EA forecasts current-quarter revenue below estimates

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(Reuters) – Electronic Arts Inc forecast revenue slightly below analysts’ estimates for the current quarter, when the video-game publisher is expected to launch the latest franchises of its popular sports titles such as “Madden NFL” and “FIFA”.

The company expects second-quarter adjusted revenue of $1.16 billion, just shy of analysts’ average estimate of $1.18 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

“FIFA 18”, the latest version of the EA’s popular soccer franchise, is scheduled to be released on Sept. 29, and its football game “Madden NFL 18” on Aug. 25.

However, the company reported better-than-expected adjusted revenue for the first quarter, driven by sales of its popular titles including “Battlefield 1” and “The Sims”.

The company’s adjusted revenue was $775 million, above analysts’ average estimate of $768.5 million.

EA released its action role-playing videogame “Mass Effect: Andromeda” toward the end of its fourth quarter, but ended up deferring about $53 million in “Andromeda” sales into the first quarter because of the game’s deluxe editions.

Videogame companies are required to defer some revenue from certain online-enabled games following a tweak to the U.S. accounting rules.

Sales at EA’s high-margin digital business rose 27.6 percent to $879 million in the quarter as more players pivot to buying and downloading games online and away from purchasing physical copies at retail stores.

EA’s revenue rose to $1.45 billion in the first quarter ended June 30, from $1.27 billion a year earlier.

The company’s net income rose to $644 million, or $2.06 per share from $440 million, or $1.40 per share.

Reporting by Aishwarya Venugopal and Anya George Tharakan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila