The Charticle: A year on from relaunch, The Simpsons is EA Mobile's biggest earner

Franchise generating $100 million per year

The Charticle: A year on from relaunch, The Simpsons is EA Mobile's biggest earner

There are two things everyone knows about The Simpsons: Tapped Out.

Back in March 2012, it had a disastrous launch, with EA Mobile eventually being forced to pull the game from the App Store because of server problems.

It returned in August and since then has demonstrated amazing resilience, being glued into the US top grossing top 10 ever since.

Indeed, during the first financial quarter of its launch (August - October 2012), EA happily told the world the game had generated $23 million dollars.

(It wasn't entirely clear if that was net or gross, and anyhow there will be a fat licensing fee to pay.)

Present date

Looking deeper into more recent figures, EA's SVP mobile publishing, Bernard Kim revealed the game now has 5.4 million daily active players - across iOS and Android.

This is up from 3.2 million DAUs during the launch quarter.

Kim also provided more information about the consumption of in-game currency, and on that basis I did a back-of-the-envelope calculation that suggested the in-game economy was worth about $58 million in the quarter April to June 2013.

Market intelligence company Distimo has its own estimate.

It reckons The Simpsons: Tapped Out generated $25 million of new in-app purchases in the period April to June.

That would see the game generating around $100 million per year; not bad considering EA Mobile's entire sales in FY13 were $339 million.

(For the record, my calculation also included consumption of coins previously purchased and those EA gives away in-game, while Distimo's was just for currency purchased by users during the period.)

Platform split

In terms of revenue breakdown, Distimo reckons the iOS version has generated 88 percent of sales (split 57 percent iPhone to 43 percent iPad) compared to 12 percent from devices using Google Play.

This is partly because the Android version wasn't released until February 2013. In addition, the game requires a 350 MB update once you've downloaded the 40 MB stub; something that Android users are less likely to want to undertake than those on iOS devices.

As would be expected, the top five revenue countries for The Simpsons: Tapped Out are the US (highest), followed by the UK, Canada, Germany and France.

The Simpsons: Tapped Out hasn't yet hit the #1 top grossing position on the US Google Play chart, but you wouldn't bet against it - via App Annie
The Simpsons' power as a global brand can be seen in the Russian iPhone top grossing chart

The Simpsons: Tapped Out has been comfortably in the top 100 top grossing iPhone games in South Korea

China is one of the few region in which the game hasn't seen consistently strong success

Another interesting point to note is that EA has released two versions of the game. For iOS, this is split into a version for the US and Canada, and one for the rest of the world. For Android, it's one version for the US, Canada, Mexico, Turkey and Argentina, and one for the rest of the world.

Presumably this is to better manage server issues.

More numbers

The final metrics we'll look at are those PocketGamer.biz uses to analyse games as part of its Monetizer process.

Our Success coefficient uses the ratio of the number of countries in which a game has been in the top 10 and top 100 top grossing charts, divided by the top grossing position in the US.

(The closer to 1, the more successful the game.)

For The Simpsons: Tapped Out, the Android version scores 0.04, the iPhone version scores 0.87 and the iPad version 0.95

Our Monetizer coefficient (a measure of how actively the first 10 minutes of a game looks to monetize its audience) sees the game scoring 49, well below the ceiling of 100 that we use to define active monetization.

You can see where it sits on our work-in-process graph here.

And, most significantly, when we look at the Discount Ratio (the ratio of the cost of a unit of hard currency comparing the cheapest real money transaction with the most expensive), The Simpsons: Tapped Out has scored the highest we've seen to-date - 4.

That means you get four times as many donuts per dollar if you spend $9.99 as if you spend $1.99; perhaps one good reason why the game remains the #1 earner for EA Mobile.

Distimo AppIQ provides download and revenue estimations for any app worldwide, based on daily sampling of transactional app data (>3 billion downloads / quarter) and publicly available information. When calculating downloads and revenues for individual apps, Distimo's unique methodology excludes that app's transactional data from the analysis to preserve the confidentiality of their users' data.

Jon Jordan
Jon Jordan
A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon can turn his hand to anything except hand turning. He is editor-at-large at PG.biz which means he can arrive anywhere in the world, acting like a slightly confused uncle looking for the way out. He likes letters, cameras, imaginary numbers and legumes.