Leading publisher Electronic Arts has reported record revenues for the full year ended March 31st, with $2.957 billion recorded in global turnover - while sales in Europe passed the $1 billion mark for the first time.
Net revenues were up 19 per cent on last year's (also record breaking) figures, and it seems certain that the company will become the first independent publisher to realise over $3 billion in revenues in the coming financial year.
EA continued to build its dominance of the software market in the west throughout the year, and its market share of the current generation console software sector stood at 27 per cent in the USA - up five per cent - and at 26 per cent in Europe - up six per cent.
As well as revenues, profits were also climbing, and operating income skyrocketed by some 70 per cent to $776 million - while the company's gross margin figure reached a record 62.7 per cent.
The company's software line-up performed spectacularly throughout the year, and in total, 27 titles sold in excess of a million units (up from 21 last year), while six franchises broke the 5 million unit mark - The Sims, Need for Speed, Medal of Honor, FIFA, Lord of the Rings and Madden.
These figures once again mark EA out as the undisputed market leader in terms of indepent software publishing, and the company actually expects to extend its dominance of the market even further in the coming financial year.
Serious investment in new titles, technologies and tools, both on the current platforms and in the online, handheld and wireless space, is planned in the near future, and the firm believes that it is at a point in the console cycle where it can substantially grow its business.
"Our ability to grow through the remainder of this cycle is directly tied to our ability to execute on existing opportunities," according to EA CFO Warren Jenson. "We don't have to invent or take crazy risks. We simply need to opportunistically execute on what is right in front of us."
For the forthcoming year, EA anticipates revenues of between $3.25 and $3.40 billion - a climb of 10 to 15 per cent over this year's revenues, and growth which will probably outstrip the actual underlying growth of the software market once again.
In line with the expectations of analysts, EA predicted that the PS2 price will be cut to $149 in line with the recent Xbox price cut in the coming months, possibly as soon as E3. It expects sales of between 6.5 and 7.5 million units for the PS2 in North America this year, with between 7 and 8 million unit sales expected in Europe.
While its projections for PS2 are stronger in Europe, the other consoles are expected to sell more strongly in the USA. The Xbox will sell between 3 and 3.5 million units in North America this year, EA believes, while the Cube will sell between 2.5 and 3 million units; in Europe, the same set of figures shows the Xbox selling 1.5 to 2 million units, while the Cube sells 1 to 1.5 million.