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EA attempts to calm nervous investors during its annual stockholder meeting

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Electronic Arts’ stock has been in decline since the Battlefield 3 and The Sims 3 publisher warned investors of a tough upcoming quarter. Now EA is attempting to calm panicking stockholders.

During the company’s annual meeting with stockholders today, EA CEO John Riccitiello blamed the falling stock price on investors’ connection of EA with console retail gaming, a business that has been in decline. Riccitiello pushed EA’s new direction toward digital gaming, including mobile and social platforms, and touted the $1.2 billion the company earned in digital sales in the 2012 financial year.

Riccitiello compared a retail product like The Sims 3 with a CD — a one-time investment for the consumer — while a service like the music-streaming program Spotify can bring in constant revenue, something EA is hoping to achieve with games like The Sims Social.

Still, stockholders are clearly growing restless. During a question and answer section toward the end of the meeting, one investor said, “Every year you talk about how well EA is doing. Where is the return for shareholders?”

Riccitiello responded to concerns with a plea for patience, to wait for the digital revenue to continue to grow and for the new console cycle to bring life back into the retail market.

EA will release the earnings report for its first quarter of the 2013 fiscal year on July 31.