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EA exec: Mobile gaming driving revenue like never before

NEW YORK ? An Electronic Arts Inc. executive said that mobile gaming accounts for more than 50 percent of all revenue generated from mobile applications during her keynote at the Mobile Marketing Forum.

The fact that more than half of all application revenue comes from mobile games is all the more striking given that mobile games make up only 17 percent of all applications, according to EA. In the case of Apple, the numbers are even more eye-popping: In the iTunes App Store, 75 percent of all revenue is generated from games for the iPhone, iPod touch and the iPad.

?One out of every four dollars today is spent on interactive entertainment, that is, some type of game,? said Elizabeth Harz, senior vice president of global sales at Electronic Arts, Redwood City, CA. ?Gaming has even overtaken Hollywood blockbusters.

?Games dominate mobile apps?games only account for 17 percent of all apps available, but account for more than 50 percent of all revenue generated,? she said. ?If you look at Apple?s apps revenue, 75 percent of it is from games.?

EA is an international developer, marketer, publisher and distributor of video games.

Currently, EA's most successful products are sports games published under its EA Sports label such as Madden NFL and Tiger Woods PGA Tour, games based on popular movie licenses such as Harry Potter and games from long-running franchises like Need for Speed, Medal of Honor, The Sims, Battlefield, Rock Band and Left 4 Dead.

EA Mobile and The Tetris Co. recently launched a Facebook social networking application called The Human Tetris Project that links to mobile devices (see story).

Mobile gaming is blowing up
Gartner predicts a 19 percent increase in consumer spending on mobile gaming over last year, which means that $5.6 billion will be spent globally this year.

That number is expected to more than double to $11 billion spent on mobile gaming in 2014.
And the demographics of who is playing mobile games is constantly expanding, with more female gamers and more gamers of all ages downloading and playing mobile games every day.

?Who is playing? The demographics and psychographics represented in the gaming audience  today are completely different, not just because of the proliferation of devices but the breadth of content that is out there,? Ms. Harz said. ?Gamers still do skew slightly male?43 percent of people who are playing are women.?

A perfect example of the expanding mobile gaming demographic is iPad users, which Ms. Harz calls ?the next great gaming platform.?

According to AdColony, iPad users look a lot like iPhone owners. They skew older, male and more affluent, and 43 percent already have an iPhone. Nearly half?49 percent?own an iPod touch device.

Forty-four percent of iPad users have a household income of $100,000 or more, while 58 percent have a bachelor?s and/or graduate degree.

?The iPad explodes the accessibility, portability and quality of mobile games, and the growth in the next few years and even the next few months will be extraordinary,? Ms. Harz said. ?Madden NFL 11 is an example of EA bringing a successful franchise from the iPhone to the iPad, but we?re able to do additive things that only this device allows.

?EA?s top content has gone mobile?Need for Speed, Madden, NBA Live, Fight Night, Monopoly and Scrabble,? she said. ?We have whole studios focused on taking a combination of art and science and making great apps for people to reach customers on the go and engage that elusive tech-savvy consumer demographic.?

EA monetizes its mobile games via various models?free and ad-supported, freemium, paid and paid with sponsorship.

?Mobile opportunities [for advertisers] range from branded sponsorship naming to traditional banners?we make sure to cover our bases,? Ms. Harz said.

?Clearly we want to go for scale, so we?ll take banners and interstitial ads you?ve built for other solutions, but we also do very unique and interesting sponsorships that let you tap your creative talent and do things that are unique for the medium ranging across the demographics and psychographics you?re interested in, not just the boys in the basement,? she said.

While pay-per-download is a staple of the company, it is a big believer in the power of mobile advertising.

?Mobile ads are much more effective than other channels?mobile advertising works,? Ms. Harz said. ?Dynamic Logic data shows that mobile campaigns consistently outperform online, with average purchase intent generated from mobile ads five times or more than online.

?Mobile advertising has a positive impact on all brand metrics,? she said. ?We?re very bullish about what?s possible.

?Brands can garner affinity with mobile paid editions?in-game integrations offer brand affinity and the richest advertising opportunities.?

For example, DirecTV sponsored the Madden 10 iPhone launch. The brand leveraged EA?s NFL relationship to support its Sunday Ticket initiative to drive sign up via sponsorship of the start-up screens, in-game coin toss and half-time report.

Advertisers can also sponsor branded virtual content within mobile games.

For example, a retailer such as Best Buy or Target could sponsor a branded virtual store or electronics pack that gamers can access, or a brand such as Vans could let games upgrade their avatar?s footwear to a pair of Half Cabs.

?Sponsors can bring their own products to the player,? Ms. Harz said. ?The player doesn?t have to pay and the player gets to sport the brand they love?it?s getting the brand out there in the virtual world.

?A brand can also add enhancements to the game, which lets a player have greater success within the game, and that?s a big deal to gamers,? she said.