On the Call: Electronic Arts executives

Video game publisher Electronic Arts Inc. posted stronger-than-expected results for its fiscal first quarter on Tuesday, boosted by sales of games such as “Portal 2.” EA has been looking to expand the digital side of its business, which is growing at a much faster rate than packaged video game sales. During a conference call, CEO John Riccitiello and EA Sports President Peter Moore answered an analyst’s question about games on Facebook.

QUESTION: I was wondering if you could give us color on the steps with Facebook? I think I heard you say average lifetime revenue per user is $56. Can you give us a little maybe color on what percentage of users are actually paying to play the games and if you could just remind me what games specifically you are seeing the $56 lifetime revenue for?

MOORE’S ANSWER: There are three games we’re looking at: “Madden Superstars,” ”FIFA Superstars” and “World Series Superstars” games. The metric I’m referring to is average revenue per paying user. When we look at lifetime value right now, the $56 is cumulated spend of the people who actually pay us. We are not breaking out paying users yet, but you as can imagine, such is the nature of these games (that) it’s in the small single digits, a great majority of people still play for free and we enjoy them adding to the ecosystem of that type of game.

RICCITIELLO’S ANSWER: One of the positive aspects of Facebook Credits, is the primary impediment to getting above low to mid-single digits for paying users among the total audience of those playing is (that) many people don’t want to stop game play and enter a credit card. As the Facebook Credits ecosystem expands and they see third or half or three-quarters of users with credit balances, we think that is a growth engine for us and if you will a playfield leveling program for Electronic Arts and social.