TaxWe don't usually pay too much attention to financial news and investor conference calls because, well, we're more interested in games than we are in stock prices and spreadsheets- And I'd assume most people here are also on that level. Strap in for this though, per VentureBeat, EA is now making more money through the App Store than any other retail distributor including their own Origin service.

EA noted three specific titles as being particularly successful- The Simpsons: Tapped Out [Free], Real Racing 3 [Free], and The Sims FreePlay [Free]. All three games are making a ridiculous amount of money, and EA mentioned that Real Racing 3 is still rocking over 2 million daily active users with over 45 million downloads.


I know it's easy to groan over the fact that their top breadwinners are all free to play, but it's pretty incredible that the App Store is making so much money for huge publishers- Even over their own in-house services to push their games. The mere suggestion of this sort of thing happening when the App Store launched five years ago would've been laughable, but, here we are!

[via VentureBeat]

  • BlueFalcN

    Damn free- to- plays.........

    • araczynski

      double damn since its EA.

      • Benjamin Rodriguez

        exactly...horrible news...Good news will be when EA files for bankruptcy.

      • TheEvilRobot

        When will that be? Never? 🙁

  • joaquin_ondamoon

    And now you know why IAP's jammed into every FTP game.

  • {SQUEEK}

    Makes sense. The deliver a crap buggy game and no one can complain because its free, yet the cash in from all the people that buy the magic jelly beans..6 for $1 or the best offer 5000 for $99.99.

    • MidianGTX

      People should complain. The "but it's free!" excuse is terrible. It's not about how much we paid, forget the money, it's about whether or not we enjoy the product. If we don't, or if we think it should be improved, say so, regardless of price. It's their job to work out how to build a business model that matches our expectations of quality.

      • shaver

        It is pretty likely that most of the 2M Real Racing DAUs are having their quality demands met, given that they continue to use it. It's not the responsibility of the game-buying public to join you on the picket lines in protest of shareware or the business model of 1990s MUDs.

      • MidianGTX

        I didn't say we should protest the model, I said we should tell developers what we want from games.

  • whitestatic

    It's not entirely surprising. A lot of custom-rolled solutions fail, especially when a platform (e.g. iOS) is involved. EA, like most mega-companies, think they can maximize profits by customizing their own solutions. That only works when you're the gatekeeper and can control all aspects of distribution. I would do the same thing for the PC/Mac and ditch Origin and go with Steam. It's a tough-sell internally because no one wants to go to the CEO/CFO and say we're going to pay someone else to be the store for our products (and oh by the way our products are going to be shown next to our competition), but it's such a better long term solution. Customers will rally around a distribution platform and would rather do one-stop shopping (in general): in this case the App Store vs a store for every app. Origin is going to die a long, slow, and painfully expensive death.

    • C. Stubb

      People who actually know what their talking about are rare indeed on the Internet forums 🙂

    • FIFTHSUN2012

      I'm not sure what you just said but it sounds pretty intelligent to me. I'll go with that.

    • Pray For Death

      I don't see Origin dying anytime soon what with EA's biggest franchises requiring Origin to run (ME, BF, DA, etc...)

      • whitestatic

        Of course not. I believe it will take years and what will eventually be an insane amount of money before someone pulls the plug. SimCity should have been a wake-up call but usually this just emboldens them to throw more money at the problem. Take a look at almost any industry that relies on a publication/distribution model and you will find similar patterns: print media, movies, music, television, video games, etc.

  • Diaboliq

    Looks like me boycotting real racing did nothing..

    • Eli Hodapp
      • cofunguy

        Sadly the URL is getting cut off...darn stupid touch arcade restrictions!!! LOL

      • themostunclean

        Open in a browser, it's only cut off in the TA app.

        Although not sure if you want to. It's Mariah Carey singing "Hero".

    • PureRumble

      NO! It did something. Dont think for a second that ea and fire monkeys dont know how they are considered with a large grain of disgust among passionate gamers.

      What they do is horrible, but they're not stupid. They read the unofficial reviews, the comment boards and the forum threads. They know that your line of sentiment is widespread.

      And they know that if core gamers didnt have this attitude then they would have made even more profit!

      Mega corporations dont wanna make profit; they wanna make MORE profit. Thats why their stocks take a dive when they some year make 5% less profit than last year

    • Karzay

      Do you regret the decision?

  • Jcoop9

    I just wish there was the option to pay for the game fully if we wanted to.

    • cofunguy

      And that would totally removed the free to play based model since most free to play apps give either money or boosts or some other in game advantage, usually for a brief time.

      • bilboa

        I think it could work. Imagine for example if RR3 offered a $15 IAP which permanently removed the service timers, and left everything else as is. People who'd rather get the game for free and grind or pay $1 or $2 at a time for coins can continue to do so, and those of us who would rather own the game outright can pony up $15. The downside of this from EA's point of view would be that this would put a cap of $15 on IAP, whereas currently they have IAPs going all the way up to $100 I think. On the other hand they'd keep all the customers who would rather pay a premium to own the game, and who are so turned off by the Freemium model that they are ignoring the game.

        This is all wishful thinking though. The last two RR versions sold for around $8 I think. If EA is making more money off of RR3 than the previous versions, then they have no motive to go back to the old way. Those of us who prefer buying our games outright will just have to suck it up I guess. I think the attitude of a lot of iOS gamers that anything over $2 is expensive for a game is partly responsible for this trend.

  • xvicx

    I feel so sad that in-app succeed 🙁 It's terrible news

    • whitestatic

      In-app purchase mechanisms are simply a tool. The tool can be used for great things or it can be used for horrible things. Lazy developers fall into the latter. An example of the former: try-before-you buy games that let you unlock the full game without having to re-download.

      • Kimmedim

        I would rather re-download the game instead of having the in-app purchase mechanism there

      • whitestatic

        I can see where you're coming from with regards to micro-transactions. For me, in-app purchases can be a matter of convenience, such as Sid Meir's Ace Patrol. I liked playing the game, I hit the end of the free experience and liked it so much that I purchased the expansion so I could continue playing. That's an experience I can get behind.

        As for what most users that come to this site take issue with, I can see the points. I vote with my wallet and simply choose not to involve myself with those types of games. Casual gamers that enjoy collecting costumes, outfits, extra characters, etc. I take no issue with if that's how they choose to spend their money and how they want to experience gaming. I've certainly not been appointed as the Chief Officer of the Gaming Police that gets to tell people what and how to enjoy a game.

        Furthermore, games that are poorly designed, hide all their content behind numerous paywalls, and/or take advantage of their users, simply will not last. As experienced gamers (I assume most of the ones here are) that demand more from developers and their offerings, this is nothing new. The game industry (like others) will self-correct and these games will fall by the wayside. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on your temperament, we are still in an exciting time for mobile that has a long way to go to reach maturity. My suspicion is that we will see the mobile market split even more sharply. Casual gaming will continue as it is, a few blockbusters, light engagement, sub $5. Hardcore (we need a better term) gaming will take a much sharper departure and engaging experiences will be the norm and require more time and effort and the price will go up with it, over $5 and probably pushing the $15-25 range for a top-tier game.

      • bilboad

        I agree IAP is just a tool. I think what's going on in this thread though is that a lot of people are using IAP as a synonym for "freemium business model", since that's what IAP seems to be used for a lot. I agree with CapitainHarlock in being sad that Freemium is taking off so much. I don't want to be judgmental about how others have fun, but it bothers me that games that I would otherwise enjoy, like RR3 or Dungeon Hunter 4, are ruined for me by being Freemium based.

        On the other hand I have nothing against IAP being used to unlock a full version of a game, or additional content. I don't even mind when games allow you to buy in-game currency with real money as a feature for impatient gamers, as long as the game is obviously designed to be well balanced without purchasing additional currency. Warhammer Quest is an example of game that uses IAP in a good way in my opinion.

  • Wizard_Mike

    Might this be a testament not to how well EA is doing on the app store, but simply how poorly EA is doing with everything else?

    • C. Stubb


      Perhaps a little of both. Who knows?

    • fuzzlor

      I always got the impression that nobody even used origin anyway save for mass effect 3 and dead space 3.

    • shaver

      EA is doing fine; check out the rest of the earnings call Eli referenced, Full-price games are up, subscription is up, PC F2P is up.

      http (hi spam filter) ://

  • PureRumble

    I was reading the app store reviews for real racing 3 the other day, and saw a 1 star review and the guy was complaining about how the last update has completely ruined the game.

    Apparently they had made the game so much more expensive by tweaking timers and stuff, and this guy didnt like it.

    He wrote "... and this sucks so much because i've already spent 190 $ on this game's IAPs"


    And i was like SAAAAAAYYYYY WAAAAAAAHHHHHT? You've spent a freaking 190 green george washingtons on consumable game iaps?!

    Wow this is so mind boggling; some people have a scarily disrespectful attitude towards money. They consider those digital digits in their bank account to be like fake money in sim city or minerals in starcraft... its actually disgusting.

    There is sooooo much i wanna do with a hundred and ninety bucks, and i bet virtually everyone would agree it is much more sensible stuff than freaking consumable game IAPs.

    • Eli Hodapp

      Ehh, that's not really a fair judgement to make without knowing the rest of this dude's life. For all you know he's on a super restrictive budget, loves Real Racing 3, and allows himself $40/mo as all he gets for entertainment and he's more than happy to spend it on RR3 funny money.

      I know people in similar situations whose entire entertainment budget goes to paying for MMORPG accounts. It's easy to look at that and be like, "YOU SPENT $400 ON WORLD OF WARCRAFT LAST YEAR?!" ...But, if that's your jam, it's not any better or worse than any other vice out there.

      • PureRumble

        Uhu, sounds to me like you're defending someone... like yourself.

      • Eli Hodapp

        The only thing I'm defending is rational thought to encourage people to be less judgmental. I bet if you posted your monthly bank statement people could find all sorts of things to rip to shreds that you spend money on that you love. I know it's easy to be all knee-jerky in internet comments, but there's two sides to everything.

      • lll Anubis lll

        Eli, I love how your open minded. I agree that this might be there only form of entertainment and i doubt they paid that much at once. To be honest... I probably spend close to a hundred dollars a year on coffee... and thats not entertainment (sure is delicious though). There are people that paid over 300$ during the steam summer sale who probably wont play a fourth of the games they paid for. What Im trying to say is that everyone probably pays a lot of money on one thing or another... All that matters is whether or not they feel as they get their moneys worth.

      • REkzkaRZ

        Often there's more than 2 sides. In this case, you have the newbies getting burned on IAP, you have the 'hardcore' gamers (so-claimed but often soft-core) who won't pay, and then you have EA & similar who just want $$$.
        But the other side is this: Zynga and EA make a lot of crappy games that feature amazing IAP and it worsens the gaming industry.
        Or maybe I'm wrong? Looking forward to reading a rational refutation.

      • wigzisonfire

        Haha! There is absolute no excusing someone throwing down £190 on a free to play game.

        That is literally ridiculous, to think that he has paid more than 4x what you would pay for say 'the last of us' is mind blowing.

        Say hello to the death of gaming my friends.

      • C. Stubb

        Well that's a little harsh.

      • Eli Hodapp

        The thing is, what no one who takes this stance in any kind of anti-free to play rant seems to understand is there's almost no crossover between these groups of gamers. The "whales" of the free to play world are ultra-casual gamers who downloaded something because it was free and looked cool, ended up enjoying the game, then slowly started funneling money into it as its mentally equated to something like buying a movie ticket for them. Often times, these are people who just haven't even played many (if any) games before.

        It's not like some hardcore gamer is choosing to spend $60 in The Simpsons: Tapped Out over buying Last of Us. The people doing that never would've bought Last of Us, likely don't own any consoles, and went from spending $0 on games to more than $0 on games... And, in reality, more money being spent in the gaming industry is good for ALL gamers even if that money is being spent on something that you don't personally think is "good" or "worth it" or whatever else.

      • Jay G

        Amen. Right from the book of Eli.

        My father-in-law used to negatively judge my video game buying habit, until I finally started pointing out the fact that his "toy" of choice just happened to be a $40k fishing boat, and spending a hundred dollars or more on tackle and expensive fishing rods at least once a month.

        Something that I personally thought was the biggest waste of money ever...but that was what he wanted to spend it on, and what he enjoyed, so who am I to judge?

      • andrew9oh7

        Well said

      • nini

        Damn straight, damn core gamers and their exceptionalism and outright entitied sniping ruin gaming.

      • HatfulOfHollow

        Level headed non-partisan cognitive thoughts... you're the Internet equivalent of a unicorn.

      • wigzisonfire

        Eli your point is straight out of the 'suits' manual for how to justify the soul destroying, mass market appealing junk that gets mass marketed.

        Your response is the answer to why Funeral for a friend turned into a junk band after they signed onto a major label (need i note they became rad again once they left the shackles of a major label)

        Your response is why credible filmmakers suffer and receive no investment and all we see is regurgitated drivel and sequel after sequel on the cinema screens!

        It is not a credible answer, its is simply an answer to the way things are. Forgive me for not accepting that as the norm!

      • WarMachine

        There's a guy who spent hundreds of dollars on a single item in Diablo 3's auction house. His rational: he's a lawyer. He doesn't have the luxury of time to play the game to search for the "legendary" item; however he does have the luxury of money. Don't forget there are different kinds of people who play games. We're not all one general kind of persona.

      • FIFTHSUN2012

        Great point. We aren't all kids living in our parents basement. I'm 40, two kids, a wife and a job. I found myself spending less time playing Splinter Cell and Halo. I ended up playing more Contre Jour and Xcom on my 4S. Yeah it might seem crazy that someone spent so much on IAP, but look at the 120+ hours I spent on Oblivion (before I was married, of course). I'm sure others would be like "Damn!" Point is, we all spend money and time on stupid shit. To get back to the main topic, a lot of those people may not play anything else but those freemium games, and thats where their money goes. Me? I'm all about paying premium price for a game.

      • bilboad

        I like your point about how much time people spend on video games. It still doesn't quite convince me that there's nothing wrong with people spending hundreds of dollars on IAPs in a game that would cost much less than that to own outright on a console. However that is an interesting observation that to non-gamers, spending hundreds of hours playing video games seems just as silly and wasteful as spending hundreds of dollars on IAPs seems to us.

      • bilboad

        I see your point. However I don't think there is necessarily a contradiction in on the one hand respecting that everyone has different priorities and resources, and on the other hand thinking that people can be led by hype or marketing or whatever into behaving stupidly against their own welfare.
        For example I respect that some people like to gamble, and go into it with their eyes open because they enjoy it. Yet it still makes me sad when I see some old person who I know doesn't have much money who spends $100+/week on lottery tickets, and I can't help but see them at least partly as victims of lottery marketing.
        The Diablo 3 example you gave seems questionable to me. It seems to me the whole value of those legendary items in Diablo is in the achievement of finding them, so just buying one with real-world money defeats the purpose. The fact that someone would be willing to pay that much for it just makes that person seem like a victim of some kind of hype to me. In this lawyer's case it's pretty harmless I suppose since he apparently has more money than he needs, but you often hear about people who don't have lots of extra money getting caught up in the same sort of hype, and that doesn't seem right. Someone spending hundreds of dollars on IAP for RR3 seems to fall into that "wrong" category from my point of view, since they could have bought a much better premium racing game that they'd own outright for much less money than that.

      • wigzisonfire

        You sir speak pure sense.

      • iammane

        Amen Eli. 100% on the vice part. I think people who spend hundreds of dollars a month on consumable cigarettes are crazy, but hey, to each their own.

      • themostunclean

        Yes, but I'll have a real, physical tumor to show for it in time. Plus it makes me look super cool.

      • dawizerd

        Your common sense and reason have no place here, be gone at once from the Internet sir.

      • REkzkaRZ

        Eli, I understand the statement, "Don't make assumptions" b/c you make an ass out of yourself and an umption of everyone else.
        BUT ... $190 in IAP is a clear message -- the model is flawed b/c it makes dumb people embarassed and it makes smart fickle broke people upset.
        What's so wrong with playing really good games that cost $5 and 1 million people buy it?!? Or cheap $1 games that have 100 million people buy them? Or free games that let people pay $1 or so if the game is great with ONE IAP or similar?
        I understand you want to defend nerds who spend $400 on WOW, but I want to defend people who leave the house and put down their mobile devices.

  • pajman sarafzadeh

    is this success of fremium or more failure of Origin store. Honestly, i think its more about failure of origin store

  • GSport

    How stupid gamers must be to be feeding EA all of their cash. I have been playing Real Racing 3 since it released and have not spent a cent!

  • Lostpop21

    Now EA is going to think F2P is the way to go. BF5? F2P, and wouldnt even be surprised if it was... Not that all F2P is bad, im enjoying Empire: Four Kingdoms a bunch and am thinking about buying iap.

  • shaver

    The calls for fixed-price games are basically basically asking them to cut their player base and revenue savagely. People complained about Origin's DRM, but that stone can't really be thrown by iOS users. It doesn't underperform the App Store because of Origin's characteristics, but because of the app model. Requiring people (normal people) to buy a game based on screenshots and press releases, for a material amount, is swimming upstream. They don't have a thread in which to ask someone to TOFTT.

    Beyond unlocking/episodic, consumable (including cosmetic) purchases are basically the platonic ideal of price sensitivity partitioning. You don't have to do Westendorp questionnaire nonsense, customers do it for you (dynamically!).

    EA is going fine, both critically and financially: . "Digital shelves of boxed games" is just a model working from big disadvantages.

  • PumpkinEater78

    I honestly don't understand why people get up in arms about IAP and freemium stuff, or declare that no one should have to pay a cent for games that can be played for free.

    What happened to the "you get what you pay for" mentality? How can you NOT appreciate a game that you can legally play for free that doesn't completely suck?? Even if it sucks a little, I'm willing to overlook that because it's free.

    And if I'm enjoying it enough then I'll buy one or two things with real money just to show my support and appreciation for those responsible for my entertainment.

    Call me old-fashioned but I was a teenager when shareware came about, and I do now what I did then: I pay money for things I appreciate and enjoy and think are deserving of my patronage as a gamer since the tender age of 5.

    • nini

      You think and don't class IAPs as a pure evil, it's a good trait to have.

    • themostunclean

      The problem with most IAP is that the entire game is developed in a way that revolves around constant consumption of premium items. This is fine for casual time wasters but the model is seeping its way into "core" titles and that is why you see much of the outrage.

      Freemium can be done right but more often its used as a way to fleece ignorant consumers with a shoddy product. Its also a reflection of the materialistic, shallow, and narcissistic nature of our culture.

      • REkzkaRZ

        I'd read good reviews of Zynga's "Solstice Arena" MOBA game. I dloaded it, tried it, deleted it. I was wondering afterwards if all the good reviews were Zynga employees who want to keep their jobs.
        The game is entirely built around IAP characters. The gameplay (IMO) sucked, the animation (IMO) sucked, and like all of these weak-sauce IAP money-grubbing monstrosities, I kept getting pulled back to a store.

        Funny, I don't remember Conan constantly going shopping so he could kick ass better.

  • catharsis6163

    I've always blamed the companies for the iap disease infecting the apps store. It's now clear the consumers are to blame. Shame.

    • Karzay

      Large companies specialize in separating fools from their money. You can't blame stupid people for being stupid, can you?

      • REkzkaRZ

        You can't?
        Apparently these are 'market forces' at work. I was stunned to hear a coworker tell me he'd paid $5 for a 'flaming sword' in this game he was playing. And then he stopped playing that game.
        I haven't done it, but I do understand the lure of buying virtual reality in-game items. I read about the Japanese model, which was booming years before USA's version. The only problem with it is I don't want VR stuff!!!
        But, if the iPhone could deliver sexual favors -- OMG I'd be in trouble!

  • Maniacfive

    I am unashamedly giving EA cash for the Simpsons Tapped Out. It's freemium, I knew it was freemium, I know it's freemium I don't care. I will happily spend real money on it because, meh, I enjoy my McBain okay.

    I won't give em a penny for RR3 though. That was an abomination.

  • avcx

    In canada Minecraft Pocket Edition, has been number 1(or 2 but then goes back up to 1) for a year now!

  • shaver

    (When people waffle over paying ONE DOLLAR for a video game that sounds interesting, and want someone to TOFTT first, they're basically demonstrating why F2P has an advantage.)

    • REkzkaRZ

      I don't hate F2P. I don't like F2P where I'm getting constantly railed on to buy useless crap (for between $2-$10), asked to pay $5 not to see ads, and asked to pay to reload my virtual in-game useless currency.
      You'd think a gaming co would come up with this amazing idea I'm about to share (hint: EA) -- why not make an in-game currency that goes across all games? If people pay $5 to convert your Freemium game to get something or get rid of ads, why not give them a $1 equivalent "ormium crystal" (or similar pathetically named in-game currency) in ALL your games?
      Not sure why I think that'd be so good since I never pay IAP for games (although I did pay $1 to AppShopper to get rid of ads -- but mostly b/c I wanted to support them after I'd grabbed ~ $40 worth of freebies).
      Yeah, screw it -- I like F2P and I don't like IAP. HA HA HA

  • shaver

    Do posts with URLs get spam filtered? I don't see a comment I made here an hour ago, but a more recent one showed up right away. I did research for that comment!

  • Benegesserit

    I don't care if publishers are doing really well with the F2P model because it doesn't mean we'll get AAA titles but rather more F2P games. What a shame. Thank heavens for indie devs

  • Jake7905

    This news shows the power and potential of the mobile gaming market, and the money it can generate.
    This news also shows the bad judgement mobile gamers use when deciding what games to invest in.

    Free-to-play has to be the most brilliant, and misleading, marketing tool in the history of gaming. Don Draper would be proud.

  • tahzblade

    Hey touch arcade you should report on nvidias project logan . It brings next gen graphics to mobile .

  • SumoSplash

    Oh, the irony of reading about EA and Freemium while sitting on the toilet.


  • Earth Vs. Me

    I resent people who spend loads of money on F2P games because it encourages developers to makes less of the games I like to play and more of the games I don't. It that selfish? Yeah. But I don't care.

    I'm not about judging people for how they spend their money. You can get your kicks spending hundreds of dollars on old candy wrappers and soda cans for all I care. But as soon as your spending habits start negatively affecting the quality of the things I like, that's where I get annoyed.

    I want to play more premuim priced, full-feautured games like Deus Ex: The Fall on the App Store. I don't want to see a shift in the market where freemium becomes the standard.

  • Björn Larsson

    Would be nice if App Store "culture" embraced the age-old XBLA/PSN trial mentality a little more, i.e. games free to sample and players can unlock all content in one tap with a single purchase. Knowing Lodsys are still trolling about does not help this cause.

  • epik5

    ea is actually one of the worst companies i seen so far, but i got a few good games by them like mirror's edge and the simpsons but ea will always be one of the worst companies. They should remove origin and add all the battlefield games on steam instead keeping them on origin. Also the premium stuff you find on games such as battlefield 3 are also crap. This article really gave us a bad news

  • rewyan

    Well, the App Store is definitely changing. Most games used to be paid games with a lite version, to test it out. IAPs weren't as frequent and necessary to get the full enjoyment out of the game. There are also very few free games without IAPs anymore.

    I feel like "free" is just a stamp to lure people in. Then, to actually play, you need to open your wallet.

  • DingDong

    Really don't understand what some gamer boys' issues are with F2P and IAPs. When I was a kid, I spent SO MUCH money sticking 20 cent coins into table top games and pinball machines.... It's the same thing. Grow up, kids.

  • mutts

    Not so surprising, since the mobile games depend on IAP formula.
    And their origin games do not, these are mostly pc games, with DLC and require only one time purchase. As for their free to play games the ( while not necesary ) gamer often needs to buy stuff to advance qiucker. And there leis the trick they know how to make you want to buy.

  • pdSlooper

    Call me crazy, but I'mma go out on a limb here and say... just because freemium is successful doesn't mean every app is going to be freemium. There's always going to be good new games to play. Chillax, and shoot some aliens or something.

  • jonnyboi51

    Yea EA is getting to IAP forceful in RR3. Kinda destroyed the experience, and I even bought there car packs. So since they are making a ton of money they probably are not going to favor there loyal customers, but rather there extra large wallets instead. Gotta find a happy median!

  • Fybre0ptix

    Yeah, but your saying that they make more on the App Store than any other service. But the App Store is the only service on iOS. So wouldn't the correct way to represent it be how much they make on iOS vs how much they make on all other sales for Windows (i.e., Steam, Origin, GOG and retail, etc)?

  • halfcack

    Uh, huh, free !