EA leverages gaming boom outpacing Q421 expectations

EA leverages gaming boom outpacing Q421 expectations

12 May 2021 | Natalie Bannerman

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Electronic ArtsĀ (EA) has reported positive preliminary financial results for its Q4 and full year period ended 31 March 2021.

The company reported $6.19 billion in net bookings, up 15% year on year and $600 million above the company's full-year projections. Net bookings are the net number of products and services sold digitally or sold-in physically in the period.

“Our teams have done incredible work over the last year to deliver amazing experiences during a very challenging time for everyone around the world,” said Andrew Wilson, CEO of Electronic Arts.

“With tremendous engagement across our portfolio, we delivered a record year for Electronic Arts. We’re now accelerating in FY22, powered by expansion of our blockbuster franchises to more platforms and geographies, a deep pipeline of new content, and recent acquisitions that will be catalysts for further growth.”

At the same time net income came in $76 million for the quarter, down 18.8% from 2020, and $837 million for the fiscal year down 27.5% from the previous year. This is in spite of the fact that operating cash flow was $371 million for the quarter and $1.9 billion for the fiscal year.

In addition, the company paid a cash dividend of $0.17 per share during the quarter.

The news has been driven by the Covid-19 pandemic which has forced people to spend more time at home, having to turn to cloud-based gaming for entertainment.

According to Facebook’s Games Marketing Insights for 2021 in the US, the gaming audience has grown to 28 million people since March 2020, with a 28% jump in mobile gaming, and in the UK the gaming audience grew to 8.6 million, with a 50% increase in mobile gaming.

This in turn has an impact on the support networks and infrastructure, for example, the London Internet Exchange (LINX) saw its network reach over 6Tbps in April 2020, ‘many of these peaks related to an increase in online gaming, seeing peaks as large updates get released for games such as Fortnite and Call of Duty’ it reported.

“EA delivered a strong quarter, driven by live services and Apex Legends’ extraordinary performance. Apex steadily grew through the last year, driven by the games team and the content they are delivering,” said Blake Jorgensen, COO and CFO of Electronic Arts.

 “Looking forward, the momentum in our existing live services provides a solid foundation for FY22. Combined with a new Battlefield and our recent acquisitions, we expect net bookings growth in the high teens.”

Looking ahead, the company’s FY22 net revenue is expected to reach $6.8 billion, with net income expected to reach $390 million. With dividends to reach $1.34 per share and Operating cash flow to top $1.7 billion. Continuing at pace net bookings are expected to be approximately $7.3 billion.