There is no doubt that freemium games are all the rage. Our most recent forecast has virtual goods taking off as a business model. Our newest developer survey shows that developers are wildly interested in generating revenue from virtual goods. Freemium has turned overnight developer sensations into millionaires. Freemium has indeed arrived and with it has come opportunity for lesser known companies such as Teamlava, Glu, and Big Fish Games and others to gain mindshare and revenue at the behest of industry stalwarts. One of these stalwarts is EA which has yet to fully embrace freemium - until now. So, why support freemium? To take advantage of a fast movign market opportunity and blunt the incursion of new competitors gaining momemtun via freemium games.
EA has dominated paid games and will look to dominate freemium as well. The company had the most developer appearances (a developer can appear multiple times per week if they have more than one app available) for paid (i.e. not costing $0.00) apps in the top grossing list for iPhone and iPad thus far in 2012. However, when it came to number of appearances on the "free to download" top grossing list (generating revenue from subscription or in-app virtual goods) EA dropped to 7 on iPhone and 12 on iPad.
The decline in rank doesn't tell the entire story however as EA's share of top ten developer appearances (number of times a developer has appeared in the list in 2012) declined dramatically as seen in the chart below. In fact, EA didn't even have enough appearances to crack the ten most frequently appearing developers for top grossing free to download iPad apps in 2012!
This chart proves that even the largest, most successful of companies need to keep abreast of emerging trends and move quickly and decisively to take advantage of the ever changing mobile apps space.
For a more in-depth analysts on EA and the gaming industry read our mobile gaming index.