EA Signs Five-Year Agreement With Facebook

A new agreement will make Facebook Credits the exclusive currency of all the company's Facebook games.

Facebook Credits is the exclusive method of payment for Electronic Arts Inc. games on the social network, under the terms of a five-year contract the two companies signed. The move follows a similar arrangement announced by EA competitor Zynga in the spring of this year, and the timing seems to coincide with word that a new gaming portal will soon launch on the social network.

Under the terms of the agreement, EA will receive the same 70 percent share of Facebook Credits revenues that is standard for all developers, according to a press release distributed on Business Wire this morning. It also said:

Pet Society™ and Restaurant City from Playfish™, a division of EA, continue to be two of the top 10 games on Facebook measured by daily active users, and EA has extended two of its most popular sports franchises into successful social gaming experiences, which are now the leading soccer and football games on Facebook. The company also recently announced the upcoming launch of the latest execution of the world’s favorite family game brand*, MONOPOLY for Facebook. In addition, Pogo™ Games™ on Facebook, currently in beta, brings what has made Pogo great for more than 10 years to an even wider audience of people who are looking for new ways to play, share and compete with their friends. At launch, Pogo players will have access to approximately 20 games in one location, including Pogo favorites like Poppit!™ and Word Whomp as well as Hasbro games such as SCRABBLE (in the U.S. and Canada) and BOGGLE.

Nearly half of Facebook’s 500-million-plus users play games on the social network each month, and most of the action has the brand Zynga on it. Half of the top ten applications on the social network have the Zynga stamp, including the number one, Farmville, which has ranked as the most popular for — well, a long time. EA, by comparison, comes third in the rankings, but in raw numbers has less than a quarter of the user base that Zynga enjoys.

That corresponds with Zynga having had a Facebook Credits exclusive since spring and EA only now catching up with that. Rumor has it that Zynga may have a sweeter deal than the stated standard 70 percent cut of revenues, but we have yet to see confirmation of that. I suspect that the real difference between the two gaming developers’ arrangements on the social network will become visible once the new games portal goes live: It would make perfect sense to prioritize the layout of the landing page based on popularity.