EA's Sports Business Is The Big Bright Spot For The Company Right Now

Here's how EA's last few months have gone.

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Electronic Arts has reported earnings for its second fiscal quarter, which ended on September 30, 2017. It was a period that saw most of its major sports game release, and EA seems quite happy with the results overall.

"We saw a notable shift to digital in our sports titles and remarkable growth in Ultimate Team," CFO Blake Jorgensen said. "Our sports titles have once again shown their value in delivering a stable and dependable performance. This quarter demonstrates how they can drive our business and offers a window into how our games will evolve over the months and years to come."

Indeed, digital net bookings (what EA called net sales previously) were up 26% year-over-year to $3.24 billion for the 12 months ending in September. During the second quarter alone, digital net revenue was $689 million, up from $566 million the year prior. This move to digital, however, resulted in a drop in "packaged goods and other net revenue," which fell to $270 million from $332 million a year ago. Total net revenue, however, was up to $959 million from $898 million.

EA shared little about specific games, though it did say that more than half of Madden 18 players "engaged" with its new Longshot story mode. FIFA Mobile has now seen more than 113 million total players, while Battlefield 1 has attracted 23.5 million. Monthly active players in The Sims 4 on PC were up 40% compared to the same period a year ago. EA didn't reference the return of NBA Live, which was perhaps the most interesting release from the company during this quarter.

A conference call with investors is scheduled to take place this afternoon. We'll report back with anything interesting it has to share, but we already know the company is making changes to Star Wars Battlefront 2's controversial loot crate system. It also recently closed Visceral Games and is rebooting its Star Wars game.

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