Analysts lower EA, Activision projections

Lowered expectations for big-time publishers, but long-term outlook remains favorable.

It's been a rough holiday season for gaming so far, with sales in September, October, and November failing to live up to numbers posted in 2004. And while Piper Jaffray analysts Anthony Gikas and Stephanie Wissink have twice reduced their annual revenue estimates over the past few months for the game industry as a whole, until today, they hadn't revised projections on specific stocks to match.

The two lowered their projected earnings numbers for Electronic Arts and Activision in both the short and long term today, but said both companies remained attractive in long-term investments.

They reduced their Electronic Arts sales projections for the December quarter from $1.52 billion to $1.45 billion, and likewise lowered the associated earnings per-share estimate from $1.29 to $1.20. In the long term, the company reduced its peak earnings per-share estimate from $3.50 to $3.20 in fiscal year 2010.

Activision's long-term earnings per-share projection of $1.05 for FY10 beats out EA's proportionate to stock price, but the near-term numbers are still expected to slip. For the December quarter, Gikas and Wissink downgraded their sales expectations for the company from $820 million to $780 million, with earnings per share down from $0.55 to $0.50.

If they miss their previous marks this holiday season, Activision and EA will likely have company. While Piper Jaffray previously pegged an 8 percent growth rate for the industry, the firm is now expecting revenues to be up a more modest 3 percent. Gikas and Wissink blamed the poor sales in part on the transition between console generations.

"In our opinion, more consumers are waiting for next-generation systems than previously thought and gamers view industry-wide hardware and software products as overpriced," they wrote. They also pointed out that EA "has been early to address this concern," though it's unclear to what exactly the pair is referring.

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Discussion

26 comments
lageasy311
lageasy311

I can't feel sorry for EA, they are turning into MS with there monopolization. Letting developers create games that THEY created is why we like them. Twisted metal sucked when it went into the wrong hands, and that's what's happening with some EA titles that they keep buying out. Don't get too greedy b/c the public will backfire, we are gamers not lemmings and will not buy your rehashed crap like Tony Hawk and such. This is like what their 7'th title?? Can I get an amen? Lurker Creep VERY GOOD POINT AMEN TO YOU TOO BROTHER, EA is all about one face, not diversity. They tried to buy out UBISOFT and they bought out sega titles, there is no more DIVERSITY quit buying their crap so other publisher can have a chanse and not get bought out. What are we Microsoft?? hehe, i know that was a cheap shot.

chrisdojo
chrisdojo

time for some friggin new franchises!!!!!

Dr_Feelgood
Dr_Feelgood

Serves them right imo!!! Activision tell us that next gen development is going to be soooo expensive and bs like that, then they release Tony Hawk WHICH IS THE EXACT SAME GAME ONLY MORE $$$ ON THE 360!!!

GBur70
GBur70

I feel the reason EA titles are not selling is because their games are not as good as they could be. It seems to me insteasd of getting better when they release new games in a certain series the games progressively get worse.

homsuplo75
homsuplo75

Maybe EA needs to buy up more companies that make better games. That would help their bottom line... monopoly?? who cares

Pablo620
Pablo620

I think it has alot to do with people saving money for next gen. Me, I celebrated the release of 360 by spending $2000 on a custom built CPU. These companies will do fine

happyed
happyed

having been disappointed with my dealings with EA tech support on battlefield 2 (because that awesome game does not even patch correctly out of the box) i do feel that they are getting what they deserve. To restore profitability, they could eliminate their tech support department and replace them with a program that randomly sends a cryptic non-sensical notes in response to customer problems. From all appearances, they may have allready implemented this cost savings measure. Too many games, insufficent and non existent qa, and rush to market - im not surprised they missed their estimates - i certainly feel burned by them.

khellendros1
khellendros1

I'm kind of glad EA is down even though I'm a HUGE fan of their NCAA football. The fact that they were able get an exclusive deal with the NFL (and other franchises) and then this year's Madden wasn't that great just proves to me that it's not good to take away competition. It's going to be interesting to see their future installments.

RLJSlick
RLJSlick

What's going be interesting is what the impact of the 360 going to be? It's sound like a great system ( I don't have one yet), and I think it will have some great game play, but the games are $60, and that

RLJSlick
RLJSlick

I think part of it, is that the biggest game company, EA made some whether poor games this year. Their sports games have been pretty bad. I think the other part is, everyone knew that the Xbox 360 was coming and decided, like myself, to wait it out. Maybe the bigger factor is that with gas prices, and heating oil on the raise, people just have to cut back on stuff, and entertainment is usually the first thing. Games, and gaming have become so expensive, I'm not surprised that gaming compaines are feeling it also. I bet I bought half the games I did last year, and now that the Xbox 360 games will be $60, I most likely only going to buy a very few titles this year. imjustjames, you have to remember, gaming is like going to the movies now. Back in the "good 'old days" we would be able to see a blockbuster movie all Summer long. Now if a movie last a month, its doing great. Gaming has become like that too, people don't play the same game for years and years, now gaming companies are popping out the next year version so fast, that it's hard to play the same game for long. Look at The Sims, that was a huge blockbuster, and EA/Maxis couldn't wait to put out The Sims 2, though the game really didn't add that much more content. Just the sign of the times I guess.

imjustjames
imjustjames

Perhaps I'm too much of an old fashioned gamer to find much of this "market share" talk interesting at all. Back in the day all gaming was about was playing videogames and not worrying about what company is in financial trouble or not. These days all you hear about is whining about what company is not making games the right way instead of trusting them to be innovative like some of us old school gamers did back in the day. Not every single game is going to be a big time seller. If a game isn't even close to being an epic, million seller game, most of you kids these days say "oh this sucks". ...and that is why the industry has reverted to where it is now. A typical industry where all it is is about the money. At least back in the day (1980 - 1990), there were some companies that actually had a few execs that actually cared about how a game came out and wasn't just looking for the cheapest solution to make a quick buck in order to recooperate for losses from their previous failure. In my opinion I think that games are advancing way too fast and developers can't keep up with it. Games are advancing at a faster rate than the cost of producing these games is lowering. Which is leading to games that will easily begin surpassing the budget of most major motion pictures in the next few years. I'm trying to be open-minded to change in the gaming industry and I know that I can't expect the industry to stay the same forever but I don't see the industry getting any better with the road they are taking. I see games becoming less and less about gameplay and more and more about presentation. If I was worried about presentation I would go to the theater and watch a movie. That's all games are turning out to be these days, just 20-40 hour long movies with a few hours of gameplay thrown in for good measure. Who cares if the gameplay's sloppy, the presentation "more than makes up for it". I've seen gaming publications give high review scores just for the sheer fact that a big budget presentation supposedly made up for the simply average and unoriginal gameplay. All we're seeing these days is cookie cutter games and EA is a prime example of this, this is why I despise them. ...and don't get me started on Nintendo (the gaming company that TELLS us what we want, not gives us what we want) but I'll save that for another entry.

NeoJedi
NeoJedi

I think the console war between 360, ps3 and Rev should shake things up in 2006 and bring the sales back to normal.

LordOfMidnight
LordOfMidnight

Well, I think EA has thier hand in too many things but I guess that's the idea. Become a megalacorporation so you can incur some losses and everything evens out when you have that big hit, I suppose.

LurkerCreep
LurkerCreep

Perhaps, intead of a 2nd game market crash (which everyone seems to be predicting lately), we'll get a well needed 'thinning of the herd'. How a company like EA can make the same game each year (Madden 01, 02, 03, 04, 05.........) and still make a profit is beyond me. Oh yeah... that's right.... you suckers keep buying it!!

ewjim
ewjim

Too many repeating games like Fifa, Nba, Tony Hawk's e.t.c. They gaining what they deserve! ;)

SugarLipsHabasi
SugarLipsHabasi

I am so sick of hearing about bloddy 'analysts' and what the 'analysts' think! Still - bad news for EA is good for all , not that anybody cares about EA , they are just a stupid company who put games in theier boxes to most people but they think they are bigger than they are.

Game_Jeremy
Game_Jeremy

This is do to the fact that everyone found out that xbox360 wont support hd-dvd for a drive and even if not for games, and there best game on the list keeps getting delayed (DOA4). PS3 all the way :p

tbonetrav18
tbonetrav18

oh so what, they are still making over a billion a quarter. Maybe they would see more profit if they kept the price of new games at $50, instead of rasing it for new systems. Oh, GyRo567, I think that drinking is cheaper than gaming, but doing both at the same time is the best.

Bretwalda
Bretwalda

Too many games being produced like "next fad" TV shows - for a quick buck and short attention spans. Serves em right.

GyRo567
GyRo567

Industry wide everything is overpriced, especially all those next gen games (and the hardware itself) for the X360 that look the exact same as my part 1 year old part 3 year old (and some between) PC. Granted, gaming on the whole is still way cheaper than anything else in life.

Z3r02007
Z3r02007

More Intellectual proporties will do them wonders. With the next gen, I want them to expand on what is possible in their games, but get ALOT more originals.

CyphenX
CyphenX

First Comment! Oh well, what can you do? Hopefully things will pick up during the next console war.