Electronic Arts Posts Year-Over-Year Revenue Gains Despite No New Releases

Andrew Wilson - Getty - H 2018
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A new 'The Sims 4' expansion pack and continued strength from 'Apex Legends' helped fuel the revenue bump for the game publisher.

Video game giant Electronic Arts (EA) reported a year-over-year increase in revenue from its first quarter of fiscal year 2020, hitting $1.2 billion for the period, a boost from the $1.1 billion it saw the previous year. 

The increase comes despite the fact that EA had no new titles during the quarter, which ended June 30 (EA did just release the indie game Sea of Solitude on July 5). The company expects $1.3 billion in revenue for the next quarter, boosted by upcoming sports title releases and the second season of Apex Legends.

“We had a strong start to FY20, bringing rich new experiences to our growing communities for Apex Legends, EA Sports, The Sims and more,” CEO Andrew Wilson said in a statement. 

While there weren't any new titles released during the quarter, EA did launch a new expansion pack for its long-running The Sims 4 game (originally launched in 2014), which helped fuel a 55 percent increase in downloads for the title. Meanwhile, the company's mobile game Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes (launched in 2015) continued to show its strength, nearing 80 million total players.

“We delivered operating results significantly above our expectations, driven by broad strength across our core franchises. This quarter shows how the power of our portfolio strategy, combined with live services, delivers strong results,” said COO and CFO Blake Jorgensen. “We believe we have the right ingredients in place to deliver fun for our players and success for our business.”

Over the past month, EA also launched Apex Legends' second season and introduced its EA Access subscription service to PlayStation (Wilson noted that EA also has plans to expand the service to even more platforms in the future). In the next few months, the company will launch new Madden, FIFA and NHL games, as well as the action-adventure title Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order in November.

In June, following a slump in revenue year-over-year, top EA execs voluntarily turned down cash bonuses for fiscal year 2019.

"Apex [Legends] is built to have longevity and be a live service that will continue for some time," Wilson said Tuesday on an investors call. "It has exceeded our expectations."

Wilson also noted Apex's potential as an esports event, looking ahead to the company's first tournament scheduled for September in Poland. 

On the subject of the company's EA Access subscription service, Wilson said, "The subscription opportunities are powerful for both players and game creators and we are continuing to invest on both PCs and consoles."