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EA reports Q4 loss (but yearly revenue's up 15%!)

Electronic Arts – still vigilantly "managing costs" says CFO Eric Brown following the restructuring plan – reported a $42 million loss and revenues down $267 million for the Q4 fiscal period, ending March 31. While that may sound pretty grim, the loss wasn't as bad as analysts were expecting, and wasn't even half of the $94 million loss the company posted for the same period last year. And while quarterly revenues were down (though still beating estimates), EA's annual revenue was up 15% year over year, from $3.7 billion to $4.2 billion. You can thank those 31 million-plus sellers it's claiming for the year (that's four more than in the prior year for those of you keeping count at home).

What about 2010? "EA's strong cost actions in Q4 FY09 together with our investments in our digital service businesses will set us up for a stronger FY10," said John Riccitiello, Chief Executive Officer. Sounds good, but what about your strategies in this growing industry, Mr. Riccitiello? "EA is well positioned with the right strategies in a growing industry." Oh, we see ... sounds like you've got it all covered then. The company confirmed its fiscal '10 expectations of net revenue between $3.7 and $3.85 billion.

But oh, what's this buried at the bottom of your report? A "Loss on Licensed Intellectual Property"? In Q4, EA "amended an agreement with a content licensor" resulting in "the termination of [its] rights to use the licensor's intellectual property in certain products." That amendment cost the company a cool $38 mil and has also piqued the curiosity of game bloggers everywhere. If you've got any insight, leave a tip (anonymity assured!).

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