Electronic Arts profit surpasses Wall Street expectations

SAN FRANCISCO Tue Jul 22, 2014 8:00pm EDT

The Electronic Arts logo is pictured at the video game developers campus in Burnaby, British Columbia April 16, 2014.   REUTERS/Ben Nelms

The Electronic Arts logo is pictured at the video game developers campus in Burnaby, British Columbia April 16, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Ben Nelms

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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Video game publisher Electronic Arts Inc reported better-than-expected revenue and profit for the first quarter, driven by robust sales of titles such as "Titanfall," digital revenue and cost control.

"On the digital side, (we saw) great continued growth on mobile and PC full game downloads and our subscriptions business with all of those up dramatically," CFO Blake Jorgensen said in an interview.

Games such as "Ultimate Fighting Championship," soccer title "FIFA" and shooter game "Titanfall" were strong revenue drivers, Jorgensen said.

For the three months ended June 30, non-GAAP revenue rose about 57 percent to $775 million from a year ago, exceeding Wall Street analysts' estimates of $713.2 million, according to Thomson-Reuters I/B/E/S.

Non-GAAP net income rose to $61 million, or 19 cents per share, from a loss of $121 million, or 40 cents per share, a year ago. This also surpassed analysts' expectations of a net loss of 4 cents per share.

Electronic Arts shares were relatively unchanged after closing at $38.42 on the Nasdaq on Tuesday.

BATTLEFIELD DELAY

The Redwood City, California-based company said on Tuesday it postponed the launch of its military-style shooter game "Battlefield: Hardline" to early next year.

The title has been delayed to incorporate new features based on player feedback on its test version, executives told analysts on an earnings call.

The company also said the release of role-playing game "Dragon Age: Inquisition" has been moved forward six weeks to Nov. 18 in North America.

The company did not make changes to its previous forecast of non-GAAP revenue of $4.1 billion and earnings per share of $1.85 in the fiscal year ending March 2015.

"It's appropriately conservative ... They are obviously trying to be cautious given the changing release schedule," R.W. Baird analyst Colin Sebastian said. Video game industry software sales, which lagged in April and June, are seeing a boost as games for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 devices, which were launched last holiday, gain steam. But sales of titles for older consoles, which have a larger install base, continue to slip.

"We're right now at that place where we're still seeing headwinds," Jorgensen said.

Sales of the Microsoft Corp's Xbox One and Sony Corp's PlayStation 4 have been running 90 percent higher than their older versions, Jorgensen said.

Electronic Arts' shares have soared about 30 percent since it launched its Xbox exclusive sci-fi shooter game "Titanfall" on March 11.

The company is on track to launch a new iteration of its city-building "Sims" game later this year and annual installments of its "FIFA" and "Madden" franchises.

(Reporting by Malathi Nayak; Editing by Andre Grenon)

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