EA: Gloomy outlook

Electronic Arts has warned of lower-than-anticipated earnings for the year ahead. Reporting its financials, the company told investors to expectrevenue of between $3.65 billion and $3.9 billion for the year ending March 2011. Wall Street had targeted over $4 billion.

Its fiscal results for Q3 offered some positives, following a year of deep cost cuts. EA lost

$82 million for the quarter ended December 31, versus a loss of $641 million for the same period in the previous year. However, revenues were down

25 percent to $1.2 billion due to weak prime-season sales.

EA said it would continue to cut its costs by releasing fewer titles this year – 36 titles instead of the previous number of 54 – and pointed towards encouraging sales of Mass Effect 2 as well as other big-name releases for 2010, including Dante’s Inferno and FIFA World Cup. The firm said it expected a further decline in packaged games, offset somewhat by growth in digital and mobile games.

For the year ahead, the company announced or confirmed new multi-platform games for key franchises including The Sims 3, a new Dragon Age game, Crysis 2 and Dead Space 2.

Shares were down nearly 8 percent at the end of the day.

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