Electronic Arts reported financials for its fiscal second quarter ended September 30 with results driven by its newly renamed EA Sports FC soccer game today.
Net bookings for the quarter were $1.820 billion, up 4% from a year ago. Live services and other net bookings for Q2 were $1.129 billion, up 1% year-over-year. On a trailing twelve-month basis, live services were 73% of the gaming giant’s business. The company’s stock is up 5% to $130.25 a share in after-hours trading.
EA Sports FC 24, within the first four weeks of global launch, had over 14.5 million active accounts.
“We delivered a strong Q2 and successfully launched EA Sports FC, transforming one of the largest franchises in the world into a powerful, interactive platform for the future of football fandom,” said Andrew Wilson, CEO of EA, in a statement. “Looking ahead, our incredible teams will continue to innovate and expand across our world-class IP, building experiences that entertain our massive online communities, celebrate fandom, and increase connection for our growing global player base.”
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EA said that the EA Sports Madden NFL franchise outperformed Q2 expectations, delivering net bookings growth of 6% year-over-year.
In an analyst call, Wilson said, “Madden NFL 24 is off to a strong start, with almost 10% more players in the title year over year and driving over 10% growth in weekly average users. During the quarter, Madden mobile had more players diving into the game year over year, growing the community over 20%, and delivering double-digit growth in weekly active users.”
Regarding EA Sports FC 24, Wilsons said FC Mobile has established new franchise records, with over two million people installing the game on the first day, over five million in the first three days, and over 11 million in the first 10 days. FC Online continues to grow across all engagement metrics, while players have truly embraced FC Pro with a record number of registrations, he said.
“EA Sports strength, driven by new releases and ongoing live services, delivered Q2 results ahead of expectations,” said Stuart Canfield, CFO of EA, in a statement. “We remain focused on delivering for our growing player communities and building upon the momentum across our portfolio, while prioritizing investments that execute against our largest opportunities to drive long term growth.”
Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush, said in an email to GamesBeat that EA beat expectations for revenue by $20 million and on earnings per share by 16 cents (both measured against the high end of their guidance range).
“They maintained revenue guidance, but increased EPS guidance by 25 cents a share, so the clear takeaway is that they are saving more from not paying FIFA a license fee than they had to spend to drive awareness of the re-branded EA Sports FC game,” Pachter said.
In an analyst call, Canfield said Apex Legends results were below a year ago, but came in above expectations.
“We recognize the franchise exists in a competitive environment and, looking forward, our team at Respawn is focused on doing even more incredible things for players, engaging the community and deepening the franchise in exciting ways to drive growth — starting with yesterday’s launch of Season 19, featuring dynamic game updates and content integration with music industry icon Post Malone,” Wilson said.
And Wilson said in the analyst call, “We are making great progress against our strategy to build massive online communities, tell blockbuster stories, and amplify the power of social connection to drive multi-year growth and unlock long-term value in service of our people, our players, and our shareholders. All our teams — through passion and creativity — continue to deliver interactive entertainment and experiences that engage and inspire hundreds of millions of people as part of our communities inside our global network.”
For the trailing 12 months, EA said its net bookings were $7.686 billion, with $2.103 billion coming from full games and $5.583 billion coming from live services games.
“Live services are the foundation of our business. Through the first half of the year, we have delivered an impressive amount of content across new games and over 285 game updates,” Wilson said in the analyst call.
For the full fiscal year ending March 31, 2024, EA’s net revenue is expected to be $7.3 billion to $7.7 billion. Net income is expected to be $1.12 billion to $1.27 billion. Diluted earnings per share is expected to be approximately $4.10 to $4.66. Operating cash flow is expected to be approximately $1.95 billion to $2.1 billion.
For the third fiscal quarter ended December 31, EA expects net revenue is expected to be approximately $1.825 billion to $2.025 billion. Change in deferred net revenue (online-enabled games) is expected to be approximately $425 million. Net income is expected to be approximately $203 million to $275 million. And diluted earnings per share is expected to be approximately 75 cents to $1.01. Net bookings are expected to be approximately $2.250 billion to $2.450 billion.
Earlier this month, EA revealed a first-look at EA Sports FC Tactical – a new way to play soccer on mobile devices. EA Sports FC Tactical features interactive simulation with strategic, turn-based gameplay and access to more than 5,000 authentic players across more than 10 top leagues, including the Premier League, LaLiga, EA Sports, Bundesliga, Ligue 1, and Serie A.
EA said it expects to be carbon neutral by 2027. Its inclusive design has been used in Apex Legends, The Sims 4 and Dead Space. And it continues to increase company-wide representation of women and underrepresented talent.
EA said that console games were $1.152 billion out of total net bookings in FYQ2, up 12%. PC and other platforms were $389 million, down 10%. Mobile was $279 million, down 6%.
Looking ahead, EA is days away from its EA Sports WRC racing game launch. And in FYQ3, EA has already launched EA Sports NHL 24 and EA Sports UFC 5. EA also has multi-platform ecosystems coming with the release of FC Tactical releasing in 2024 and EA Sports College Football coming next summer.
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Author: Dean Takahashi