Leading independent publisher Electronic Arts has recorded exceptionally strong results in its first financial quarter, with net revenues rising 22 per cent and net income up 32 per cent as three new titles sold over a million units.
Revenues for the three months to June 30th were $432 million, compared with $353 million last year, while net income was up to $24 million - representing diluted earnings per share of $0.08, as against $0.06 las tear.
Revenues in the quarter were driven by a combination of new products and catalogue sales, with three new titles managing to exceed a million units each - Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Fight Night 2004 and UEFA Euro 2004 Portugal.
In terms of back catalogue sales, both Need for Speed Underground and MVP Baseball 2004 continued to sell extremely strongly throughout the quarter, with the former title having now exceeded 7 million units sold since its debut last Christmas.
For the second quarter, EA expects an even larger rise in year on year revenues - with net revenue projected at between $680 and $715 million, up 28 to 35 per cent on last year's figure largely thanks to the arrival of the company's two huge American football titles, NCAA Football and Madden NFL.
"We are off to a great start in our new fiscal year," confirmed EA chairman and CEO Larry Probst. "We received five Game Critics Awards for Best of E3 - a record for any company - and three of our first quarter releases went platinum. NCAA Football's week one sales are tracking over 50 per cent ahead of last year, and Madden NFL's pre-orders are at record levels."
EA's chief financial officer, Warren Jenson, noted that the company has actually achieved the 32 per cent rise in quarterly net income despite a 43 per cent increase in research and development expense - presumably a confirmation that the company is already investing strongly in next-generation home console and handheld development.
For the full year through to March 31st, 2005, Electronic Arts plans to break through the $3 billion revenue mark, becoming the first independent game publisher to do so. Current projections suggest that full-year net revenues will be between $3.3 and $3.4 billion - a year on year rise of 12 to 15 per cent.