New SEC filings published today have revealed that the Ultimate Team modes in Electronic Arts’ various sports-related offerings have netted the company an eye-watering $1.62 billion during the fiscal year 2021. According to EA, a “substantial portion” of that revenue was derived from FIFA.
Profits from the game mode, which is available in the company’s FIFA, Madden, and NHL franchises, have increased year on year since their inception back in 2008. In 2015, the company reported earnings from Ultimate Team of $587m, with 2018 being the first year that the loot box extravaganza crossed the $1 billion barrier. 2020’s filings saw the company reporting returns of $1.49bn, meaning that this latest filing shows a $130m uptick.
With the global pandemic causing many folks to be locked down and playing more video games than ever before, this news isn’t really much of a surprise. However, with many world governments looking at regulating or banning loot boxes outright, EA is going to need to think fast to find a way to replace what would be (we assume) a catastrophic amount of lost revenue. Industry insiders believe that a switch to a subscription-based model may be on the cards for EA’s sporting franchises, though how gamers would react to being asked to pay monthly for products that barely seem to change from one year to the next remains to be seen.