Although gamers may not be fond of post-release DLC, there’s no question it’s here to stay. Even while some companies, like Witcher 3 developer CD Projekt Red, are offering DLC for free, others are raking in huge profits in the after market. In some cases, there are publishers out there who make enough profit of DLC to support a small company.
One such company who saw huge margins from DLC in recent months was Electronic Arts. With several notable titles released within 2014, EA was likely to make a sizable profit regardless, but the added bonus of DLC money was actually more lucrative when it comes to total digital downloads.
According to a recent Digital Net Revenue chart (seen below) from Electronic Arts, “Extra Content” in Q3 saw a 47% percent bump when compared to the same quarter last year. In total, all of EA’s DLC sales accounted for some $314 million worth of revenue in Q3, which is substantially greater than digital game sales and a large portion of the company's total $693M net digital revenue.
Included in EA’s $693 million Digital Net Revenue is $100 million for subscriptions and ads – a tally that includes the new EA Access subscription service – as well as $139 million for mobile. And that’s all just for a single quarter. Over the last 12 months, EA has netted $921 million in Extra Content revenue, $340M in subs, and $497M in mobile.
There’s no question that, with EA Sports' microtransaction-heavy market (Ultimate Team continues to be huge for the publisher) and post-release DLC for every EA release under the sun, the company would make a solid profit. But even more impressive than that is the fact that EA’s DLC revenue is growing. Well, maybe impressive isn’t the right word.
Some would argue that EA has started to lock out major pieces of essential content in the hopes of gaining a little extra through DLC sales. Games like Titanfall and Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare launched with limited options, however those who wanted more could simply pay extra and get them. But while gamers could have showed their disappointment regarding paid DLC by not buying these post-release pieces, these numbers suggest the move worked for EA.
That’s all to say that paid DLC is not going anywhere anytime soon. Even as retail game sales might be trending downward, EA has seemingly found a way to offset those losses with new sources of revenue. DLC costs so little and clearly generates so much that it’s hard to argue with the results. The motives may be suspect, but that’s another issue entirely.
Do you expect to see DLC trends change in the next year? Have you contributed to EA’s DLC sales?