Electronic Arts’ Top Retail Partner? Apple.
For games publisher Electronic Arts, brick-and-mortar stores have historically generated the bulk of its sales. But not anymore.
Reporting first-quarter earnings this week, EA said that digital sales have surpassed those made through physical outlets. The company’s top retail partner for the period? Not GameStop. Not Walmart. Not Amazon.
“Our quarter was notable for its strong digital sales,” EA COO Peter Moore explained. “To that end, Apple was EA’s biggest retail partner as measured by sales. That is a first.”
That’s quite a milestone for EA and Apple, both. Remember, EA is the world’s third-largest gaming company.
Moore didn’t say exactly how much revenue Apple was responsible for. But, of $495 million in total revenue EA posted for the quarter, $378 million was digital, and $90 million of that originated on smartphones and tablets. So, some portion of that.
Not a huge number, but big enough, and one that speaks to Apple’s growing importance in the gaming space. How many more game sales will Apple drive once it has released iOS 7, which includes game-controller support? How many more when it finally brings gaming support to Apple TV — which seems inevitable? As Gabe Newell, co-founder of celebrated videogame publisher Valve, said earlier this year, “The threat right now is that Apple has gained a huge amount of market share, and has a relatively obvious pathway towards entering the living room with their platform. I think that there’s a scenario where we see sort of a dumbed down living room platform emerging — I think Apple rolls the console guys really easily.”