Electronic Arts (EA) is
expanding its free-to-play gaming portfolio. EA recently announced
that its new puzzle game Tetris Blitz will be available
for free on both Apple's (AAPL) iOS and Google's (GOOG) Android based smartphones and tablets.
Tetris Blitz will also be available on Google Play and
Amazon's (AMZN) App store.
Tetris Blitz is set to release later this spring and
gamers will be able to download it for free. The game challenges
players to gather maximum points in a race against time. Players
can buy new power-ups (which will be updated every week) in order
to boost their scores.
Tetris Blitz not only features advanced graphics but
also innovative new controls, such as "Drag and Place" option, in
addition to the conventional "Swipe" option for the players who
prefer the classic mode. The new game has a social gaming mode
through Facebook Connect integration, which allows players to
compete with friends in a weekly competition.
Tetris Blitz is the first freemium game of the Tetris
franchise. Free-to-play games, popularly known as freemium games,
have become a rage among gamers. Although gamers access the game
for free, developers and publishers earn revenues through the sales
of in-game items and advertisement. The freemium model has gained
further momentum with the increasing popularity of social games,
co-operative games and mobile games.
The freemium model has garnered significant attention from
established game developers such as EA for their ability to attract
new gamers. The addictive nature of the games is one of the primary
reasons behind this increasing customer base. We believe that the
popularity of the Tetris brand coupled with its
availability on all leading mobile and tablet platforms will
benefit the new game going forward.
EA has been focusing on building its social free-to-play
portfolio to counter strong competition and also to offset
declining sales of its core packaging division. EA continues to
bring its well known franchises such as Star Wars ,
FIFA , The Sims , Warhammer ,
Command & Conquer , Battlefield and Need
for Speed in the freemium mode in order to gain significant
customer base going forward.
In the recently concluded third quarter, revenues from mobile
and other handheld devices increased 18.0% year over year to $99.0
million. Smartphones and tablets revenues were up 36% year over
year to $79.0 million. Moreover, extra content and free to play
revenues jumped 50.0% year over year to $185.0 million, while
publishing and other (62% of total revenue) segment revenues
plunged 39.0% year over year in the quarter to $742.0 million.
EA expects contribution from free-to-play, casual and social
games to increase to approximately 35.0% of worldwide digital
revenues by calendar year 2013. We believe that EA's strong digital
portfolio and continuing growth in the free-to-play and online
segment will drive top-line growth going forward.
However, we believe that soft video game industry performance,
particularly due to weakness in retail sales amid an aging console
system lifecycle, remains a concern in the near term. Although we
believe that the ongoing transition from the physical to the
digital platform will ultimately benefit the video game industry
(due to the cost effectiveness), low priced digital games have
failed to offset the rapid decline of high-priced retail sales in
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