Games News

Electronic Arts Rises as Results Top Analysts’ Estimates With Soccer Game

Electronic Arts Inc., the second-largest video-game publisher, rose the most since September 2009 in Nasdaq trading after reporting first- quarter results that exceeded analysts’ estimates.

Electronic Arts gained $1.07, or 6.6 percent, to $17.25 at 11:45 a.m. New York time after reaching $17.35. The stock had fallen 8.8 percent this year before today.

Net income totaled $96 million, or 29 cents a share, compared with a loss of $234 million, or 72 cents, a year ago, Redwood City, California-based Electronic Arts said yesterday in a statement after markets closed. Excluding some items, the loss of 24 cents in the period ended June 30 was smaller than the average 35-cent loss estimated by 21 analysts in a Bloomberg survey.

Online games, “2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa” and titles for Apple Inc.’s iPad contributed to the results. Chief Executive Officer John Riccitiello has cut more than 2,500 jobs since 2008 to reduce costs and stem three years of losses. In November, the company bought Playfish, a maker of games on the Facebook social-networking site, to gain a bigger foothold in Internet playing.

The “restructuring, including headcount and facility reductions, as well as a rapid expansion in digital- services revenue is setting the stage for more profitable growth,” Shawn Milne, a San Francisco-based analyst with Janney Montgomery Scott LLC, said today in a note to investors. He has a “neutral” rating on the stock.

Online Games

The global market for online games is projected to grow by a third to $20 billion in 2010, according to Colin Sebastian, an analyst at Lazard Capital Markets in San Francisco who has a “hold” rating on the stock. Meanwhile retail sales of game hardware and software in the U.S. fell 9 percent in the first half of the year, according to NPD Group Inc., a Port Washington, New York-based researcher.

This quarter, the company forecasts sales of $775 million to $825 million, excluding some items. The company predicts a loss of 10 cents to 15 cents a share on that basis. Analysts project a loss of 11 cents, the average of 20 estimates, on revenue of $815.8 million.

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