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EA celebrates a record year, forecasts another

Full game downloads and physical game sales drop as booming live services now make up 40% of publisher's income

Electronic Arts today released its financial earnings for the fiscal year ended March 31, showing record numbers, record expectations, and a quickening shift toward revenue from live services.

"Fiscal 2018 was a year of strong growth and continued transformation for Electronic Arts, as we expanded the reach of our leading franchises like FIFA, Battlefield and The Sims to more players across more platforms and geographies," CEO Andrew Wilson said. "In the year ahead, we will expand the world of play with amazing new experiences and new IP, more competition, and industry-leading subscription programs. There has never been a more exciting time to be engaging and entertaining global communities."

For the full year, EA reported net revenues up 6.2% to $5.15 billion, with net income up almost 7.9% to $1.04 billion. The fourth quarter was similarly up, with revenues growing 3.6% to $1.58 billion, and net income up 7.2% to $607 million.

Looking ahead, EA expects the current campaign to continue the company on an upward trajectory. With its usual EA Sports games, a new Battlefield, and BioWare's original Anthem expected in the first calendar quarter of 2019, EA is expecting to bring in $5.6 billion in revenue for the full fiscal year, almost $1.11 billion of which will be net income.

As for where that growth is coming from, the answer is, unsurprisingly, digital revenue streams. EA saw bookings from packaged goods decline 14% to $1.64 billion for the full fiscal year, and forecasts the current fiscal year to see that drop another 9.1% to $1.5 billion. At the same time, digital bookings were up 16.6% to $3.54 billion, and EA expects them to climb another 14.5% this year to $4.05 billion.

Interestingly, that growth has been limited to live services of late. For the full fiscal year, EA reported $2.2 billion in live services net bookings, up 31% year-over-year. At the same time, bookings from mobile games were up just 5% to $659 million, while full game downloads actually dropped 6% year-over-year to $683 million.

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Brendan Sinclair avatar

Brendan Sinclair

Managing Editor

Brendan joined GamesIndustry.biz in 2012. Based in Toronto, Ontario, he was previously senior news editor at GameSpot in the US.