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EA Q1 - Cash climbs, BF3 and TOR pre-orders rocket

EA has posted its first quarter '12 financials, showing increases in both revenue and profit and record pre-orders for The Old Republic and Battlefield 3.

Revenue stood at $999 million for the three months ended June 30, up from $815 million in the same quarter last year.

Profit soared in the quarter, up to £221 million from $96 million in the previous corresponding period.

"This was another solid quarter driven by both digital and packaged goods," said John Riccitiello, CEO.

"We saw strong digital revenue growth over the prior year. On packaged goods, NCAA is off to a great start and pre-orders for Battlefield 3 are tracking extremely well."

Digital revenue for the quarter was up from $176 million in Q1 2010 to $232 million this year.

“Most of us recognize that the industry has radically changed and the pace of change has altered dramatically,” Riccitiello added.

“Eighteen months ago there was no iPad. Google was just experimenting with Android. Most games were a single revenue opportunity.”

Battlefield boost

Battlefield 3 pre-orders are standing at more than 10 times those seen for Battlefield: Bad Company 2 at this point before launch, the firm said, although it failed to give any firm numbers.

EA Games boss Frank Gibeau said BF3 pre-orders are "significantly ahead" of those seen for Medal of Honor.

“Most of us recognize that the industry has radically changed and the pace of change has altered dramatically. Eighteen months ago there was no iPad. Google was just experimenting with Android. Most games were a single revenue opportunity.”

The Old Republic still has no firm release date. EA included an updated schedule for the fiscal year in its earnings report today, but ommitted the MMO, saying only that it "is targeted to launch holiday 2011."

Riccitiello described pre-orders for the game as "strong" in the call following the figures release. No specific number was given, but pre-orders are at a record level for EA, higher than Battlefield 3. The company's guidance makes room for a "range of ship-dates in the financial year," CFO Eric Brown added.

Investors were assured that TOR can easily scale to millions of users, and it was confirmed that firmer detail on the launch would be coming in the firm's Q2 call. It was specifically said that EA would be in a position to give a release date in September.

Riccitiello said that anything over 1.5-2 million subscribers for the game makes it look like a "great investment".

EA's recent acquisition of casual game firm PopCap - which is to cost a total of some $1.3 billion, including $650 million in cash, $100 million in stock, and a multi-year earn-out - is to be completed in August.

Portal 2 sold in more than 2 million units in the quarter; the Valve puzzler released on April 19.

Crysis 2, launched on March 22, has sold in approximately 3 million units life-to-date; Dead Space 2 and Dragon Age 2 have both sold in over 2 million units life-to-date, having released on January 25 and March 8 respectively.

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 sold in over 9 million units.

A question of sport

FIFA 11 has sold a dizzying 15 million units to-date, the firm said today.

FIFA 12 will launch on 12 platforms this year, and EA Sports is expecting double-digit growth for the new game over its predecessor.

EA Sports' Peter Moore expressed delight at the end of the NFL lock-out, and confirmed that NCAA Football 12 has now sold more than 700,000 units.

Moore added that more FIFA 12 features are to be unveiled at gamescom next month. He also said that SSX will see "new content" shown at the German expo.

The digital version of FIFA 11 has seen 3.3 million users in the past year, Moore said. Paying users have spent $51 on average on the game’s digital goods.

Moore also said that EA Sports games on Facebook are seeing an average spend-per-user of $56.

EA was keen to talk up its E3 successes in addition to its sales today. EA Games Label and EA Sports took 148 award nominations and 19 wins away from the June show.

EA's E3 Game Changers press conference was viewed by more than 2 million people on Spike TV's broadcast and live webcasts, the publisher said.

See the full release here.

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