The microtransaction-powered Ultimate Team add-on to the FIFA franchise has become a tremendous money-maker for Electronic Arts. In the three months following the launch of FIFA Soccer 12, the publisher has generated $39 million.
While that's good news for EA, it certainly feels shady in light of accusations that hackers are laundering money via FIFA 12 on Xbox Live.
Chief Financial Officer Eric Brown commented (via Joystiq): "We're looking to see a 25 percent increase franchise to franchise. The overall package goods units sold is not increasing by 25 percent year over year, so we are expanding by a decent margin the microtransaction revenue per user of FIFA." Essentially, the audience for FIFA isn't growing that dramatically--but the amount of money EA is making off of FIFA players is.
Could the hacking community be responsible for much of the revenue growth in this year's iteration of Ultimate Team? "A small number of gamers continue to report being impacted by fraudulent activity related to FIFA Ultimate Team on Xbox Live," an EA spokesperson told Shacknews. "New security measures have been enabled," EA promised.
EA will never admit to making money off of hackers. However, if the "new security measures" do their job and prevent hacks next year, and we see revenues for next year's Ultimate Team flatten, EA will have to answer not only to gamers--but to their investors as well.