Digital sales carry EA to a successful first quarter of FY 2017

The publisher also saw a spike in EA Access subscribers and Battlefield players during the spring, but PC sales were down.

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Electronic Arts' first quarter of the 2017 fiscal year ended on June 30, and the juggernaut publisher/developer released financial results. Overall, EA surpassed its projections thanks to brisk digital business.

EA pointed to Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes and FIFA's Ultimate Team mode as two of the biggest contributors to digital sales. Of the company's net revenue, 54 percent came from digital: revenue from full game downloads constituted a 15 percent boost of $137 million; downloadable content jump 3 percent to $300 million; mobile rose by 16 percent, or $165 million; and the "other category," accounting for ads and digital subscriptions, spiked 23 percent, or $87 million.

Battlefield games drew an audience of 11.5 unique players, with Battlefield 4's player base leading the pack. Approximately 6.6 million players traveled to galaxies far, far away in Star Wars Battlefront, and EA Access subscribers more than doubled year-over-year.

Consoles, mobile platforms, and PCs were a mixed bag. Consoles and mobile platforms produced more digital revenue compared to Q1 2016, but the "PC and other" category dipped by 25 percent. Generating $145 million compared to $195 million in Q1 2016 and $173 million in 2015, "PC and other" came in behind mobile ($165 million) and consoles ($377 million).

Interestingly, EA's reports made no mention of Mirror's Edge Catalyst, which launched during the quarter and released to mostly tepid reviews.

EA disclosed its FY calendar through March 2017. Mass Effect Andromeda was listed as a Q4 title. For its next quarter, EA will be planning conservatively—somewhat of a surprise given that a new Madden NFL game, always a strong earner, launches next month, well within the Q2 timeframe.

Long Reads Editor

David L. Craddock writes fiction, nonfiction, and grocery lists. He is the author of the Stay Awhile and Listen series, and the Gairden Chronicles series of fantasy novels for young adults. Outside of writing, he enjoys playing Mario, Zelda, and Dark Souls games, and will be happy to discuss at length the myriad reasons why Dark Souls 2 is the best in the series. Follow him online at davidlcraddock.com and @davidlcraddock.

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