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Sports games carry EA though Q2, though holiday projections miss their mark

EA's major sports franchises helped the publisher meet expectations for its second fiscal quarter, though the company disappointed analysts by projecting lower-than-expected revenues for the holiday season.
EA's major sports franchises and growing digital efforts helped the publisher meet expectations for its September quarter, though the company disappointed analysts by projecting lower-than-expected revenues for the holiday season. For its most recent quarter, the company saw a total of $1.08 billion in revenue, which meets Wall Street projections and falls just above the $1.03 billion it saw during this time last year. EA also saw losses of $381 million during the quarter, down from losses of $340 million year-over-year. The company said the September quarter particularly benefitted from FIFA 13, which sold through 7.4 million units (excluding mobile downloads) in its first four weeks. EA claims the game has seen the strongest launch of any sports game in history. Madden NFL 13 also saw a strong debut, as it sold 9 percent more units this quarter than Madden NFL 12 did during this period last year. (EA did not provide exact figures.) The company's also seen strong performance on the digital front, as FIFA Online 2, FIFA World Class Soccer, the Battlefield franchise, and other online services helped EA's digital revenues increase 40 percent to $324 million compared to its second quarter last year. Things aren't looking quite as strong for the upcoming third quarter, however, as EA reported that it expects to earn less revenue than analysts anticipated. EA said third quarter revenues should fall between $1.25 billion to $1.35 billion, while analysts expected these figures to reach $1.39 billion. During its quarterly investor conference call, EA CEO John Riccitiello noted that the company's forward-looking estimates were hindered somewhat by the recently launched Medal of Honor: Warfighter, which has not performed as well as expected. The company's lower-than-expected revenues for the third quarter also reflect the ongoing problems in the video game retail market. Retail sales have been particularly slow for months, and while EA has been trying to switch its focus into the digital realm, this next quarter includes the all-important holiday season, which is often dependent on boxed retail goods.

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