EA posts loss, Medal of Honor sells 2 million

Megapublisher sees quarterly revenue drop 20 percent; Madden, FIFA 11 tipped as best sellers; FIFA franchise sales top 100 million; Bad Company 2 sells nearly 6 million.

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Electronic Arts today reported a $201 million loss ($0.61 per share) for the three months ending September 30. While not as good news as posting a profit, the loss was smaller than the $391 million ($1.21 per share) it lost during the same period last year. Revenue fell 20 percent from $788 million to $631 million using standard accounting practices, thanks to a smaller release slate. The company launched seven major titles from July to September 2010, versus nine during the same period the year prior.

FIFA 11 provided a big boost to EA's bottom line.
FIFA 11 provided a big boost to EA's bottom line.

When excluding one-time charges along the lines of restructuring costs, acquisition expenses, and stock-related compensation, EA actually managed to post a small profit of $32 million ($0.10 per share) on $884 million in revenue. That beat the average estimate of a Thomson Reuters survey of analysts, which expected $815 million in revenues and a loss of $0.10 per share.

Of the quarter's hit titles, the publisher said six of its games were amongst the top 20 selling games in North America and Europe: FIFA 11, Madden NFL 11, NCAA Football 11, NHL 11, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, and FIFA 10. Overall, FIFA-brand game sales increased 20 percent, with the franchise's sales topping over 100 million units life-to-date. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 sales now total nearly 6 million units, said EA executives.

The publisher also revealed that the reboot of the Medal of Honor series, released October 12, sold 2 million copies in its first two weeks on the market. In terms of other new titles, executives told analysts during a conference call that EA MMA is "off to a slow start" but the console versions of the Sims 3 were "tracking well." One upcoming title, NBA Elite 11, has now been canceled outright. As had been rumored, development of future NBA games will be handled at EA Tiburon in Florida.

EA also claimed to be the top publisher in the "high-definition console" market--that is, the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3--reporting its share increased two points to 25 percent. It also says it is the top PC publisher with a 27 percent share. EA CEO John Riccitiello said that sales of high-definition packaged goods and digital goods is increasing, but revenue from the Wii and handheld games is falling.

Looking ahead, EA is leaving its full fiscal year guidance of $940 million to $1.07 billion in revenue in place. The figure takes into account a $180 million restructuring charge "due to licensing agreements and developer contracts" and ongoing expenses for development of the massively multiplayer game Star Wars: The Old Republic, which will not launch during the fiscal year ending March 31, 2011.

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