EA cuts financial projections

Electronic Arts this evening announced it is down-grading projections for both full year revenues and trading during the Christmas season.

The firm has lowered its yearly guidance from $3.6bn-$3.9bn down to $3.6bn-$3.675bn.

CEO John Riccitiello blamed two factors for the drop: a "soft December for EA and packaged good sector in Europe" and lower shipments of titles in North America.

In a conference call detailing the new projections, the firm said it was expecting the market to remain flat in the last three months – but instead "packaged goods sales were down as much as 15 per cent in some counties".

Last week, for instance, it was confirmed the UK market had decreased 20 per cent in value, with software sales down from 1.905bn in 2008 to 1.732bn in 2009 (full calendar year comparison, source: MCV).

The firm added that it expects the packaged goods market to remain similarly flat during 2010, and its projected earnings for the associated financial year will reflect that.

"We think the best assumption going into the year, frankly given how wrong many of us were in estimating 2009, is to plan for the sector to be down single digits or as flat," said Riccitiello.

It’s obviously not the first time EA has acknowledged slower-than-expected market performace – it has forged on with a number of cut-backs and layoffs to reorganise its business in the last 12 to 18 months.

Riccitiello added that "it’s frankly taken longer" to get the business into a good shape.

He said: "What we described as a two-year comback is taking longer and that has to do with the dynamism of the sector. But I think we have the right strategies and the right team to execute them."

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