July 30, 2020 / 8:12 PM / 5 days ago

EA lifts annual sales forecast on boost from stuck-at-home gamers

(Reuters) - Electronic Arts Inc (EA.O) on Thursday raised its full-year forecast for adjusted revenue after beating quarterly estimates, encouraged by strong player engagement and increased videogame sales to stuck-at-home gamers.

FILE PHOTO: The Electronic Arts Inc. logo is displayed on a screen in New York City, U.S., September 7, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

EA, popular for titles like “Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order” and “Battlefield”, raised its full year adjusted revenue outlook to about $5.95 billion from about $5.55 billion, topping analysts’ estimates of $5.61 billion, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

EA earns a bigger chunk of its sales from live services, which include in-game purchases and “EA Access”, a subscription-based online service, among other items.

Revenue from live services was up by $416 million in the quarter from a year earlier, primarily driven by “FIFA” and “Sims”, a popular life simulation videogame, Chief Financial Officer Blake Jorgensen told Reuters.

New players on “FIFA” more than doubled in the quarter. Data from Twitchtracker.com showed “FIFA 20” gameplay was watched for nearly 42,000 hours, on an average from April to June, up about 53% from the first three months.

Videogame sales have largely benefited as people played more games while staying at home and bought virtual in-game content across platforms, pushing June sales up 26% to $1.2 billion, which is the highest June spend in over a decade according to research firm NPD.

However, EA had earlier pushed the launch of its annualized football title “FIFA 21” to October, the start of its third quarter, which dragged current quarter adjusted revenue forecast of about $875 million below Street estimates of $1.29 billion.

Jorgensen said the company decided to give both FIFA and Madden NFL 21 two extra weeks in development which caused the delay.

EA shares, which jumped 29% this year, were up marginally after the bell.

Adjusted revenue for the first quarter ended June 30, rose to $1.39 billion, beating analysts’ estimate of $1.05 billion.

Reporting by Ayanti Bera in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber

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