EA Hopes Facebook's 290 Million Gamers Can Save Business

With significant financial losses sullying its books, Electronic Arts needs to claim a bigger share of Facebook's gaming community.

Electronic Arts Chief Executive Officer John Schappert said his company will work harder to claim a bigger share of Facebook’s gaming community; he tallies that market at 290 million users, slightly larger than the previously thought 250 million, yet still roughly proportionate to half the size of the entire social network.

If Schappert hadn’t conveyed a goal of getting more Facebook gamers he would have looked even worse than he already did during EA’s latest quarterly earnings announcement this week, in which the company disclosed a net loss of $322 million. Clearly this developer needs to catch up with the rest of the crowd making applications for social games, which is growing about 30 percent over the next two years, according to eMarketer.

Right now, EA ranks fifth among Facebook developers, based on both daily and monthly active users. The former amounts to 6,341,402 and the latter totals 36,269,000. However, the number of people who play every day has dropped by 356,710, or about 5.6 percent.

The developer’s two most popular games on the social network account for most of the losses. Pet Society lost 46,989 daily users, and Restaurant City lost 22,542. The former has 1,956,474 daily users and 11,413,218 on a monthly basis, while the latter has 1,759,403 daily and 7,490,623 monthly. Both games are also showing significant losses on a monthly basis as well.

These dips in gamer numbers aren’t even limited to just the most recent quarter. Like Schappert told investors during the when the company announced its net loss, “Last year we saw a drop off in games related to changes on the Facebook platform, but we are encouraged by the recent turnaround.”

The Motley Fool points out that some of EA’s financial losses stem from investments in new capital, which at least theoretically could help boost growth in the future. However, the personal finance website also says that 48 percent of the developer’s operating cash comes from “questionable sources,” which includes things like accounting maneuvers. In other words, even the numbers in black ink don’t look good.

Readers, do you think EA will be able to raise its game on Facebook or does the developer have longer-term troubles ahead?