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EA Q2 – Battlefield 3 ships over 10 million units

Thursday, 27th October 2011 22:05 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

EA has posted increased revenue for Q2 ’12 thanks to a surge in its digital and sports offerings, and CEO John Riccitiello noted that Battlefield 3 has shipped over 10 million units since its US launch.

FIFA and Madden lead Q2

Net sales of $1.03 billion were reported for the three months ending September 30, which is a 17% increase. Revenue hit $715 million compared to $631 million to year-over-year. Net losses were up, though, despite the good news, from $201 million to $340 million, mainly due to advertising expenses leading up to the holiday sales season.

FIFA 12 sold in nearly 8 million units and Madden NFL 12 sold in over 3 million units in the second quarter. FIFA 12 sales were also up 25% compared to FIFA 11.

Including digital and mobile downloads, FIFA 11 sold in over 16 million units life-to-date. Battlefield Bad Company 2 has now sold in nearly 11 million units life-to-date.

“EA had a strong quarter on the strength of FIFA 12, Madden NFL 12, and The Sims Social,” said CEO John Riccitiello. “Battlefield 3 is off to a fantastic start on sales and quality, and we are preparing to launch two more blockbusters: Need for Speed The Run, and Star Wars: The Old Republic.”

EA expects revenues for the Q3 to hit around $1.55 to $1.65 billion due to The Old Republic and Battlefield 3. For its full fiscal year, the firm expects revenues to hit somewhere between $4 billion to $4.2 billion, up from a previous guidance of $3.9 billion to $4.1 billion.

The firm’s western market segment held a 25% share in the September quarter, increasing its share by 4 percentage points versus last year. EA had six of the top 20 selling games in western markets: FIFA 12, Madden NFL 12, NCAA Football 12, FIFA 11, NHL 12, and The Sims 3.

Due to the firm’s strong “games as a service model,” EA plans to continue offering engaging “services” year-round for titles such as FIFA, Madden, Mass Effect and Need for Speed. The titles will continue the extension into social and mobile platforms and continued DLC releases for PC and console.

“This is a strategy that only EA can deliver on,” said Riccitiello. “Our competitors either have fewer brands, or have not demonstrated the ability to project their games onto multiple platforms.”

The full financial release can be read through here.

Digital business expands

Digital was, indeed, the big winner on EA’s books with The Sims Social 8 million daily active users helping digital revenue hit $216 million in sales, which is a 30% increase yoy. The Sims is now the second-most popular game on Facebook behind Zynga’s CityVille. At present, according to CFO Eric Brown, less than 5 percent of players pay to play, on average, players play two-to-three times a day for 15 minutes at a time.

“We are pleased with our results with digital growing at 30% year-over-year,” said CFO Eric Brown. “We are raising our fiscal 2012 non-GAAP revenue guidance, our digital revenue guidance, and the midpoint of our EPS guidance.”

The firm now over a $1 billion in digital sales for the year, which is something “only a handful of companies in the world,” have accomplished.

EA also reiterated Origin’s 6 million users, and the fact that Capcom, THQ, and Warner titles would start hitting the service for pre-order in November.

Mobile game sales were also up 87%.

Battlefield 3 scores in the US

Battlefield 3 pre-sells hit nearly 3 million units, as reported previously. The PC version is selling extremely well, but data is not available yet on which version of the game is selling through more than the others. The game was the biggest launch day ship title ever for the firm, according to EA COO Peter Moore. The game has shipped over 10 million units, and retailers are in the process of requesting more copies from the manufacturer.

In comparison, launch sales for Medal of Honor were “a little bit less,” according to Riccitiello.

“I think it was like 3 to 4 day one, and over the course of the first month, we got — over the first couple of weeks, we got 2 by 5,” he recalled. “So it’s actually larger than that. Of gapping it over Battlefield: Bad Company 2, I call Bad Company 2 between the two would be the best way to think about that.”

EA said it has seen unprecedented numbers logging into the BF3 PC servers, and issues due to the peak numbers should be resolved by the weekend since the firm has now “got a handle on it,” according to Labels president Frank Gibeau.

A “robust set of expansion packs,” are planned for release over the next six months, and in terms of engagement, the Battlefield community has “the highest engagement rates inside of Electronic Arts in terms of the online play,” according to Gibeau, and EA plans to cater to said engagement going forward into the competitive shooter season.

“First and foremost, we have a fairly aggressive downloadable content plan out in front of us,” he said. “We’ve already announced the Strike at Karkand Map Pack that is going to becoming available and we’ll be constantly updating on the servers and infrastructure with new features and enhancements. Our plans over the next 6 months is to have a very robust set of expansion packs past on Strike at Karkand and that we think the community’s going to be very, very excited about.

“With regards to your question about this fall, in terms of looking at the overall market, we expect that we’re going to grow share in our overall shooter business, and we see that the overall category’s going to grow share. So I think that looking at past periods isn’t probably the most indicative thing to trend out what’s going to happen next, also Medal of Honor’s a very different design than Battlefield. Battlefield is a tremendous multiplayer online game, 90 rated across-the-board in terms of its multiplayer. I mean, it has a very different offering than the other competitors out there.”

When it comes to the single-player versus the multiplayer in a game like Battlefield, the single-player experience is “important,” as the multiplayer and there are no plans to ditch the single-player experience in the series, just because the multiplayer has proved to be very popular.

“Single-player is often how new players ramp into the game,” said CEO John Riccitiello during the investor Q&A. “It’s the way new players usually get exposed to a franchise.”

“I think you have to have both, and clearly the multiplayer is the richer opportunity for us because of the services opportunity in keeping a customer engaged 365 [days a year],” added Gibeau. “It’s a great question because we consider Battlefield an online service. First and foremost, that brand was built on its multiplayer prowess, and the technology really lends itself to that.”

Star Wars and the pre-order Republic

When it came to discussing Star Wars: The Old Republic, at present, EA doesn’t have any expectations for the number of subscriptions in SWTOR yet, but the firm is excited about the level of interest and said pre-orders are the highest for any PC game ever for the firm, also something previously stated.

“In terms of pre-orders, we haven’t announced anything specific, [but] I can characterize them though as very, very strong,” said Gibeau. “They’re the highest preorders that we’ve ever had on a PC game so we’re feeling very good about the momentum and consumer demand out there.

“In addition to that, we really haven’t set the expectations for what the subscriber levels are going to be. We’re very excited about the potential of the game coupled with the mass-market license like Star Wars. But as we get closer, that will be information that we can communicate further.”

The roll out of the game will be detailed at a later date, and at that time, EA will also detail how it will go about letting people log into the servers.

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25 Comments

  1. Yoshi

    How much did MW2 and BO do in their first week? Considering BF3 hasn’t come out in Europe yet.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. Ireland Michael

    Does this include Europe as well as the US? Just looking for clarification.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. Stephany Nunneley

    @2 For what hun? BF3? Or all the figures on games?

    #3 3 years ago
  4. badboy_122

    that’s a lot of money xD wow !!!!

    thank god the PC version is doing well in sales ..I was kinda worried :D
    the game is amazing … the multiplayer is fuckin awesome ..the single player too but the multi is better

    #4 3 years ago
  5. Ireland Michael

    @3 Battlefield 3, of course. =P

    #5 3 years ago
  6. Stephany Nunneley

    Oh well, since it just launched in Europe today and hits UK tomorrow, just US.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. Ireland Michael

    @6 Interesting.

    I can’t wait to see the tallied numbers across all regions then.

    #7 3 years ago
  8. Yoshi

    @7 That’s why I was wondering what MW2 and BO did in their first week :P Try to compare even though this is US only

    #8 3 years ago
  9. roni1175

    Nice… Go EA

    I love the term “shipped” you actually don’t really know how many units was sold.

    Remember windows phone 7? it shipped 2 millions units but how many were sold?

    #9 3 years ago
  10. Stephany Nunneley

    My end of the call was super, duper scratchy, so when the transcript is released tomorrow, there should be some more detail oriented quotes out of it.

    But all in all, really, there wasn’t a banner moment in the call, other than all the Sims and sports chat. There was A LOT of Sims Social talk.

    I was hoping to hear more on SWTOR, but alas, nothing major. :(

    Any solid figures for BF3 will have to come once it’s released in all regions. I am sure, at least on the US end, it should make the NPD results less boring next month.

    #10 3 years ago
  11. Ireland Michael

    @8 I can’t seem to find specific figures anywhere. Bah.

    @9 If retailers are demanding more copies, you can pretty much guarantee nearly all of them.

    People obsess over the “shipped vs. sold” argument like something only sells half of what’s shipped. Retailers ask for supplies based entirely on demand, so the figures are rarely proportionally different to each other.

    #11 3 years ago
  12. G1GAHURTZ

    Excellent way to set yourself up for a big fall.

    Expect massive discounts on BF3 in the very near future!

    #12 3 years ago
  13. Ireland Michael

    @12 Lawl.

    #13 3 years ago
  14. G1GAHURTZ

    I know you’re gay/bi, Michael, but I’d appreciate it if you didn’t keep talking about my butt.

    Thanks.

    Edit:

    Thanks for editing the comment above. I’ll leave mine as it is… Just as a reminder.

    #14 3 years ago
  15. OrbitMonkey

    A “robust set of dlc planned for BF3…”

    Well as ps3 owners were promised a free copy of BF1943, hopefully we’ll get some of that robustness for free… Y’know just to make up for YOUR FUCKING LIES EA!!

    ;)

    #15 3 years ago
  16. aseddon130

    woo news like this almost guarantees that it’ll be £20-25 in a few weeks when sales slow down.

    #16 3 years ago
  17. Maximum Payne

    @12 So when MW3 sell like this in first week should I say to you then

    Excellent way to set yourself up for a big fall.

    Expect massive discounts on MW3 in the very near future! ??

    #17 3 years ago
  18. G1GAHURTZ

    @17:

    This isn’t sales. This is how many copies they sent into retail. They could ship 100 million if they really wanted to.

    All it means is that if retail can’t sell all those copies, they’ll start making big price cuts.

    Personally, I don’t see how they’ll actually sell anywhere near 10 million by the end of the year, at least.

    I think issues like server problems, the beta mess, a launch window packed with other AAA games, etc are a factor.

    I’m sure the figures will be out soon enough, so if I’m wrong, let me know…

    #18 3 years ago
  19. Maximum Payne

    Well I think this maybe first FPS after Bad Company 2 that can really compare to COD in both sales and quality unlike MoH and Homefront for example.
    And also MAYBE Pc gamers are buying more at retail because its not available on Steam and they don’t want to buy on origin IMO.

    #19 3 years ago
  20. OrbitMonkey

    Well i’m looking forward to picking up my copy. I mean a CoD MW expansion pack with new maps, vehicles & destructable environments for £40 isn’t too bad :)

    Plus if its pants I can get a good trade-in deal for the real thing next week ;)

    #20 3 years ago
  21. roni1175

    @G1GAHURTZ shipment is usually based on sales, demand and prediction so the 10 million mark is not so high considering the amount of buzz this game has

    I think eventually they would sell around 12-15 millions copies

    #21 3 years ago
  22. G1GAHURTZ

    Shipment numbers can be based on a variety of different factors from the state of the economy to the mood of the buyer on the day he/she makes their orders for your game.

    I think that the game will almost certainly do better than BC2, which I believe sold over 9m copies on both PS3 and 360, so I think the lower part of your estimate is pretty accurate.

    However, I don’t think it will get there until midway through 2012, so that would mean a whole lot of the initial 10m shipment sitting on shelves for many months, which is not what retailers want.

    Remember, there were only 3m pre-orders, and I can only assume that this number included Origin download pre-orders, too.

    #22 3 years ago
  23. TheBlackHole

    You can only ship as many copies as retail are willing to buy. That amount is based on a number of factors that depend on the buyer, usually a mix of pre-order numbers, hype, historical brand performance and current economic situation. You can’t just arbitrarily ship 100 million copies to retailers, because they wouldn’t buy them and the publisher wouldn’t give them away.

    Also, initial shipment will usually mean around 3 months’ stock, although bearing in mind Christmas is around the corner this will usually encompass January (sales) also.

    At the point they are shipped, the publisher has effectively already sold them. It’s now down to the retailer to sell their purchased stock. So, at this point, EA have SOLD 10 million copies, in terms of revenue earned.

    The only relevance of shipped vs sold is for the retailer, and how many copies they end up being stuck with should the title underperform (which happens regularly). They might then negotiate a stock ‘buy back’ with the publisher in order to keep a good relationship going, or they might agree a price drop deal to get rid of some of the remaining copies.

    Just wanted to clarify this, as some of the posts above have well intentioned, but false, perspectives on how this whole process works.

    #23 3 years ago
  24. John117

    Why do I get the feeling that G1GAHURTZ is the biggest troll on this site, he starts the arguments on almost every topic and never really has anything positive to say. So follow my advice, dont feed the trolls!

    #24 3 years ago
  25. G1GAHURTZ

    ^^ What a lying fanboy!

    http://www.vg247.com/2011/10/21/battlefield-3-launch-trailer-goes-heavy-on-plot-explosions/#comment-332606

    #25 3 years ago

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