EA: Facebook has 290m gamers

EA: Facebook has 290m gamers

By Rob Crossley

February 3rd 2011 at 5:58PM

FIFA and The Sims firm to bank more franchises on the social network

Publishing giant Electronic Arts has indicated it will throw more weight behind the Facebook games platform.

Speaking at an earnings report this week, where the publisher reported a $322 million net loss, an EA exec said Facebook remained integral to the firm’s future.

“Last year we saw a drop off in games related to changes on the Facebook platform, but we are encouraged by the recent turnaround,” said EA chief John Schappert.

Those changes are most likely a reference to Facebook’s decision to prohibit games spamming user news feeds – a move which, though it pleased the majority of users, gave developers a bigger hill to climb.

EA believes the Facebook platform, and its developers, have recovered from this transition.

“We’re seeing an increase in game traffic on Facebook and believe the site has stabilised with a current estimate of 290 million gamers playing an average of 3.5 hours per month,” Schappert added.

The EA COO added that its subsidiary, Playfish, is Facebook’s second-biggest games publisher – though independent data puts it far behind pole-positioned Zynga.

Facebook bought Playfish in 2009 for as much as $400 million.

“Our leadership on mobile and smart phones taught us a great deal about how these new platforms evolve,” Schappert added.

EA will keep to its ‘quality over quantity’ ethos for social gaming, Schappert said.

“We know that consumers are attracted to new experiences, but quickly aggregate behind high quality and the brands and franchises they recognize from other media,” he said.

“Last year, EA Sports launched Madden NFL Superstars and FIFA Superstars on Facebook – both games have loyal followings and strong monetization.

“In 2011, you’ll see more of EA’s big franchises come to Facebook as well new, original offerings.