EA posts $391 million loss, Madden 10 sells 3.9 million

$788 million in earnings can't keep megapublisher out of the red; workforce slashed by 17%, development pipeline cut in half; Need for Speed Shift ships 2.5 million.

This morning saw a flurry of news from Electronic Arts, the world's second-biggest third-party game publisher. After announcing it had acquired social game publisher Playfish in a deal potentially worth $400 million, the company confirmed it was laying off 1,500 employees--or 17 percent of its global workforce--in an effort to save $100 million per year.

EA's Redwood City, California HQ was also hit by today's layoffs.

The job cuts were confirmed in EA's earnings report for the July-September quarter, during which the company posted net revenues of $788 million, down from $894 million during the same period in 2008. However, the Redwood City, California-based publisher said that $359 million in deferred revenue costs contributed to it posting a $391 million loss, an increase from the $310 million shortfall it suffered during the same quarter the year prior. Quarterly loss per share was $1.21, up from $0.97.

Despite the losses and the layoffs, EA executives tried put a brave face on things. In a conference call with analysts, CEO John Riccitiello touted the fact Madden NFL 10 has sold over 3.9 million copies worldwide since its August launch. He said that on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, sales were up 5 percent over Madden NFL 09. EA Games president Frank Gibeau also played up the fact that Need for Speed Shift, the latest reboot of the once-mighty racing franchise, had shipped (not sold) 2.5 million units. The executives also said that "early read on sell-through is strong" for the role-playing game Dragon Age: Origins, which was released to glowing reviews last week.

However, Riccitiello did concede that, as a result of the restructuring, "over a dozen" games had been canceled. "Anything that doesn't measure up to be in a very high profit contributor and unit seller got cut from this point going forward," said the CEO.

While he did not identify any titles, the executive did say that EA has effectively reduced the number of games in its development pipeline by half in just two years. "Mid-60s would have been the way to think of it last year," said the CEO of the number titles EA had in the works. "The way we are looking at it now, there are approximately 50 there this year, and something in the high 30s next year. So when you consolidate this thing, it is about a 50 percent cut over two years."

Looking ahead, EA is forecasting revenues between $3.6 billion and $3.9 billion for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2010. It is also expecting a loss per share between $1.20 and $2.05, resulting from the $120 million to $145 million in restructuring costs, $24 million of "losses on strategic investments," and other charges.

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241 comments
ih8soup
ih8soup

ea deserves every bad thing that ever happens to them, all they care about is money. i didnt notice until after i had bought a game online from them that i only have the rights to it for 1 year, after that if i get a new computer or something then i have to buy it again. not to mention the DRM bs

bognman420
bognman420

make a new road rash what is with these game companies when u run out oideas and start making game slike morrors edge i bet the spent 10 million on making that game and sold 12 copies why r cmpanies so dumb remake so old games like road rash omg i love a new road rash good call dsfl and here is the game i want back nba jam and general chaos my two fav ea games that were on sega and how about a new earth woirm jim or even a better mutant league football or hockey loved those games still play them on my sega

Mikethechimp
Mikethechimp

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

project86dbl
project86dbl

NFS Shift looks great, can't wait to pick that up along with the new Battlefield Bad Company 2 in March. However EA does need to venture more into new IP's, Mirrors Edge was a good attempt, lets see some more.

rad6666
rad6666

I said about 10 years ago EA would rule the gaming world I can`t stand them so it`s nice to see them loses big bucks hand over fist, I really can`t stand their 2nd rate sequels and laying off all those staff surely is going to lower the already shambolic quality of their releases..F**k you EA..Here`s hoping you disappear without trace...oh and btw can we have some original IP`s please if we do have to endure you ..Your 65th Fifa and 1 millionth NFS games are gonna stop selling SOONER or later....I can`t believe you haven`t been boycotted by now

thenephariouson
thenephariouson

might help if they concentrated on new IP's and stopped simply regurgitating the same games over and over again.

dsfl
dsfl

If EA made a new Road Rash next gen i think that would earn them alot of much needed $

Binpo
Binpo

The games they release are more like updates with a different title, they'll defenitely lose money.

madSomnambulist
madSomnambulist

@S3P4eeever Square-Enix is now high-rolling with almost $1B flat in sales last quarter and is outperforming EA and Sega in both revenue and profit. I have no idea how you'd think they'd be able to buy either; not to mention EA would fight a collapse down to the last man, and SE... no. How on earth do you lose $391M in a quarter if your sales were $788M, anyway? Well, so long as they don't ask for a bailout I don't remotely care. If they were willing to they could probably find buyers for some of the internal studios.

DAKYON
DAKYON

just hoping EA will create some new great games

Sidrat2004
Sidrat2004

It would be far easier for them to admit they haven't got any new ideas and got out of both the gaming industry and publishing in general. But that's just my opinion and sadly I got Sims 3 :(

killarse
killarse

That's okay, Obama will "create or save" 4 million jobs next month.

Ultramarinus
Ultramarinus

More support for cookie-cutter shooter clones and yearly injection of sports games, less new stuff. Just sounds like EA.

CHAOS100
CHAOS100

I wouldnt be surprised if one of those canceled games was a dead space sequel that was not deemed to make enough profit. Perhaps they should have put out their dead space extraction on a real console or if they were serious perhaps a PC, where even with piracy it would have sold far more units than on the Wii. EA has been ignoring the PC for quite some time and this is certainty not gaining the respect of gamers. Even the new battlefields have been for the console, i mean WTF is that? Thankfully I believe one of their future BF titles will be for PC, but as you can see I am not keeping much up to date with that.

FoxExecutive
FoxExecutive

I really hope those people do well. EA looks like a terrible company to work for anyway; there is no job security.

f_river91
f_river91

Maybe now they'll start spending money creating better more entertaining games like Dead space for example.

holtrocks
holtrocks

These things that say this game sales went down in the 2 quater or whatever is so dumb because duh the sales will go down because more and more ppl buy it so after a while no one buys it twice so ya the sales go down duh

NuKkU
NuKkU

woah that sucks for the people who lost their job at EA

corkyhookahking
corkyhookahking

Rottenwood Ok the reason for the infrastructure is it makes the game development easier for cross platform games now they only have to code for one network instead of two

viewtifuljon111
viewtifuljon111

Sucks. On the bright side maybe they'll start actually caring about the gamers that support them.

VectrexFanBoy
VectrexFanBoy

wait.. this doesn't make sense to me. Ok so EA has cancelled 12 games, by doing this my common sense tells me they are lacking funds to make these games, they have too much on their plate.But they buy another company and take their game franchises ? i thought you already had a lack of funding? is anyone else agreeing ?

solidstein
solidstein

@l0ve that comment is untrue that is 7-9 games a year that means there are atleast 60 games that are non sports related in development. the sports and need for speed is a small segment of there games. just look at dante inferno, mass effect 2, dead space2, dragon age just came out . now i do agree there is probably a cool unique game they cut such as mirrors edge 2 or something. and hopefully they continue there EA partners program and dont build a big corporate culture like activision. and keep helping the younger devs build great games also i hope they give bioware more people and let them develop alot more games

punkologist
punkologist

that's massive losses when you consider the revenue was $788 million. What are they doing? Sounds like bad management rather than a bad games industry.

Shonuff331
Shonuff331

"TheVGamer Posted Nov 10, 2009 1:14 pm ET What is biggest game producer???" I assume you mean publisher, that would be Activision.

l0ve
l0ve

I am really interested in knowing what the games they cut were. They will now stick to high selling games only which means all of their sports titles and need for speed. Which means there might have been a cool unique game that could have been really good that was cut because it didn't fit into the sport or need for speed category.

alexh111
alexh111

After going through the nightmare of creating a Bioware account, an EA downloader account, an EA account and failing to have their tech support answer a simple question (via six different emails), this doesn't surprise me one bit. It's like they've created a government bureaucracy with typical inefficiencies built in...all of which piss off consumers and cost you more money.

metaljeff
metaljeff

I WISH this would stop being such a 'BASH EA' thread, at least as far as their GAMES!!!...They have been getting BETTER!!!...Madden10 was at least a step in the right direction(certainly no 2k, and yes EA needs to give up their exclusive rights), and FIFA, NHL, and Dragons Age are great!!!!!!.....

jtuds
jtuds

In the end this should be a good thing for EA. Cut the fat, get lean, and stop making excuses for the unproductive.

drphizzle0
drphizzle0

It's about time. Maybe EA will finally initiate in this overly-mentioned but under-rated phenomenon known as customer service. EA has left a bad taste in many mouths and it's no surprise that they are slipping because of other services like Steam that are grabbing their leftovers, or just allowing customers to make the easy decision to not bother with them - like many I know. Perhaps they could gain some market share if they actually simplified their overly complex and ridiculous services.

cajunstrike
cajunstrike

Agreed. Electronic Arts could certainly reduce costs by opting out of the undoubtedly costly licensing fees associated with their NFL exclusivity contract.

sirkel28
sirkel28

Sounds like poor management like our Government. They need to fire the big shot over paid corporate guys who do nothing and hire some country boy from the midwest to run the company. At least he would have common sense and wouldn't need millions in bonuses for a job poorly done.

TheVGamer
TheVGamer

What is biggest game producer???

Autolycus
Autolycus

okay so let me get this right. Lay off 1500 employees, then pay 400 million for a company, which is a gamble. On top of that you are based in one of the most expensive states in this country (which means you have to pay higher wages to EVERY employee, even the Janitor). It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why you keep loosing money.

Rottenwood
Rottenwood

As great as Dragon Age is, though, did Electronic Arts really need to invest in the network infrastructure for it so they wouldn't have to go through Live or the PSN? When your company is freefalling, why would you waste your dwindling clout on circumventing perfectly acceptable networks that your users are already signed up for? There's a time for hubris; a recession is not it. Just another case of investing large amounts of money with no obvious return.

Stefan
Stefan

Actually, EA owns Bioware so it technically was EA that made Dragon Age...

Alucard_Prime
Alucard_Prime

@jay_rock_: Yeah I know that I'm a huge Bioware fan, maybe my post makes it sound like EA made the game, but that's not what I meant , I was of course referring to them publishing the game , great choice they made to publish and support it.

jay_rock_
jay_rock_

@ alucard_prime EA puts the game out there BIOWARE makes the great game that it is...

peewizzle
peewizzle

EA: "oh no, expected same old madden with a big number 10 on the front cover to sell 4 million copies worldwide not 3.9...looks like we have to lay 1500 people off so that our 1 MPG H2's can still get a full tank" boo EA shame on you for your bad decisions and making someone else pay for your mistakes

Alucard_Prime
Alucard_Prime

Well, I wasn't a huge EA fan before. I mean they've definitely put out some good games in the past few years, like the NFS series, Burnout, Dead space, just to name a few. But now, with the release of Dragon Age, they certainly have my respect. This is the best RPG I've ever played, bar none, and any RPG fan who hasn't picked this one up yet, is missing out big time.

bm1212
bm1212

Damn, EA is really big games company and all the major sports games franchises belong to them. Imagine a world without EA? That would be really scary. I hope they are more successful and wiser with their money in the future because I would really hate to see them go. :(

JimmyJumpy
JimmyJumpy

It doesn't make sense that EA spend their 'hard-earned' cash to buy out a company, to later having to lay-off 1500-plus people because of a huge deficit. That's irresponsible...

GentlemanGamer
GentlemanGamer

Hated inside and out. Not a week goes by when this company doesnt do another thing to make me loathe them.

HazyNimbus
HazyNimbus

@enoslives7 and Rottenwood: Could not agree more. The execs will keep their jobs while once again the people working hard are losing their jobs. They are not just cancelling the games, they are laying off the people making them: the other games will not be better because of of this as they are not improving how they make games. They've simply put more people out looking for work who now can't afford their games.

King_Gamer19
King_Gamer19

The problem is that EA was number 1 with no real competition they really didn't care they thought they could just buy any real competition (ie RockStar) So they put out which were pretty much the same Then Activision & Blizzard became one While Activision is putting out COD:MW EA was putting out MOH:Airbourn the same crap like always just in a different package. It's finally catching up with EA maybe EA should have talk to 2K/RockStar into a partnership like Activision & Blizzard did & not try to be the the big a-hole company which is what everyone sees them as & also NFL needs to take away EA's full rights to there license

pungaboy
pungaboy

@sellardwellar EA did not make or publish Soldier of Fortune Payback.

luigigreen
luigigreen

Now their gonna focus more on Madden since it always sells so well. Hooray for year-after-year releases. /sarcasm

enoslives7
enoslives7

EA is putting too much stock in their crappy sports "updates". People will not pay 65.00 every year for minor updates.