EA touts record quarterly revenues

Sports games help EA ring up $784 million; publisher delays Army of Two, Crysis, reveals next-gen Black, movie-based <i>Simpsons</i>, Road Rash, Wii Sims, new Lord of the Rings, new SimCity, Sims 3.

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In yet another sign that the transitional slump between console generations is all but over, the biggest third-party publisher in the world announced today that it racked up its biggest second-quarter take ever.

For the three months ended September 30, 2006, Electronic Arts racked up total revenues of $784 million, a jump of 16 percent over 2005's second-quarter haul of $675 million. The publisher attributed the numbers to the launch of the latest installments of its annual sports games--Madden NFL 07, NCAA Football 07, FIFA 07, NBA Live 07, and NHL 07. In an investor conference call, EA execs noted that NCAA Football 07 sold an all-time high of 2 million copies in the quarter, and that the company's NHL series was having its strongest year ever.

Broken down by platform, the increase was attributable to gains in the Xbox 360 and mobile sectors. The $166 million brought in by EA's Xbox 360 games accounted for 21 percent of the company's total revenue, and more than made up for declines in the current-gen platforms. The publisher also boasted that it is now the number one publisher for Microsoft's next-gen platforms year-to-date in both North America and Europe.

While Electronic Arts' revenues for the quarter broke records, its net profits did not. Last year the publisher posted bottom-line gains of $51 million; this year it had to settle for a take-home of $22 million.

For the current quarter, EA expects to bring in revenues between $1.2 billion and $1.3 billion, with projections for the full fiscal year ending March 31, 2007 being ticked up to the $2.95 billion to $3.13 billion range from $2.8 billion to $3 billion.

Those projections were moved up despite the shuffling of two big-name titles out of the company's release calendar through March. In the conference call, EA confirmed that the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 action game Army of Two and the PC sci-fi first-person shooter Crysis have both been delayed until the next fiscal year, meaning they won't be released before April of 2007.

The company mentioned a number of projects beyond the current fiscal year that are sure to boost revenues as well. In addition to a Sims game being developed specifically for the Wii, the publisher has a new Road Rash under way, a game to accompany the movie version of The Simpsons, new Lord of the Rings and SimCity games, and a next-gen version of Black. Finally, EA also confirmed that The Sims 3 is in development, with a likely fiscal year '09 (April 1, 2009-March 31, 2010) release date.

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