Mobile gaming – does it again – EA Simpsons game smashing it for EA.

You may have read a bit on the web and even in the traditional press that games consoles aren’t doing to well. My own PlayStation3 has broken and I am tempted not to bother replacing it. Now you MUST realize I love gaming and I love playing computer games. But my PS3 hasn’t done anything new for me, for years, apart from some big releases.

My Playstation is a bit like cinema for me. Some great experiences – some amazing full on moments. But that’s it done. 1 player. Story mode. Old School. Partly because of how I play them. But also because of the architectural moment i.e. Playstation’s don’t move. They need a TV screen. They are big, big graphics – but scary for people like EA – big numbers but not big numbers of releases and not really BIG profits.

Mobile, however, is different!  Which is why they started investing in mobile years ago. And they are starting to reap the rewards. As Electronic Arts’ mobile games and services, including handhelds, generated approximately $100 million in revenue during its third fiscal quarter ending Dec. 31, an 18 percent year-over-year increase that helped the firm offset ongoing declines in its console business.

“The major portion of [mobile] revenue was driven by smartphones and tablets, which accounted for $79 million, growing 36 percent year-over-year,” Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President Blake Jorgensen said during EA’s earnings call Wednesday.

EA singled out the success of The Simpsons: Tapped Out, the freemium iOS title first introduced in early 2012. The game generated more than $23 million in revenues during the final three months of last year. Which is interesting as I almost bought this one on Andriod but didn’t.

In addition, EA said its Origin platform for downloading games and services has now registered over 39 million users, including 17 million mobile users. Eighty-six independent developers have signed up to offer their content through the Origin platform.

Despite EA’s advances in mobile, the company reported third quarter fiscal 2013 net revenues of $922 million, down from $1.06 billion a year ago. Net losses narrowed to $45 million, compared with $205 million in the year-ago quarter. “The revenue shortfall was a result primarily of a miss with our Medal of Honor title and stronger-than-expected sector headwinds for console packaged goods,” CEO John Riccitiello said.

Next up for EA: Real Racing 3, a driving game for iOS and Android, scheduled to launch in North America on Feb. 28. “We are actively developing Android applications for our key brands to address that growing market as well,” Jorgensen said.

Fair play is all I can say. They have realised the power of mobile and mobile gaming. What will be interesting to see whether they also see the power of puzzles and China – but that’s another story.
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