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EA Warns On Weak Holiday Game Sales

In the same conference call in which the company discussed its acquisition of mobile firm Jamdat,...
In the same conference call in which the company discussed its acquisition of mobile firm Jamdat, Electronic Arts has also warned on its holiday console and PC game sales. Though it declined to give precise figures, EA suggested that the company had seen weaker game sales in November, and saw those continuing into December. An EA representative, responding to analyst questions in the call, commented: "We think we're holding our own competitively, but we've seen softness and results [in the holiday game market] below our expectations." Early NPD indications for November 2005, albeit filtered through analysts, seem to back this up, with EA reportedly seeing reduced sales for the month compared to 2004. Replying to questions about whether the weakness was due to one particular area, the spokesperson commented: "It's not any one thing or any one platform", before venturing a next-gen related reason for some of the fall-off: "Some of it has to do with the launch of [Xbox] 360, and there being some pent-up demand prior to that happening." Bolstering this argument, it was suggested: "There's still a lot of people sitting on the sidelines hoping that they'll get a 360 prior to the holiday season." With early NPD data indicating that around 330,000 Xbox 360 consoles were sold in November, but many more consumers left wanting, it's easy to see why this might affect Electronic Arts' sales of both current and next-gen games. EA shares were down $1.51 to $54.24 in after-hours trading, following the announcement.

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