Electronic Arts sees traffic drop in Q4 2012, bringing more brands to social games platforms

Electronic Arts’ social games lost nearly 3 million monthly active users and 1.2 million daily active users between Q3 and Q4 of FY 2012, but the company is hoping to bring in traffic by launching new social games over the fiscal next year.

The company’s earnings statement reveals it had 49 million MAU playing its social games, down from almost 52 million MAU at the start of the quarter. This number is up year-on-year from Q4 2011, though, when the company had 36 million MAU. EA had 10.7 million DAU at the beginning of the quarter but was down to 9.5 million by the end; this is lower than Q4 2011, which ended with 11.2 million DAU.

Revenue for EA’s digital segment (which includes social, mobile and digital downloads) showed continued growth for the third straight quarter in a row, increasing by 24 percent quarter-over-quarter to $87 million in Q4 2012. While Facebook game revenues weren’t broken out individually, CEO John Riccitiello did say during the Q&A portion of EA’s earnings call that the company’s social games are less profitable than its console titles.

Riccitiello also revealed during the investor call that EA plans to launch 41 games over the 2013 fiscal year across mobile, social and free-to-play platforms. President Peter Moore confirmed that Facebook will see new game releases from Sim City developer Maxis in Q1 2013 as well as one new game each from EA Playfish and EA PopCap. Details on these games were not given due to EA’s concern over being beaten to market by a clone.

EA’s social game business increased rapidly in summer and fall of last year after acquiring PopCap and launching The Sims Social. At one point in September 2011, the developer was No. 2 on AppData‘s social game developer leaderboard behind Zynga, with over 102 million MAU and DAU above 18 million. The Sims Social proved a tough act to follow, however, and EA’s subsequent social games — Risk: Factions, Lucky Gem Casino and Solitaire Blitz — haven’t seen nearly as strong a reception. The developer also recently revealed it will shut down Playfish’s classic Facebook Restaurant City next month. Currently, EA is the No. 4 Facebook game developer in both DAU and MAU behind Zynga, Wooga and King.com.

Beyond FY 2013, EA is planning to launch improvements and expansions on its monetization, retention and acquisition strategy. Playfish co-founder Kristian Segerstrale is currently working with a team of analysts on this project; EA says to expect announcements from him at an E3 investor breakfast next month.