How's EA Doing? Key Takeaways From Its Latest Earnings Report

EA's digital business continues to grow.


Electronic Arts has reported its earnings for its first fiscal quarter, which ran through the end of June 2017. The company described it as an "outstanding quarter," although for the second time in a row, it avoided discussing the performance of Mass Effect: Andromeda in its official earnings press release.

Battlefield 1 had "21 million players joining the game" as of the end of June. That's a huge figure, although it's unclear exactly how that phrasing is meant to distinguish it from the more commonly used monthly active users statistic. EA also noted that Ultimate Team unique players across its various sports games grew 11% year-over-year. Monthly active players in The Sims 4 on PC were up 20% year-over-year, which is notable given it's nearly three years old. The game was recently announced to be coming to PS4 and Xbox One.

The Sims 4 on consoles is among the five major releases it outlined for the second quarter, which runs through September; the others are FIFA 18, Madden 18, NBA Live 18, and NHL 18. The third quarter includes Need for Speed: Payback and Star Wars: Battlefront II, while the only Q4 title listed is UFC 3. BioWare's new game, Anthem, had originally been expected out by the end of this financial year (meaning before April 2018), but it was delayed back in May.

In terms of financials, revenue was $1.45 billion for the quarter, up from $1.27 billion a year ago. Digital net sales for the 12 months ending in June were $3.147 billion, representing 63% of the company's total net sales sales. That figure is up 23% year-over-year, as is to be expected given the industry-wide shift toward digital sales. EA also notes that it saw operating cash flow hit a record high for a first quarter, which it attributes to its "event-driven live services." Despite that, it estimates that operating cash flow will be very slightly down for the full fiscal year.

On a per-platform basis, digital net sales increases on consoles, mobile, and PC (which is lumped in with "other" platforms). The biggest increase came on the console side, with quarterly revenue reaching $368 million. The digital net sales increase was due to a combination of higher full game downloads and live service sales (which include DLC and subscriptions).

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EA will host a conference call with investors this afternoon to discuss the outcome of its results. This is often where we learn the most interesting information from these releases; we'll report back with anything the company has to share.

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