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Electronic Arts Reduces Losses In Q4, Reports 31 Million-Selling Titles

Although Electronic Arts' fiscal fourth quarter saw a $42 million loss, it was narrower than analysts expected, and less than half the $94 million loss the company reported last year.
Although Electronic Arts' fiscal fourth quarter saw a $42 million loss, it was narrower than analysts expected, and less than half the $94 million loss the company reported last year. EA's Q4 ends March 31. "We remain vigilant on managing costs," says company CFO Eric Brown, and investors apparently agree, as the company's shares are seeing a slight lift in trading today. EA is reporting a 15 percent increase in revenue for its full year, reporting a total $4.2 billion. It comes alongside a net loss of $1.08 billion for the year, versus $454 million in the year previous, thanks to a total $820 million in charges, allowances and impairments. The company says it has 31 titles that sold more than one million copies over the year, four more than it had the year prior -- FIFA 09, Madden NFL 09 and Need For Speed Undercover each broke five million copies. EA also says Spore sold more than 2 million copies, and users have created more than 100 million creatures. For the fourth quarter's $860 million in revenue, EA says it has mainly Skate 2, Rock Band 2, Lord of the Rings: Conquest, Left 4 Dead and Need for Speed Undercover to thank. Revenue for the quarter was down $267 million year over year. "EA’s strong cost actions in Q4 FY09 together with our investments in our digital service businesses will set us up for a stronger FY10," says CEO John Riccitiello, referring to the company's aggressive restructuring after the publisher's 2008 holiday losses. As for EA Partners, the publisher says that group posted its "strongest year ever" thanks to Left 4 Dead and the Rock Band franchise -- Rock Band, in partnership with Harmonix and MTV, was the title that raked in the most revenue for EA during the entirety of the year. EA also highlights its growing Wii presence: 14 percent of its revenue came from titles on Nintendo's console in fiscal 2008, as opposed to 8 percent the year previous. The company's online and wireless "digital services" revenue also increased 27 percent to $429 million, while its Pogo online casual portal saw its highest number of paying subscribers ever, at 1.8 million users. EA Mobile publishing revenue was also up 29 percent to $189 million. "EA is well positioned with the right strategies in a growing industry," says Riccitiello. As such, EA's sticking by its estimates for the coming fiscal year, expecting revenues of $3.7 to $3.85 billion thanks to additional deferred revenues from online games. Notably, EA's results include the revelation that it has "amended an agreement" with an unspecified content licensor, terminating its rights to the unspecified IP and resulting in a $38 million loss.

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