Electronic Arts reported better-than-expected first-fiscal quarter earnings thanks to the release of a big multiplayer shooter game for the Xbox platform.
The release of the Xbox One-exclusive Titanfall in March (and on PC) and the Xbox 360 version in April helped EA report better earnings in the quarter ended June 30. But not all of the news was good: The giant publisher delayed two of its big fall releases, Battlefield: Hardline and Dragon Age: Inquisition.
Analysts had expected EA to report non-GAAP revenue of $709 million and a loss of 4 cents a share. EA’s own guidance was for revenue of $700 million and a loss of 5 cents a share. EA reported non-GAAP revenue of $775 million and earnings per share of 19 cents.
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“It was a strong start to the year for Electronic Arts. We are committed to putting our players first and delivering the entertainment, innovation and creativity that our players want,” said chief executive officer Andrew Wilson. “Through exciting new titles and fresh content in our live services, we are well-positioned to deliver on that commitment in FY15 and beyond.”
EA’s earnings are closely watched as it is a bellwether for both the traditional and digital games businesses. Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, said in a note before the earnings release that EA has a good lineup for the year, with titles like Battlefield Hardline and Need for Speed coming this fall (though Pachter didn’t know about the Battlefield delay yet).
One problem for EA is that it won’t have a NCAA football game this year, because of the controversy over compensating players for using their images. EA settled a lawsuit in that controversy, and it is no longer making those games.
For some reason, EA’s stock price is down 1 percent to $38 a share in after-hours trading.
EA said that gamers played more than 13.6 billion online sessions in all of EA’s games, totaling nearly 2.4 billion hours played across console, mobile and PC. EA said its monthly active users for EA Mobile was 140 million.
EA said it was pleased with the reception of its games at E3. It had 20 awards for Dragon Age: Inquisition from game critics. EA said its revenues were led by FIFA 14, Titanfall, Battlefield 4, and EA Sports UFC. But Dragon Age has been moved to Nov. 18, and Battlefield is now coming out in 2015.
More than 53 million matches were played in FIFA Ultimate Team World Cup mode in the quarter, equivalent to playing over 800,000 FIFA World Cup tournaments.
EA said it is reaffirming its fiscal 2015 guidance of $4.1 billion in net revenue and $1.85 in earnings per share.