EA’s Digital Business Carries It to a Strong Quarter as EA Access Subscribers Double

Electronic Arts today released its financial results for the first fiscal quarter of 2017, which ended on June 30, 2016. It beat expectations, citing the strength of its digital business, which was buoyed by the likes of mobile game Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes and FIFA‘s Ultimate Team mode.

GAAP net revenue for the quarter was $1.271 billion, beating the guidance of $1.25 billion. Operating income was $560 million, also beating previous guidance of $512 million.


“Q1 was a great quarter for Electronic Arts with amazing engagement in our global communities,” said CEO Andrew Wilson. “EA is leading our industry through innovation, with more of our biggest games powered by Frostbite, breakthrough EA Sports titles on console and mobile, and the unstoppable combination of Battlefield 1 and Titanfall 2 coming this holiday. We’re looking forward to connecting more players around the world to each other through the games they love to play.”

During the quarter, the Battlefield games attracted a total of 11.5 million unique players, with Battlefield 4 leading the franchise. Star Wars Battlefront, meanwhile, attracted 6.6 million unique players. EA Access subscribers “more than doubled year-over-year” as well, though EA didn’t provide any specific figures regarding how many total subscribers it now has.

There was no mention regarding the performance of Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, which launched during the quarter.

Also of interest is where the company’s net revenue came from–54 percent was from digital, showing the shift to an increasingly digital-driven business has continued unabated. All digital categories saw growth–revenue from full game downloads was up 15 percent to $137 million; extra content was up three percent to $300 million; mobile was up 16 percent to $165 million; and the Other category (including subscriptions and ads) were up 23 percent to $87 million.

In terms of platforms, though, consoles and mobile continued to see growth in terms of digital net revenue as compared with Q1 2016, but the “PC and other” category was actually down 25 percent. Those platforms totaled $147 million, compared with $195 million during Q1 2016 and $173 million in Q1 2015. That now puts it comfortably behind the digital revenue generated by mobile ($165 million, up 16 percent) and even further behind consoles ($377 million, up 32 percent).

EA’s release calendar for the remainder of the fiscal year, which runs through March 2017, offered no surprises. (That doesn’t preclude the possibility of a game coming that isn’t listed on it, however.) Mass Effect Andromeda is shown as a Q4 title, which keeps it in the previously announced January-March 2017 window.

A conference call with investors will be held today to discuss the results of EA’s first quarter. We’ll report back with any interesting details then.

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