Electronic Arts Earnings Call: EA Talks Sims Mobile, Console, and The Sims 4

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Andrew Wilson, CEO of EA, announced yesterday that The Sims 4 saw monthly active players increase 40% year-over-year FY18 Q2, and stated that The Sims 4 was a major driver in the growth of the quarter. Additional text from the call below.

• In The Sims 4, monthly average players are up more than 40% year-over-year, and anticipation is high for the console game launching in Q3. As these communities and many others in our top franchises continue to thrive, our subscription services like EA Access and Origin Access are bringing more players from across our network to join in.


• Performance over guidance was primarily driven by our mobile live services, The Sims 4 and by Ultimate Team.

• Looking at each of the components of this quarter’s digital net bookings in turn. First, live service net bookings were up 22% year-on-year to $310 million. This increase was driven by strong growth in FIFA and Madden Ultimate Team and in Battlefield 1, FIFA Online 3 in Asia, and The Sims 4. In addition, our EA Access and Origin Access services continue to see rapid growth.

• Our global communities for The Sims and other franchises thrive on the connections, interactions and creations shared between players. And for players seeking new communities and the next great experience, our subscription services will continue to expand and remove friction in a crowded, digital world.

Andrew Wilson – So The Sims is going really well. It (mobile) is still in soft launch, and we’re receiving valuable feedback on the game and incorporating adjustments both in terms of kind of a core engagement profile in the game as well as how the game monetizes over time. The Sims is a very valuable brand for us, a very valuable IP. And it’s a genre in which we are essentially unchallenged on any platform for that matter. And so we want to make sure that we get it right with our community, and we’re seeing very strong uptick in the kind of metrics that we need. And we expect to launch it in the spring. And the good news for us, given the strength of The Sims brand, we still have The Sims free play, which is doing really well for us on mobile.


Blake J. Jorgensen – And I just — since we’re on The Sims, I’ll just throw in one more, that, as you can see or hear from the prepared text, we’ve mentioned The Sims a couple of times, The Sims 4 as a major driver in the growth in the quarter. We’re — continue to be very pleased with how The Sims 4 and all the extra content has performed. And we’re very excited about The Sims 4 console version that will be out later this quarter. And I think that bodes well for the overall Sims franchise, both in console, PC — for all console, PC and mobile.

Blake J. Jorgensen – I think most people know that Battlefront — excuse me, Battlefield 1 last year was a mass success for us, and we had a huge Q3 because of that. We also had Titanfall, which, while it didn’t meet our original expectations, still sold very well. And so with Star Wars Battlefront II and Need for Speed, you just can’t — and Sims 4 console, you just can’t comp against the strength of Battlefield 1 last year. We’re looking — it’s obviously a big quarter for us. Guiding net bookings to $2 billion is huge. And the fact that it’s only down 3% year-on-year, with the strength of Battlefield 1 last year, I think is a huge positive. And live services obviously continued to grow. We’re seeing strength across the board there, but we still have some unknowns. We don’t yet know how the Battlefront II live service will monetize. We’ll find that out over the next quarter. We’ll be able to give people a better sense of that in Q4 — Q3 when we talk, but that’s part of the unknown. And The Sims 4 on console, while people are very excited about it, we’ll just need to see how the well that sells. So those are probably the unknowns in the mix versus last year as well as the scale differences.