Electronic Arts on the up and up

Another publisher reports business up since last year

Source - PR Newswire

Electronic Arts joins the queue of publishers announcing improved results this year as PlayStation 2 sales start to pick up the slack, with revenues for the three months to March 31st slightly up on the same period last year at $307m. Despite this the company posted a loss of almost $18m compared to a $3m profit this time last year, with the absorption of pogo.com and mounting losses from web gaming portal EA.com largely to blame. The troubled site continues to haemorrhage money and is now at least three months behind EA's original schedule for making it break even, with a subscription sports service six months late "due to quality considerations" according to president John Riccitiello. Although it apparently brought in over $12m in revenues in the first three months of the year, EA.com still posted a net loss of over $30m.

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SSX - one of EA's big money spinners

For the full twelve months to March 31st things weren't looking quite so rose-tinted, with the company reporting revenues which were slightly down on last year, from $1.42bn to $1.32bn. This produced an $11m loss compared to a $117m profit the previous financial year. Again, much of the loss can be laid at the door of EA.com, which has swallowed something in the region of $100m more than it has earned over the last year according to the publisher, with rumours suggesting that the true losses may have been even worse.

CEO Larry Probst described last year as "challenging" because of "the transition period to next generation console systems", but as the PlayStation 2 takes off and the GameCube and Xbox start to appear towards the end of the year (in the USA at least) EA are in a stronger position - they currently have a 40% share of the PlayStation 2 games market, largely thanks to the run-away success of titles such as SSX, and although that is sure to drop off eventually they still expect to own a hefty share of the sector.

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