There are over half a billion active EA player accounts, Apex Legends driving digital spending

There are over half a billion active EA player accounts, Apex Legends driving digital spending

Publishing giant Electronic Arts has revealed that it has more than 500m active player accounts as of the end of the 2019 fiscal year.

That's according to CEO Andrew Wilson (pictured), who - speaking to investors as transcribed by Seeking Alpha - said that this was driven by its existing live games in addition to new IP such as Apex Legends. The top exec also said that close-to 30 per cent of the free-to-play battle royale title's players were new to EA, likely younger players drawn in by big streaming and YouTube personalities giving the game a shot.

Furthermore, Wilson said that there are 3.5m subscribers to EA Origin and EA Access on PC and Xbox platforms, a figure that's set to grow with the all-you-can-eat service coming to PlayStation 4, too.

This figure and the 500m stat from the head of the story are important as Electronic Arts - like Google and Microsoft - targets the streaming and subscription business models

As a result of the aforementioned new audience, net bookings - on-going spending - was up 14 per cent year-on-year with CFO Blake Jorgensen citing both Apex Legends and Anthem for this figure. The finance boss said that digital net bookings are now 75 per cent of EA's business, an increase on the 68 per cent seen in the previous fiscal year.

Apex Legends, too, drove live services net bookings – on-going spending on season passes and so on – which brought in $845m, an increase of 24 per cent.

Looking at PC and console digital games, Electronic Arts saw an increase of ten per cent year-on-year. The firm now sees that 49 per cent of its sales are digital on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, with Anthem being "the most digital game" that EA has ever launched. This is likely due to the plethora of digital launch deals on BioWare's MMO.

Electronic Arts is predicting that it will sell between six and eight million between its launch at the end of 2019 and the end of the 2020 fiscal year in March, while a brand new Need for Speed title predicted to shift four million units. Interestingly, EA isn't willing to put a forecast figure on a forthcoming Plants vs Zombies title, likely due to the fact that series is aimed at a slightly younger audience whose tastes and spending power are hard to predict in a post-Fortnite world.

The publishing giant expects that boxed sales will drop four per cent for the coming year, while digital net bookings will see a six per cent rise. The live services segment of that figure will be growing 10-to-15 per cent, driven by the likes of Apex Legends, FIFA Ultimate Team and The Sims 4.

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.