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EA sees record year following digital push

EA sees record year following digital push

May 7, 2012 | By Tom Curtis

May 7, 2012 | By Tom Curtis
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More: Console/PC, Social/Online, Business/Marketing

Over the past several months, EA has touted a plan to move away from traditional packaged goods and into the digital realm, and it appears that plan might be working, as the company's digital initiatives helped it achieve record-breaking revenues for the 2012 fiscal year.

For the fiscal year ended March 31, 2012, EA beat average analyst estimates as non-GAAP revenue reached an all-time high of $4.2 billion, led primarily by its digital games and services -- in fact, the company saw digital revenues for the year increase a full 47 percent to $1.2 billion.

For the year's fourth quarter, EA saw its revenues dip to $977 million from $995 million, though this difference was largely attributed to the company's decreased number of packaged goods. Digital revenue for the quarter, meanwhile, jumped to $425 million, up from $268 million year over year.

For the full fiscal year, EA saw profits of $284 million, up from $233 million in 2011. Profits for the fourth quarter, meanwhile, hit $53 million, down from $83 million year over year.

EA said that quarterly revenues were largely driven by big-budget releases such as Mass Effect 3, FIFA Street, SSX, and Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.

Looking at the full fiscal year, numerous games and services contributed to EA's overall growth in the digital sector, but EA's FIFA 12 in particular was a major contributor, as game downloads and microtransactions brought in more than $108 million during the fiscal year. In addition, EA's all-digital FIFA Ultimate Team service was the second best-selling EA product in the UK during this period.

In addition, the publisher noted that full game downloads increased 76 percent year over year during the fourth quarter, as players were able to download major titles like Mass Effect 3 and Star Wars: The Old Republic. In all, EA's downloadable games brought in $60 million in the fiscal fourth quarter.

EA's Play4Free titles, like Battlefield Heroes and Need for Speed World, have also performed quite well, and the Play4Free brand currently generates more than $2 million in revenue per week. EA's recently launched Origin platform has also seen some healthy success, as it has pulled in $150 million in the 10 months since its launch.

Looking ahead to Q1 2013, EA expects to see revenue of $500 million. For the full fiscal year, meanwhile, EA expects to see $4.3 billion in revenue, slightly below average analyst estimates. In addition, during EA's financial earnings call, EA CEO John Riccitiello reported that the company plans to invest $80 million in developing games for future consoles.

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