EA: PC Becoming Largest Gaming Platform

Electronic Arts yesterday reported its quarterly results with net revenue of $860 million, down $267 million as compared with $1.13 billion for the prior year. Even with the dropping results, losses weren’t as bad. Net loss for the quarter was $42 million, as compared with a net loss of $94 million for the prior year.

According to Shacknews’ listen-in on the earnings call, EA has seen its digital direct revenue grow to $400 million in the last fiscal year, and digital game distribution nearly doubled in revenue year-over-year to $80 million.

With many gaming PCs being net-enabled--at least more so than gaming consoles--the computer gamer is seen as a big market for digital distribution.

"In terms of distribution, the way we look at a lot what's happening in the future is, we've got probably a billion PCs out there in the world," said EA CFO Eric Brown. "Very rapidly the PC is becoming the largest gaming platform in the world, just not in a packaged-good product."

While the PC is a games platform that is constantly evolving with new GPUs and updated APIs, the console market is one that sees a full reboot every handful of years. EA CEO John Riccitiello said that he’s seeing the console lifecycle slow down a little bit, perhaps with this generation riding for longer than the usual four to five years.

"I think that [console] arms race, while I can never say that it's done, the relevance of doing that faster.. seems to have subsided," said Riccitiello.

Riccitello may be right. Although the Xbox 360 debuted in 2005 and the PS3 and Wii the following year, the entire generation still seems to be growing in their own respective niches.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • I find this kinda amusing, seeing how if pc gaming is becoming the largest gaming platform, then why are the gamers being treated like second-class citizens, getting games way later than their console counterparts, and a large portion of those are horribly unoptimized. at the very least the pc versions should be available from digital distrobution on the same day as the console versions with the retail version coming out later.
    PC > Console
  • Luscious
    Largest gaming platform - is that why they made installing BF2 and getting it to work such a PITA?
  • Turas
    Aren't they the ones that make Madden? Didn't the stop releasing Madden to the PC last year?

    It was the one game I buy every year. Play it for like a month and then shelve it till next year when I buy the new copy.
  • tayb
    The millions and millions of more games sold for the consoles each year as opposed to the PC say "hi." PC gaming won't ever become the largest gaming platform again unless you consider a console a "computer."
  • eklipz330
    you think their losses has to do with them redirecting valuable resources into the DRM department, only to realize their losing more money than they're saving?

    I have to admit, when i was younger i did torrent games, but i never had the intention of buying them because i was poor and had no money. BUT BECAUSE I DID TORRENT THEM THEN, and I have money now, I totally want the business to benefit for great games. if i want to try a game now, i demo it. i think it worked for their benefit as well as mine. sorry for my little life story, i live my life on tangents
  • Geibys
    I Don't know about you guys, but why should PC gamers care about EA. Installing Spore for some of us was hell, Need For Speed Undercover was a disaster, unless you like bad frame-rates, and they took away Madden and Tiger Woods from PC. If EA wants my well earned money I suggest they stop with the DRM because it doesn't stop pirates it just gives them a challenge, and also they could think about making PC games for PC and not just port them from consoles. The Keyboard and Mouse are the most flexible input devices you could use for a game and it seems they forgot about it, not everyone has a gamepad.
  • apache_lives
    tis because "mum and dad" dont want to spend a $#$#$%^^ load of cash on a console when they can spend a bit more on a computer for "homework", then the kids nag for a video card, then its a gaming system, then upgrades and so on - its the widest platform for everything - ofcourse its the biggest.
  • tayb
    I cannot honestly say I am surprised a negative comment about the state of PC gaming gets a vote down. The numbers, however, tell the real story.

    PC Gaming software retail sales for 2008 were at $700 million. Even if you think that retail sales only account for 1/3 of all sales (not even close to realistic) that would put PC gaming at $2.1 billion for the year. Console software sales easily eclipsed that mark in December 2008 alone + about $600 million. It isn't even close.

    Like I said, PC gaming will never be the largest gaming platform again, ever. Even if you consider each console to be a separate platform PC gaming is still pathetically far behind compared individually against the Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and Nintendo Wii. Oh, the graphics look great, but the game sales don't. The game sales look awful.
  • NuclearShadow
    tayb is right the PC will never be #1 again. But I think this is a good thing for PC gaming notice how 99% of the junk games only make it to the consoles?