While Electronic Arts saw its digital net bookings rise to $3.72 billion as it closed out the 2018/19 financial year, it wasn’t enough for the publisher to mitigate a fall in revenue of 22 per cent to $1.24 billion across the final fiscal quarter, and sending net income plummeting by 66 per cent YoY from $607m to $209m. However, over the same period EA repurchased 3.2 million shares for $301m, bringing its total spend on repurchasing shares to $1.192 billion across the full twelve months.
In its full year and FY19 Q4 financial results, the publisher – which launched both Anthem and Apex Legends, as well as Battlefield’s “biggest live service event ever”, battle royale mode Firestorm in the final quarter – saw revenue dip by 4 per cent to $4.95bn across the full fiscal year, and its bookings fall 5 per cent to $4.94bn.
Once again, the financials show a significant shift towards digital net bookings across the full 12-month period, which accounted for 75 per cent of the company’s total net bookings. Net income fell a little, too, dropping by 2 per cent to $1.02bn.
The publisher also reported active players of The Sims 4 increased 35 per cent year over year, and stated more than 45 million unique players played FIFA 18 and 19 across FY19 on either console or PC.
“FY20 will be a year of continued growth for our industry, and we’re excited to bring more great entertainment to the expanding audience around the world,” said CEO Andrew Wilson. “Players are engaging with games in more ways than ever before. We’re committed to meeting them where they are with a broad portfolio of amazing new games and live services, choice of engagement models including free-to-play and subscriptions, and new opportunities to play, compete and watch.
“We ended our fiscal year with strong growth, driven by our live services business which continued to provide a very large, stable and profitable source of net bookings,” said COO and CFO Blake Jorgensen. “Looking ahead, we will bring games to an extraordinary variety of players in fiscal 2020 and deliver on our commitment to players with deep live services content for Ultimate Team, Apex Legends, The Sims 4, Anthem and Battlefield V.”
Looking ahead, EA projects its net revenue for the upcoming fiscal year will be approximately $5.375 billion, and the change in deferred net revenue (online-enabled games) is expected to be roughly $125 million. Net income is expected to be around $2.595 billion, inclusive of “a one-time tax benefit” of approximately $1.5 billion. It hopes to finish the year will an operating cash flow of about $1.575 billion.
While FIFA, Madden, NBA Live, and NHL will all launch in Q2, alongside Sea of Solitude, and Respawn’s Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and new installments of Need for Speed and Plants vs. Zombies will be released in Q3, there is currently nothing announced for EA’s first or final quarter of FY20.