Sep. 5, 2013, 6:10 PM
- Electronic Arts (EA) estimates first-week (Aug. 27-Sep. 2) retail Madden NFL 25 unit sales topped 1M. Though that figure makes the latest update to the marquee football game franchise "the highest selling game in North America in August," it's also down from the 1.65M first-week sales reported for Madden NFL 13 a year ago.
- Two contributing factors: 1) Madden NFL 13 was viewed as a bigger update, thanks to its new animation engine. 2) Some gamers are likely waiting for the Xbox One/PS4 versions, which arrive after the next-gen consoles launch in November.
- Also: Users of the iOS version of Madden NFL 25, which is offered on a free-to-play basis, have given the game a rating of only 3/5 stars. Many of them complain about the need to spend heavily on in-app purchases to accomplish much of anything.
- EA -1.3% AH after falling 1.1% in regular trading.
Aug. 27, 2013, 4:09 PM
- Electronic Arts (EA -3.1%) has launched Madden NFL 25 for the Xbox 360, PS3, and iPhone/iPad. Interestingly, the iOS apps are offered on a free-to-play basis (i.e. monetized via in-app purchases). (PR)
- Strong in-app purchase activity for two other free-to-play EA mobile titles - The Simpsons: Tapped Out and Real Racing 3 - fueled a 33% Y/Y jump in the company's June quarter mobile revenue to $104M (21% of total revenue).
- Last week, EA announced strong early traction for Plants vs. Zombies 2 (also free-to-play), and in May, the company noted it's working on a mobile version of its advanced Frostbite game engine.
- Reviews for the home console versions of Madden NFL 25 are solid: Metacritic gives the game a score of 81/100. A new running system and physics engine are generally praised, though some reviewers don't consider gameplay much-improved from Madden NFL 13.
Aug. 22, 2013, 10:49 AM
- Game developers Electronic Arts (EA +2.8%), Activision (ATVI +1.4%), and Take-Two (TTWO +2.4%) are all outperforming after GameStop beat Q2 estimates, issued a strong Q3 same-store sales outlook, and made upbeat comments about holiday season demand.
- EA and Take-Two are both near their 52-week highs.
- GameStop's numbers come shortly after Microsoft and Sony announced holiday season game lineups for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, prior to the start of the Gamescom conference. Sony also boasted PS4 pre-orders have topped 1M.
- EA made several game-related announcements on Tuesday.
Aug. 20, 2013, 2:04 PM
- 23 titles have been lined up thus far for the Xbox One's (MSFT +0.9%) Nov. launch. They include several games from popular Electronic Arts (EA +2.6%) franchises, including Battlefield 4, Madden NFL 25, Need for Speed: Rivals, and FIFA 14, and (as expected) a number of Microsoft Studios titles.
- Activision's (ATVI -0.3%) Call of Duty: Ghosts and Skylanders: Swap Force will also be available at launch time.
- Microsoft states 38% of the titles (presumably including all of the Microsoft Studios titles) are exclusive to the One, 37% are brand-new, and 44% will include "timed or exclusive content."
- After going through the titles, Forbes' Paul Tassi thinks "Microsoft has a pretty solid line-up," even if many of the most popular titles won't be exclusives.
- Microsoft has also announced a platform that will allow "qualified" indie developers to self-publish titles via Xbox Live.
- The software giant is still smarting a bit from the backlash triggered by planned used game restrictions and online verification requirements for the One, even though its about-face on the matter did much to calm tensions.
Aug. 20, 2013, 1:21 PM
- Ahead of the Aug. 21-25 Gamescom conference, Electronic Arts (EA +3.3%) has made a slew of announcements. Among other things, EA has:
- Boasted Plants vs. Zombies 2, launched last Thursday on iOS, has already seen over 16M downloads, which leads the company to call it "the most successful mobile game launch in EA's history." The title topped App Store game download charts in 137 countries, and has an average rating of 4.5/5 stars.
- Revealed details about Battlefield 4 Premium, the $50 service attached to the next release for EA's top first-person shooter franchise (due Oct. 29). 5 digital expansion packs and 12 "battlepacks" are provided with a subscription.
- Announced FIFA 14 (due Sep. 24-27) will include a new online mode and various Latin American clubs not previously covered. The FIFA franchise has been one of EA's biggest international successes.
- Released a gameplay trailer (video) for The Sims 4 (due in 2014).
- Shares have made new 52-week highs, and are up 47% since John Riccitiello's resignation was announced on March 18.
Jul. 31, 2013, 6:10 PM
- The court affirms a ruling by a district judge that the use of ex-athletes' likenesses in Electronic Arts' (EA) NCAA football and basketball games isn't protected as free expression by the 1st Amendment.
- The ruling upholds a suit filed by 9 former NCAA athletes demanding compensation for EA's use of their images/likenesses.
- An antitrust suit filed by former UCLA basketball player Ed O'Bannon also remains outstanding.
- Earlier this month, the NCAA opted not to renew its licensing deal with EA. But while EA will no longer make use of the NCAA's name and logo, it plans to continue making college football games, courtesy of a deal with the Collegiate Licensing Company.
Jul. 24, 2013, 2:51 PMElectronic Arts (EA +8.2%) has soared to new 52-week highs following its big FQ1 beat and in-line FY14 guidance; Activision (ATVI +1.1%) and Take-Two (TTWO +1%) are up moderately. EA managed to grow its Battlefield 3 Premium sub base by 500K Q/Q to 4M+, and mobile revenue rose 33% Y/Y to $104M (21% of total) thanks to in-app purchases for The Simpsons: Tapped Out and Real Racing 3. Home console ($191M) and PC ($175M) revenue both fell 6% Y/Y. While total revenue rose 1% Y/Y, opex fell 3% thanks to recent job cuts. Also: EA has announced it's partnering with Chinese gaming giant Tencent (TCEHY.PK) to bring FIFA Online 3 to China. Wedbush is pulling EA from its Best Ideas list, arguing a lot of good news is priced in, but maintaining an Outperform. (transcript) | Comment!
Jul. 24, 2013, 9:16 AM
Jul. 23, 2013, 5:48 PMTech guidance roundup: 1) Electronic Arts (EA - earnings) expects FQ2 revenue of $975M and EPS of $0.12, below a consensus of $976M and $0.15. FY14 guidance is for revenue of $4B and EPS of $1.20, in-line with consensus. 2) Altera (ALTR - earnings) expects FQ3 sales to rise 5%-9% Q/Q, in-line with a 7.2% consensus. 3) RF Micro (RFMD - earnings) expects FQ2 revenue of $305M-$310M and EPS of $0.10-$0.11 vs. a consensus of $306.8M and $0.10. 4) Linear (LLTC - earnings) expects FQ2 revenue to be up 2%-5% Q/Q, mostly above a 2.2% consensus. EA +7% AH. ALTR +1.5%. RFMD -0.7%. LLTC +1.5%. (PRs: Electronic Arts, Altera, RF Micro, Linear) | Comment!
Jul. 23, 2013, 5:30 PM
Jul. 23, 2013, 4:09 PM
Jul. 23, 2013, 12:10 AM
Jul. 22, 2013, 5:35 PMNotable earnings after Tuesday’s close: AAPL, ACC, ACE, AEC, ALTR, BCR, BRCM, CPWR, DFS, EA, FBC, FNB, FTI, HA, HLIT, HTS, IGT, ILMN, IRBT, JNPR, KFN, LLTC, NBR, NSC, PEI, PLCM, PNRA, RE, RFMD, RHI, RKT, T, TSS, UIS, USNA, VASC, VMW, VOCS, WCN, ZIXI | Comment!
Jul. 19, 2013, 2:00 PMElectronic Arts (EA +0.6%) plans to keep making college football games ... even if they lack the NCAA's official blessing. Two days after the NCAA announced EA's just-released NCAA Football 2014 will be the last title "to include the NCAA's name and logo," Joystiq reports EA recently struck a 3-year extension with the Collegiate Licensing Company, which handles trademark licensing for individual colleges. The extension is said to be non-exclusive; a settlement proposed by EA last year to a class-action suit over its exclusive sports licensing deals prohibits NCAA exclusivity. | Comment!
Jul. 17, 2013, 3:54 PMThe NCAA has decided not to renew its game licensing deal with EA Sports (EA -1.6%); the organization says NCAA Football 2014 (released this month) will be the last game "to include the NCAA’s name and logo." The decision comes amidst an antitrust suit pursued by former players (led by UCLA grad Ed O'Bannon) over the use of their names and likeness in NCAA games. EA shares have dipped on the news. | Comment!
Jul. 2, 2013, 5:16 PMElectronic Arts (EA) extends its partnership with toy/board game giant Hasbro (HAS). EA, which has already created games based on Hasbro franchises such as Monopoly, Scrabble, and The Game of Life, will "develop several of Hasbro's best-selling gaming brands for mobile platforms globally" in a new 4-year deal. Meanwhile, Wedbush says it believes Microsoft Xbox division chief and former EA studios head Don Mattrick, who just agreed to be Zynga's CEO, was "the front-runner for the EA job as well." The firm thinks EA is now "back to square one in its search," and will likely choose between COO Peter Moore and EVP Frank Gibeau. (Hasbro/Zynga deal) | Comment!
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