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EA's fiscal Q109 conference call at-a-glance


Today was the day for industry behemoth Electronic Arts to divulge the results of its (very large) bean counting to investors and the press. In a conference call this afternoon, EA CEO John Riccitiello got down to business, discussing a marked increase in sales over the same period last year, but also fessing up to a stinging $95 million loss. The especially strong performance of Battlefield: Bad Company was singled out as a key contributor to the sales spike, with UEFA Euro 2008 and Rock Band also leading EA's lineup in terms of units moved at retail. A major push into digital distribution, particularly in Asia, was something EA brass also seemed quite pleased with.

Riccitiello made a point of singling out Nintendo platforms as a focus for the company going forward. He talked about Boom Blox being a success both critically and commercially, and revealed that EA has 40 titles in development between Wii and DS. He stated that the company's approach with the titles is a combination of "quality over quantity" and ensuring that they are designed to take full advantage of each platform's unique feature set. The EA boss used the upcoming Wii title Skate It as an example.

EA's acquisition of BioWare and Pandemic was briefly touched on, with mention of an MMO (likely BioWare's online KOTOR title) coming out of the deal "for the future." Another future title called out in the prepared statement was the Command & Conquer FPS, Tiberium, which Riccitiello confirmed has become a fiscal year 2010 release.

EA Sports head Peter Moore revealed that pre-order numbers for NCAA Football 09 and Madden NFL 09 are lower than they were for last year's football titles, but expects both games to perform better than average for their respective franchises. Moore stressed the importance of innovation and wholly-owned properties in the sports space, singling out the Dynamic DNA feature of NBA Live 09 as an example of the former, and Facebreaker to represent the latter. He also confirmed that EA Sports is working on another, yet-unannounced original sports IP. EA Sports will return to the field with PC sports titles next year, Moore said, stating that the new lineup will boast features derived from the platform's strengths in online connectivity.

During the Q&A session that followed the EA execs' scripted statements, Riccitiello talked about Battlefield Heroes, the company's free-to-play installment in the popular franchise, being reworked to include stronger social networking features. Oh, and that takeover of Take-Two the company has been plotting? Riccitiello and crew weren't talking about that.

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