Electronic Arts mobile revenues surge to $90M, Apple now largest retail partner

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Electronic Arts beat earnings expectations during its fiscal first quarter, narrowing its losses to $121 million compared to $130 million in the year-ago quarter and increasing revenues to $495 million, well above guidance of $450 million.

EA's mobile and handheld digital revenue leaped 30 percent year-over-year to $103 million, with smartphones and tablets accounting for $90 million of that total, up 73 percent year-over-year. "In Q1, 76 percent of our non-GAAP revenue was digital, driven by the online services of blockbuster franchises like Battlefield and FIFA, as well as our strong mobile portfolio," EA Executive Chairman Lawrence Probst said on the company's quarterly earnings call, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript. For the first time ever, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) ranks as EA's biggest retail partner measured by sales, added President and Chief Operating Officer Peter Moore.

EA credited its mobile surge to titles like The Simpsons: Tapped Out, which enjoyed its highest revenue quarter since launching in August 2012. "In June, we released the 'Waterfront' update, which drove daily active users to 5.9 million in the quarter and established the game as the No. 5 top-grossing app on both iPhone and iPad in the U.S.," Moore said. "The 'Krustyland' update is scheduled to release at the end of this month, and we're developing more updates to keep Simpsons fans engaged."

EA's blockbuster Real Racing 3 also has generated more than 45 million downloads, averaging more than 2 million daily active users since going live in March. This month, EA introduced an update adding new courses and features like time trials as well as cars from Mercedes-Benz and Bentley.

EA will debut the much-anticipated freemium title Plants vs. Zombies 2 on Apple's iOS at the end of the current quarter, said Frank Gibeau, president of the EA Labels. "It will have a curve that is typical of a free-to-play game, but what you notice in mobile is what takes several years to unfold in a console business happens in a few months in mobile," Gibeau said.

EA continues its efforts to replace former CEO John Riccitiello, who resigned in March after the company lowered its outlook several times. The publisher said its board is interviewing both internal and external candidates.

For more:
- read this release
- read this Seeking Alpha transcript
- read this CNBC article

Special Report: Wireless in the second quarter of 2013

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