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Strong sports game sales drive EA to a profitable second quarter

UPDATE Electronic Arts is reporting modest growth in both revenue and profits as sales of packaged sports games like Madden 15 and FIFA 15 carry it into the holiday season.
Electronic Arts has published its financial report for the second quarter of its 2015 fiscal year, and the company seems to be doing brisk business on the back of sports games for both console and mobile platforms. In today's public earnings report [PDF] EA reported a total (Non-GAAP) net revenue of $1.22 billion for the quarter ending September 30, 2014. That's an increase of roughly 17 percent over the $1.04 billion in quarterly revenue it reported in the same quarter a year prior, and higher than the $1.14 billion the company predicted it would earn this quarter. EA also reported $232 million in profit for the quarter, up nearly 121 percent from the $105 million it reportedly brought in during the same period last year. The lion's share of the quarter's revenue was driven by sales of physical retail games, which generated $767 million as digital sales accounted for $453 million. Sales were led by the company's strong stable of sports titles, including NHL 15, Madden 15 and FIFA 15 for current- and last-gen consoles. EA also made a show of crowing about the growth of its mobile game audience; the company reported a 250 percent uptick year-over-year in monthly active users across its mobile sports games, including FIFA 15 Ultimate Team Mobile and Madden NFL Mobile. For the quarter, EA's mobile titles averaged 155 million monthly active players, over 40 million of which were playing mobile sports games. However, the company's mobile games business continue to generate a minority of EA's overall (Non-GAAP) revenue, accounting for just 10 percent both this quarter and the same quarter a year prior. Looking ahead, the company seems to be feeling cautiously optimistic about its chances; EA has raised its predicted Non-GAAP net revenue for fiscal year 2015 to $4.175 billion, about $75 million more than it had previously predicted. Update: In a conference call with investors today, EA CFO Blake Jorgenson confirmed that EA now intends to release its upcoming Battlefield: Hardline in the third week of March 2015 after delaying the game from its planned release this fall. CEO Andrew Wilson added that after EA releases Hardline, the company won't release another big Battlefield game until the third quarter of its 2017 fiscal year (which encompasses the 2016 holiday season); in the interim, it intends to launch a Star Wars Battlefront shooter in fiscal 2016 (next year's holiday season). “This provides us with a major FPS title each year," said Jorgenson, noting that releasing a Battlefield game every other year "allows our Battlefield titles to enjoy the long life we’ve historically seen.” Wilson also said that the EA Access initiative the company launched in July "is surpassing all our internal expectations in terms of subscriber programs" and sold it to investors as a useful "sampling program" that drives sales of sequels to games that are offered for free download via Access.

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