EA Just Had Its Best Year Ever For Revenue, As Digital Game Sales Surge During Pandemic

EA announces how much money it made in the past year--and it's a lot.

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Electronic Arts reported earnings for its latest fiscal year on Tuesday, and it was a lot of good news for the publisher. The company posted new records for revenue and net bookings dating back to the company's founding 38 years ago in 1982.

Total revenue for the year that ended March 31 was $5.629 billion, which was up from $5.537 billion during the previous fiscal year. EA posted a profit of $837 million for the period, which compares to a profit of $3 billion last year--though that period benefitted from a one-off tax benefits program. For the fourth quarter alone, however, revenue dropped.

Net bookings, which EA defines as the total amount of products and services sold digitally or psychically by adding net revenue to the change in deferred net revenue for online games, reached $6.190 billion. That figure was up 15% year-over-year and it was more than $600 million more than EA originally expected. $4.06 billion of net bookings came from "live services," which means microtransactions.

To illustrate the significance of live services, EA CFO Blake Jorgensen said $4.06 billion is equal to the sale of 130 million console games.

During the fiscal year, EA launched 13 new games and these collectively brought in more than 42 million new players.

FIFA 21 was a bright spot, reaching 25 million players across console and PC. And its Ultimate Team mode jumped by 16% year-over-year, though EA did not say if this was growth in users, revenue, or some other metric.

Another notable achievement for EA during the year was Apex Legends, which crossed 100 million players. Season 8 was strong, too, reaching more than 12 million weekly average players. The new Season 9 content is also doing gangbusters for Apex Legends.

The Madden NFL series performed well, reaching a "record number of new players" on console and PC. The Sims 4 was a top-performer as well, reaching nearly 36 million players. The game's success has helped propel the Sims franchise overall to its sixth consecutive year of growth.

Another positive development for EA was that 62% of current-gen console games sold were digitally, compared to 49% during the same period last year. The statistics cover Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, and PS5 over the past 12 months.

In terms of EA's upcoming games, the publisher re-affirmed that Battlefield 6 is on the way this year, but we're still waiting on a release date. It will be announced in June. EA is conducting an earnings call to discuss these results and answer questions, so check back with GameSpot for more.

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