"The Simpsons: Tapped Out," EA's "freemium" game for iPhone and iPad that has users building their own Springfields with characters and tasks closely tied into the show, attracted 6.93 million players in October for its "Treehouse of Horror" update, according to EA. That's more than the 6.57 million U.S. viewers who watched the "Treehouse of Horror" episode on TV.
EA and "The Simpsons" have previously partnered on a number of mobile games, including titles that predate the launch of the App Store as well as "The Simpsons Arcade" for Apple's operating system. But "The Simpsons: Tapped Out," which requires a web connection to play, is the only live-service mobile game tied to a hit prime-time show.
"Tapped Out" puts players to work rebuilding Springfield from scratch after Homer, distracted by his "MyPad" from his work at the nuclear-power plant, causes a meltdown. Users can speed the process with doughnuts either earned by completing tasks or bought with real money. Prices range from a dozen doughnuts for $1.99 to 2,400 doughnuts for $99.99.
Players have used more than 3.1 billion doughnuts in the game, most of which were bought with real money, according to Steve Stamstad, VP-marketing for EA Mobile and Social Publishing. He declined to say how much money players have spent to buy doughnuts."