Net revenue down year on year thanks to fewer releases

Electronic Arts' first quarter financial results paint a mixed picture, with number of players and engagement up for a few key franchises, but overall revenue down – though within expected parameters.

2018’s first quarter net revenue actuals landed at £1.137 billion (£866m), higher than guidance figures issued by EA in its last report, which placed them at $1.080 billion (£823m). Figures are still down year on year from 2017’s first quarter actuals, which came in at $1.449 billion (£1.1 billion).

With the company only releasing one title in 2018’s Q1 – the digital-only Unravel 2 – the muted financials are to be expected. With nothing new on shop shelves and a niche appeal for the one game released, massive gains would have been anomalous to say the least; though an improvement on guidance figures is sure to be well received at the publisher.

Away from the hard cash figures, FIFA performed well around the world with the World Cup add-on content experienced by 15 million unique players; more than 20 million taking part in the current season of FIFA competitive gaming with an 80% rise in viewing figures; and FIFA Mobile launching – and topping iOS download charts – in China.

One small surprise comes in the shape of house-and-life-builder the Sims 4, which saw its playerbase grow by some 35% year on year. The game’s release on console is the likely culprit for this boost, with it arriving on Xbox One and PS4 back in November 2017 – three years after its original release.

The coming fiscal year will see EA’s regular clutch of sports titles – Madden NFL, FIFA, NHL et al – launch, as well as titles like Battlefield V and Anthem providing the heavy non-sporting hits.

"We started the year strongly as we continued to deliver on our growth strategies with a focus on new genres, new geographies and building engaging live services across our portfolio to drive recurring revenue," said COO and CFO Blake Jorgensen in EA’s official release, "We have a strong slate of products to launch through the rest of the fiscal year, great content coming in our live services, and are continuing to grow our esports competitions."

EA’s full Q1 2018 financial report can be found here.

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