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Electronic Arts Inc. (EA)

  • Jan. 2, 2014, 5:49 PM
    • VentureBeat reports Dave Roberts, the CEO of Electronic Arts' (EA) PopCap mobile games unit, is leaving the company, and will be replaced by co-founder John Vechey. Another co-founder, Jason Kapkala is also reportedly resigning, but will remain a "creative consultant."
    • EA acquired PopCap, creator of the popular Plants vs. Zombies and Bejeweled franchises, for $750M + $550M in performance incentives in 2011. But the unit has had trouble monetizing new titles amid an industry shift towards free-to-play mobile games, and has seen multiple layoffs.
    • The Simpsons: Tapped Out and Real Racing 3, arguably EA's two biggest recent mobile successes, came from other company divisions.
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  • Dec. 13, 2013, 11:08 AM
    • NPD estimates U.S. physical retail video game sales fell 24% Y/Y in November, after having risen 12% in October and (thanks to the Grand Theft Auto V launch) 52% in September. The fact many gamers directed their discretionary income towards buying next-gen consoles may have played a role here.
    • Electronic Arts (EA +7.2%) investors appear pleased Battlefield 4 came in at #2 on NPD's bestseller list, in spite of the well-publicized bugs and gameplay issues EA is scrambling to address. In addition, Madden NFL 25 is ranked #4 after falling out of the top-10 in October, and FIFA 14 is at #10.
    • Activision's (ATVI +0.1%) Call of Duty: Ghosts topped the bestseller list, and Skylanders: Swap Force is ranked #7. Take-Two (TTWO +2%) investors appear content with the fact GTA V came in at #5 after easily topping NPD's list for two months; Take-Two's NBA 2K14 is ranked #6, up one spot from October.
    • NPD also states the PS4 outsold the Xbox One in November both in terms of hardware and game sales. But that might simply be the result of an earlier launch (Nov. 15 vs. Nov. 22). Sony claimed 2.1M+ PS4 sales as of Dec. 3, and Microsoft claimed 2M+ Xbox One sales as of Dec. 11.
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  • Dec. 6, 2013, 11:01 AM
    • Electronic Arts (EA +4.6%) has recouped the lion's share of the losses it saw yesterday in response to news its DICE unit is halting work on future projects to fix Battlefield 4. The efforts of several analysts to defend the gaming giant are likely helping out.
    • While admitting Battlefield 4's game engine needs to be fixed, Piper's Michael Olson deems it unlikely EA's efforts have pulled in teams working other projects, and believes Battlefield 5 will ship in FY15 (ends March '15). Moreover, though he's only assuming 10M Battlefield 5 shipments for FY15 (compared with 13M Battlefield 4 shipments for FY14), Olson thinks EA can deliver more than $4.3B in FY15 revenue (consensus is at $4.23B).
    • Pac Crest's Evan Wilson is more cautious. He argues Battlefield 4's disappointing initial sales, lukewarm reviews, and bugs have "lessened the value of the Battlefield franchise and the probability that it can indeed knock Call of Duty (ATVI +1.9%) off its perch." He also thinks they put into question "EA’s decision to standardize on the Frostbite [game] engine."
    • Also: EA has launched iOS/Android games for its popular Heroes of Dragon Age strategy combat franchise. Like other EA mobile titles, the games are free to download, and monetized via in-app purchases.
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  • Dec. 5, 2013, 11:44 AM
    • With complaints about bugs and connectivity issues piling up for Electronics Arts' (EA -7.3%) recently-launched Battlefield 4, EA's DICE unit (responsible for developing the game) is halting the release of additional Battlefield 4 expansion packs, and is also stopping work on all "future projects," until the game's issues are sorted out.
    • EA investors aren't responding well to the news. Without healthy sales of Battlefield 4 and its $50 premium service, EA could struggle to hit its Dec. quarter forecasts. Moreover, DICE's project halts could delay the release of two anticipated titles: Star Wars: Battlefront (due in 2015) and Mirror's Edge 2 (due in 2015/2016).
    • Activision (ATVI -2%), whose mainstay Call of Duty franchise is the top rival to EA's Battlefield franchise, is also selling off.
  • Dec. 4, 2013, 9:42 AM
    • AT&T (T -1.4%) has been cut to Neutral by JPMorgan.
    • Electronic Arts (EA +0.8%) has been upgraded to Neutral by Hilliard Lyons.
    • Flextronics (FLEX -1.7%) has been cut to Sell by Goldman.
    • CommScope (COMM -0.1%) has received ten bullish ratings, and just one neutral one, on underwriter coverage day.
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  • Nov. 15, 2013, 2:20 PM
    • After rising 52% Y/Y in September on the back of huge sales for Take-Two's (TTWO -0.2%) Grand Theft Auto V, NPD estimates U.S. physical retail video game sales only rose 12% Y/Y in October ahead of this month's PlayStation 4 (launching today) and Xbox One (launching on Nov. 22) debuts. GTA V was once more the bestselling title.
    • GameStop (GME -2.2%) is selling off on the wake of NPD's numbers, and so is Electronic Arts (EA -5.7%). Investors in the latter might not be pleased Madden NFL 25 (#2 in September and #1 in August) and FIFA 14 (#5 in September) fell out of the NPD's list of the ten top-selling games. EA's Battlefield 4, which launched near the end of the month to muted reviews, came in at #4.
    • Take-Two's NBA 2K14 (#3 in September) and WWE 2K14 respectively came in at #7 and #10.
    • Activision's (ATVI - unchanged) Skylanders: Swap Force was #8 on the list. Diablo III, which was #4 in September, dropped out of the top-10.
    • Hardware sales fell 8% ahead of the PS4/Xbox One launches, and only totaled $171.7M. Accessories sales rose 1%.
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  • Oct. 30, 2013, 9:48 AM
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  • Oct. 30, 2013, 9:13 AM
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  • Oct. 29, 2013, 4:23 PM
    • YELP expects Q4 revenue of $66M-$72M, above a $64.8M consensus. Shares -1.5% AH. (Q3 results, PR)
    • Take-Two (TTWO) expects FQ3 revenue of $650M-$700M and EPS of $1.20-$1.35, largely above a consensus of $640.9M and $1.22. FY14 (ends March '14) guidance is for revenue of $2.2B-$2.3B and EPS of $3.50-$3.75, above a consensus of $2.03B and $2.80. Shares are halted. (FQ2 results, PR)
    • Electronic Arts (EA) expects FQ3 revenue of $1.65B and EPS of $1.22, below a consensus of $1.75B and $1.32. However, FY14 (ends March '14) guidance is stronger: revenue of $4B and EPS of $1.25 vs. a consensus of $4.02B and $1.22. Shares +2% AH. (FQ2 results, PR).
    • Flextronics (FLEX) expects FQ3 revenue of $6.5B-$6.9B and EPS fo $0.21-$0.25 vs. a consensus of $6.79B and $0.25. Shares -1.6% AH. (FQ2 results, PR)
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  • Oct. 29, 2013, 4:06 PM
    • Electronic Arts (EA): FQ2 EPS of $0.33 beats by $0.21.
    • Non-GAAP Revenue of $1.04B beats by $62.25M. (PR)
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  • Oct. 29, 2013, 1:04 PM
    • Battlefield 4 launched today in the U.S., ahead of Electronic Arts' (EA -2.7%) afternoon FQ2 report. Reviews for the first-person shooter have been respectable, but not quite glowing.
    • EGM (8.5/10) calls Battlefield 4's multiplayer mode "a force to be reckoned with"  capable of producing "dozens of memorable, thrilling experiences the likes of which just aren’t possible in any other shooter." But it also claims the game's hyped single-player mode (includes work from film/TV actors) "misses its narrative ambitions by a mile."
    • IGN (8.0/10): "The current-gen version of Battlefield 4 isn't the ideal way to play, but it isn't damaged or deficient despite its limitations. It accomplishes less than you'll see on other platforms, but it's still a great multiplayer shooter."
    • EA is counting on both sales of Battlefield 4 itself, and subscriptions to its $50 premium service, to bolster holiday season results. EA closed its June quarter with 4M+ subs for its Battlefield 3 Premium service.
    • Separately, EA has ended its 15-year relationship with Tiger Woods. That means Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 (launched in March) will be the last EA golf title to feature Woods' name. NPD estimates the Tiger Woods PGA Tour franchise has produced $771M in game sales over its lifetime.
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  • Oct. 29, 2013, 12:10 AM
  • Oct. 28, 2013, 5:35 PM
  • Oct. 22, 2013, 12:50 PM
    • Electronic Arts (EA +1.2%) is pushing back the launch of The Sims 4 to fall 2014 from March 2014. However, EA adds the delay of the anticipated game (trailer video) won't affect its FY14 (ends March '14) guidance. (PR) (8-K)
    • EA also announces Titanfall (trailer video), a hyped first-person shooter being published by EA and developed by private Respawn Entertainment, will launch on March 11; the game was previously scheduled to arrive later than March.
    • Shares have ticked higher following the announcements; FQ2 (Sep. quarter) results are due on Oct. 29.
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  • Oct. 18, 2013, 11:15 AM
    • Thanks to Grand Theft Auto V's (TTWO -0.6%) blockbuster launch, U.S. retail physical video game sales rose 52% Y/Y in September to $754M, per NPD (or +40% if one includes PC game sales). Sales were up 21% in August after falling 19% in July.
    • GTA V, whose global retail sales topped $1B within three days of its Sep. 17 launch, single-handedly accounted for over half of NPD's September figure. Electronic Arts' (EA +0.6%) Madden NFL 25 was #2 on NPD's bestseller list after coming in first in August, and FIFA 14 was #5. Take-Two's NBA 2K14 was #3, and Activision's (ATVI -1.1%) Diablo III was #4.
    • Hardware sales -13% Y/Y to just $183M ahead of the Xbox One/PS4 launches. Accessories +2% to $142M. GameStop (GME +1.5%) is higher after initially trading near breakeven.
    • NPD also reports U.S. digital game revenue rose 6% Y/Y to $970M, albeit with a mix shift away from traditional fare. Downloadable content sales for console-type games fell 23% to $198M, and subscription MMOs (such as Activision's World of Warcraft) lost 300K subs.
    • However, mobile game sales rose 14% to $266M, social games rose 16% to $176M, and free-to-play MMOs such as EA's Star Wars: The Old Republic added 700K users. That first two figures spell bigger addressable markets for Zynga (ZNGA +1.8%) and Glu (GLUU +4.1%), respectively; each has lost some share this year.
  • Sep. 27, 2013, 4:58 PM
    • An attorney representing student athletes who sued Electronic Arts (EA -0.8%) and the Collegiate Licensing Co. (handles trademark licensing for individual colleges) has confirmed the companies will pay $40M to make an antitrust suit over the use of athlete likenesses in EA games (without compensation) go away.
    • News of the settlement figure comes a day after EA announced it won't release a college football game next year, and is evaluating its plans for the franchise's future.
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Company Description
Electronic Arts Inc develops, markets, publishes and distributes video game software and content that can be played by consumers on various platforms.