How a partnership with the NFL could boost Electronic Arts’ mobile gaming business
Electronic arts‘ (NASDAQ: EA) recent dealing with the nfl has been called “the largest and most extensive gaming deal in NFL history.” EA and the NFL have been partners since the early days of the Madden franchise in the 90s. This new deal will see one of EA’s biggest titles expand to new genres and platforms.
One of these areas of growth will be new offers for mobile players. EA’s mobile business grew tremendously at the start of the last decade, but in recent years it has declined.
This mobile business still has potential. Rachel Hoagland, NFL vice president of games, esports and partnerships, revealed to NFL.com that the league is interested in a mobile game for Madden which is similar to SuperCell Clash of the clans, a popular mobile strategy game that grossed $ 22 million in May alone, according to Sensor Tower. Here’s what that could mean for EA’s mobile future.
The story of EA’s mobile business
At the start of the mobile gaming market around 2010, EA embarked on a buying frenzy, acquiring several small studios to create a diverse line of games for the growing category – currently the fastest growing and largest segment. of the $ 150 billion video game. industry.
EA acquired Playfish, a developer of free social games, in 2009 for $ 308 million. In the following years, she bought out others, such as Chillingo and PopCap Games, the creator of the hit Plants vs. Zombies.
Mobile net bookings peaked at $ 659 million in fiscal 2018, but aging titles have weighed on the segment in recent years. In fiscal 2020, EA’s mobile net bookings fell to $ 516 million, excluding license revenue.
The NFL has big plans for Madden
In the last quarter, EA attributed its sports titles in Asia a 2% increase in net bookings on mobile. EA Offers Madden Mobile, but that was not enough to move the needle.
Mobile football games have more potential. Interest in the NFL has increased, with TV ratings showing improvement over the past few years and more people than ever playing the premium version of Madden on console and PC.
The NFL sees digital game distribution as an important trend that is creating increased demand for games beyond console titles, as Hoagland told NFL.com. That’s why the NFL wants to expand to new mobile offerings with the Madden franchise.
A Madden mobile game similar to Clash of the clans wouldn’t be too foreign to people playing Madden Ultimate Team on console. In Clans, players build a village and a small army to compete in clan wars. The game is free to play, so it makes money through in-app purchases like many other mobile games.
Madden is already following a similar pattern with Ultimate Team, where players buy digital player cards to build a fantastic team to compete against others online. Live Services are the heart of EA’s business, where Ultimate Team accounted for 27% of EA’s revenue in fiscal 2020.
Since the new agreement between the NFL and EA calls for gaming experiences across “new genres,” this leaves the door open for a strategic football game modeled after a. Clash of the clans.
As Hoagland told NFL.com, 75% of NFL fans play video games, so there is already a large integrated audience for Madden. As mobile devices become more advanced, especially with the era of 5G connection speeds, the mobile market will only continue to grow like wildfire. EA has a great opportunity under this new deal to create a soccer game for mobile devices that could appeal to console-only players.
EA expects mobile net bookings to grow 1% in fiscal 2021 to $ 721 million, which includes license revenue. If EA can create engaging new experiences from its new NFL deal, its mobile business could receive a much-needed boost over the next decade.
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