Electronic Arts reports $2.96 billion in revenue

Thanks to The Sims, FIFA, Madden, Need for Speed, and The Lord of the Rings franchises, the world's biggest publisher had a record-breaking year.

Shortly after the markets closed today, Electronic Arts released financial figures for its fiscal year 2004, which ended March 31.

The numbers were not small.

Topping out at $2.96 billion, EA's full-year net revenues were 19 percent higher than the 2.482 billion it reported the prior year. Its net income--also known as "profit"--was $577 million, an 82 percent increase over its FY 2003.

The company also broke down its massive international earnings by region. Unsurprisingly, North American revenue was the highest at $1.6 billion, up 12 percent. European earnings weren't too far behind, though, rising 34 percent to $1.2 billion--the first time EA has made more than $1 billion across the Atlantic. While EA's Asia-Pacific earnings rose 10 percent to $97 million, and its Japanese revenues fell 12 percent to $71 million.

EA gave credit for its ample success to six key franchises. The Sims, Need for Speed, Medal of Honor, FIFA Soccer, The Lord of the Rings, and the Madden NFL Football series each sold more than 5 million units during the period, swelling the coffers of the biggest publisher on the planet. Overall, the publisher had 27 platinum titles.

For its most recent quarter, the fourth of its fiscal year 2004, net revenue was $598 million, up 29 percent, versus $463 million the previous year. Its main movers during that quarter were James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing, Need for Speed Underground (again), NFL Street, MVP Baseball 2004, and Final Fantasy X-2.

"This was another outstanding year for EA," said CEO and Chairman Larry Probst in a statement, "We enter our next fiscal year with excellent momentum." If EA's predictions for its 2005 fiscal year, which started April 1, are borne out, Probst's words will sound like an understatement. The company estimates it will earn between $3.25 and $3.4 billion during the period. While talking to analysts later, Probst also divulged that EA has around $2.4 billion in cash reserves.

As for the current quarter, EA predicts that its net revenue is expected to be between $390 and $430 million, versus $353 million for the prior year. So far, it's off to a good start. In an earnings conference call late today, Chief Financial Officer Warren Jensen said the company's console-boxer Fight Night 2004 has already sold more than 1 million copies.

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