One of EA’s biggest ostensible money-makers is Ultimate Team, a mode across many of its EA Sports brand titles that sees players collecting cards and building teams out of their pulls. These modes are full of in-game purchases of course, but fans of these games generally seem happy to open their wallets. However, a new report from SuperData shows that, despite EA’s sports offerings this year being well-received, and despite Ultimate Team showing growth, it’s incredibly small growth and an underperformance compared to last year.
The report from SuperData is based on revenue data from November 2018, a month that we’ve reported on before to be utterly dominated by Red Dead Redemption 2. Many games built of service models appeared to decline in monetization revenue as a result (there could be more to it as well of course), including Destiny 2 and Rainbow Six Siege. This time, across both Madden and FIFA, revenue from the ultimate team modes only grew 1%. That’s certainly some growth, but last year’s year-over-year growth was a whopping 25%. That’s a pretty huge difference.
What could have caused such a sharp decline, if the games themselves have been received as well as they usually are? SuperData doesn’t offer a possible reason here, but if you connect the dots with the other stories from the report, along with the NPD data, there is definitely a pattern. Games like Red Dead Redemption 2 and Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 seem to be tearing up the competition, making it difficult for other games to hit through November, and that doesn’t include other factors like Fortnite hogging up all the microtransaction money. But without all of the data, it’s going to be tough as usual to draw clear conclusions.
Ultimate Team Revenue Drops Compared to Last Year in November 2018