EA Mobile used today’s opening of the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco to show off a new edition of Scrabble for Facebook and the iPhone.
The latest edition of Scrabble connects the Facebook Scrabble application to a Scrabble game on the iPhone and iPod touch – or vice versa – allowing players access to the game anytime.
“It’s Scrabble anytime, anywhere,” says Adam Sussman, head of worldwide publishing at EA Mobile. One user at a PC can play another user on an iPhone, and users can nudge one another to prompt the next move.
EA Mobile launched the Scrabble game in the Apple App Store last summer, and it has been a top-selling app; it now ranks No. 32 among all paid apps, including non-gaming apps. The game sells for $4.99, but the Facebook update is free.
While parent company Electronic Arts has reduced headcount, the mobile division is growing. In fact, EA Mobile is seeing an “explosion” in demand from consumers for mobile games, Sussman says. In the fiscal third quarter, the company reported $50 million in revenue and 28 percent year-over-year growth for EA Mobile.
A lot of growth is driven by the Apple App Store, where more than 30 percent of people with an iPhone have downloaded a game application compared with the average conversion rate of 6 percent to 8 percent. “Apple has done a phenomenal job with the user interface and merchandizing to make it easy and accessible” for consumers to find games, he says, adding that it represents just one platform and one device.
Recognizing that developers can’t be everywhere with the same level of commitment, EA Mobile also has to make choices about which platforms it goes after. Much of those decisions are based on the installed base of a device and the momentum and popularity of their associated application store or marketplace, Sussman says. “The intention is for us to distribute as broadly as possible” with key partners, he adds. EA Mobile also sells its mobile games through carriers and third parties such as Handango.