In its third quarter briefing, Electronic Arts CEO Andrew House acknowledged Q3 was a "difficult quarter" for the company, admitting the publisher/developer "did not perform to [its] expectations" despite the launch of Battlefield V and Command & Conquer: Rivals during the reporting period.
EA’s Q3, which closed December 31st, 2018, saw the company pull in total net revenue of $1.29 billion, while net income was $262 million. Net bookings, on the other hand – described as "the net amount of products and services sold digitally or sold-in physically in the period" – sat at $1.61 billion, up 6 per cent year-on-year. This is down slightly on EA’s original estimates, which had projected $1.38 billion in net revenue and $1.73 billion in net bookings during the quarter.
The financials did, however, state that FIFA 19 "was the highest-selling console game in Europe" across the 2018 calendar year, and FIFA Ultimate Team matches played increased by 15 per cent year-over-year during the quarter.
EA also repurchased 3.2 million shares for $292 million during the quarter, and 9.0 million shares for $1.04 billion during the trailing twelve months.
Looking ahead, EA projects Q4 will secure $1.16 billion in net revenue, $170 million in net income, and $1.17 billion in net bookings. By the end of the fiscal year – March 31st – it expects the full year’s net revenue of around $4.88 billion, net income of $980 million, and $4.75 billion in net bookings.
"The video game industry continues to grow through a year of intense competition and transformational change," said CEO Andrew Wilson. "Q3 was a difficult quarter for Electronic Arts and we did not perform to our expectations. We are now applying the strengths of our company to sharpen our execution and focus on delivering great new games and long-term live services for our players. We’re very excited about Apex Legends, the upcoming launch of Anthem, and a deep line-up of new experiences that we’ll bring to our global communities next fiscal year."
"FIFA stands out as a robust franchise through a tumultuous year in the video game industry," added COO and CFO, Blake Jorgensen. "Elsewhere in the business, we’re making adjustments to improve execution and we’re refocusing R&D. Looking forward, we’re delighted to launch Anthem, our new IP, to grow Apex Legends and related Titanfall experiences, to deliver new Plants vs. Zombies and Need for Speed titles, and to add Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order to our sports titles in the fall."
Apex: Legends – a free-to-play battle royale game set within the Titanfall universe – released suddenly this week and made a huge impact, attracting one million unique players in the first eight hours.