EA rang their shareholders for a chinwag yesterday, and talked a great deal about the biggest event in their year so far: SimCity. Sales of Maxis’ messy mayoral reboot were “solid”, thanks to an upsurge in direct downloads via Origin. But EA are working to ensure its disastrous launch, which saw servers swamped and inaccessible to a large proportion of players, “won’t happen again”.
EA Labels head Frank Gibeau told shareholders that SimCity is a “great game that has recovered from a challenging launch”.
“The short explanation for the launch is that the initial rush of consumers overwhelmed our game service, disrupting the consumer experience,” he said. “As we stabilized the game and improved service in the first week, fans continued to pour in.”
Gibeau revealed that EA are ahead of their sales forecast for the game. SimCity has sold more than 1.6m copies to date – nearly half via digital downloads.
“The key takeaway here: SimCity is a highly resilient, global franchise with a long service life in front of it,” he concluded. “But we learned our lesson and are now building better processes to anticipate and service demand. This won’t happen again.”
EA earned $1.04 billion in the last quarter of the fiscal year, which ended on March 31st. $224m of that came from DLC and free-to-play games, thanks in part to “solid results” from The Old Republic. The publisher said that both the free-to-play and subscription elements of SWTOR are “performing well”, reporting that the game has “attracted new free-to-play members and total active users are up”.
Crysis 3 and Dead Space 3 didn’t fare so well – both failed to top EA’s forecasts. Nevertheless, net revenue was up 6% from the same period last year.
What do you think EA should be doing to avoid a repeat of the fiasco that accompanied SimCity’s release in March?