA Sports makes sure to offer them.

A Fortune.com piece Friday, entitled The Hidden Weapon of EA Sports, helped highlight how important downloadable content (DLC) is to one of the more successful video game developers in the space — especially when it comes to its yearly sports titles.

If you could believe this, DLC added $1.3 billion to the company’s revenue last year, EA Sports CFO Blake Jorgensen informed attendees of a recent Morgan Stanley investor conference, as confirmed by Fortune. Within that unbelievable total, about $500 million of it came from gamers purchasing the Ultimate Team add-on offered for its sports titles.

The Ultimate Team enables users to play a collectible card game in relation to the title itself, whether it’s any of EA’s FIFA, NHL or Madden series. Gamers trade these player cards, buy or sell them, in an attempt to build exactly what the add-on suggests — the Ultimate Team. The best part of it is friends and family members can use their built-up deck of cards to compete with each other for Ultimate Team supremacy.

“It extends the engagement of the user with that product,” Jorgensen said. “We’ve found if we can extend your engagement, we can typically monetize that over time.”

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The Ultimate Team has been quickly growing over the years, enjoying an 82 percent jump in numbers in 2014. Overall, DLC accounts for 25 percent of all EA full-game sales, according to Jorgensen.

“The economics for us are obviously better for us delivering all of those products digitally than they would be physically,” he said.

Altogether, EA’s mobile games raked in $650 million, with subscription services making anywhere from $300 million to $400 million.

If you think about it, it shouldn’t be hard to fathom just why DLC is such a money-maker. For starters, it seems to be offered just at the right time, when a gamer has possibly conquered the title and needs another challenge to keep playing.

From a parent’s point of view, purchasing DLC is far cheaper than purchasing an entirely different game, allowing their thumb-tapping children to prolong the life of the title.

Seems like a win-win … not to mention a huge avenue for additional cash flow.

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