Live services drive fiscal 2020 rebound for EA

Publisher enjoys record net revenues, plans for continued focus on live services into 2021

After a disappointing 2019, EA forecasted a rebound in fiscal 2020 led by live service games like Apex Legends, The Sims 4, and its annual sports titles.

It appears to have forecasted accurately, with the company reporting its Q4 and full-year earnings for 2020 showing year-on-year revenue and bookings increases, the lion's share of which were from digital and live services.

For the quarter, EA reports digital net revenue of $1.2 billion -- up 25% year-over-year, and making up 88% of its total net revenue of $1.4 billion.

Operating income for Q4 reached $401 million, up 105% year-over-year.

Total net bookings in the quarter were $1.2 billion, made up of $211 million in full-game downloads (up 25% year-over-year), $832 million from live services (up 17%), and $176 million from mobile (down 3%).

With the company's mobile revenues declining, EA noted in its earnings that in fiscal 2021, it will adjust its reporting on net bookings to focus on full game and live service bookings only, grouping in mobile in an "other" category "in line with the direction we continue to drive the business."

For the full year, EA saw digital net revenue of $4.3 billion, up from $3.7 billion last year; and total net revenue of $5.5 billion, up from $4.95 billion last year and a new record for the company

Net income for the year reached $3 billion, considerably up from last year's $1 billion with the aid of a one-time tax benefit. Operating income reached $1.4 billion.

Digital net bookings for fiscal 2020 were $4 billion, up 9% year-over-year and making up 78% of the company's total net bookings, which were $5.2 billion.

Last year, digital net bookings made up 75% of total net bookings, and 68% the year before that.

Additionally, EA shared that FIFA 20 has reached over 25 million unique players, and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order has over 10 million unique players.

Looking ahead, EA anticipates Q1 net revenues of $1.2 billion, net income of $270 million, and net bookings of $1 billion -- with Burnout Paradise Remastered and Command & Conquer Remastered currently set to release during that period.

For the full year, the company projects net revenue of $5.5 billion, net income of $978 million, and net bookings of $5.5 billion, with Madden NFL 21 and FIFA 21 planned for Q2 and NHL 21 planned for Q3.

Additionally, EA plans to announce and release an additional EA Sports title, an EA HD title, four titles from third-party partners, two mobile soft launches, Medal of Honor VR, and expansions onto next-gen platforms for current EA titles.

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