EA holiday sales slip 25%, Dragon Age ships 3.2 million

Publisher trims losses to $82 million for October-December quarter, but revenue also sinks to $1.24 billion; Left 4 Dead 2 sells 2.9 million, FIFA 10 9.7 million.


Dragon Age: Origins
Madden NFL 10
FIFA Soccer 10

In January, Electronic Arts gave investors and analysts an advance warning of its lackluster holiday 2009 performance, saying revenue for the period would come in between $1.227 billion to $1.247 billion. Today, EA announced its October-December financial performance, confirming earnings that were in line with the lower end of its revised guidance.

3.2 million units is nothing to glower about.
3.2 million units is nothing to glower about.

For the period, EA posted net revenues of $1.243 billion, down 25 percent from the $1.654 billion the publisher brought in during the same period in 2008. Though still in the red, EA made great strides toward shoring up its losses during the quarter. EA said that net losses stood at $82 million, a notable recovery from the $641 million it hemorrhaged the year prior.

The company saw strong performances from the new arrivals of BioWare's fantasy role-playing game Dragon Age: Origins and the EA Partners-published, Valve-developed Left 4 Dead 2 during the period. EA confirmed that Dragon Age has shipped 2.8 million units worldwide across the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC through the end of the quarter. [UPDATE] In a subsequent announcement, EA said Dragon Age: Origins shipments have now topped 3.2 million. Left 4 Dead 2 sold 2.9 million units on the Xbox 360 and PC at retail worldwide.

EA also called out the performance of its two football titles during the quarter. The world version of football, FIFA 10, has now sold 9.7 million units worldwide, according to the publisher. Meanwhile, the US version of football seen in Madden NFL 10 has sold 2.3 million units. EA noted that Madden 10 sales have continued to improve and are now tracking down just 6 percent from last year.

The publisher also gave a comprehensive look at its release slate for its 2011 fiscal year, which runs April 1, 2010, to March 31, 2011. Of note, EA now expects Real Time Worlds' online shooter APB to ship during its July-September quarter, having previously announced that the game will arrive in March. The quarter will also see the release of EA's reboot to the Medal of Honor franchise, previously scheduled for a fall launch.

EA's October-December 2010 period will see the arrival of Crytek's first-person shooter Crysis 2. Other highlights from the period include a new Need for Speed game, The Sims 3 on consoles, NBA Jam, and two new EA Sports Active fitness titles. EA's fourth quarter also packs a number of top releases, including Dead Space 2, a new installment in the Dragon Age franchise, EA's collaboration with Gears of War creator Epic Games, and another Need for Speed title. The January-March period will also see the launch of "something far-reaching for Mass Effect."

On the back of those releases, EA expects to pull in $710 million to $750 million during its April-June 2010 quarter, with earnings per share to come in between a $0.05 loss to a $0.05 gain. On the fiscal year, EA projected revenue of $3.45 billion to $3.70 billion, with a loss per share of $0.60 to $0.90.

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