Electronic Arts Q4 Earnings Live Blog

Electronic Arts Q4 Earnings Live Blog.

At 2:00PM PDT (5:00PM EDT) today, Electronics Arts gave their quarterly call for investors to report results. I joined the call as a member of the media and got the inside scoop on what’s happening with EA. There was a lot of great info in this call so I’m bringing you the highlights right here.

First, they reaffirmed that Star Wars: The Old Republic will ship in CY 2011.
Additionally:

  • Star Wars: The Old Republic will be launched as a Digital Service.
  • Subscription revenue expected to rise with the launch of SWTOR.
  • SWTOR was mentioned as a Subscription based MMO
  • Over 1 million testers (signed up)
  • Server infrastructure for Star Wars: The Old Republic is a significant FY12 cost investment.

There was also an interesting Q&A involving SWTOR:

Question: On the beta test for SWTOR, how long can a test like that last before launch?
Response: Frank: (beta) Typically a 6 month run for MMOs. Already embarked on that process, feel very good about the type of telemetry and feedback we are receiving.

Question: What is the level of interest in the SWTOR beta? Timing in launch of game?
Response: Eric: We are not giving any subscriber targets. Monthly subscription base, no specifics.

Question: “So, Eric, the Star Wars game: can you talk maybe about the difference in run rate before and after the game ships in terms of pre-build and then ongoing service beyond that?”
Response: Eric: “Well, I think here’s the way to look at it (and we made some specific comments about what our year looks like when measured with a portion of the year with Star Wars versus where we exit the year where Star Wars is fully in operation): So, we open the year with Fiscal 12 with Star Wars still in development, with us incurring expense to our P&L’s with fairly significant R&D expenses. At the end of the year, Star Wars will be live, and we’ll have some of the costs shift from R&D into cost of goods as we activate the live services–you know, the game masters, the customer care, etc. But all in, the Star Wars P&L flips from behind dilutive at the beginning of the year to being highly accredited at the end of the year.”

Another point brought up that SWTOR fans are anxious about is why they are holding the date of release. They cite two reasons:

  1. Don’t want to tip off the competition.
  2. To get more information from testing.

The overall tone of the call is optimistic and confident, which means EA are expecting to earn a pretty penny from this game but they’re not afraid to invest the money into it where it takes to make it successful as well.

If you’re interested, you can see the Q4 FY11 Slide Presentation as well as Q4 FY11 Earnings Release and the Q4 FY11 IR Summary Sheet , downloadable in PDF.

Page 17 of the Slide presentation has an interesting footnote which reads:

1 These forward-looking statements are valid as of May 4, 2011 only. The Packaged Goods title release schedule excludes Star Wars: The Old Republic, which is expected to launch in either Q2 FY12 or Q3 FY12.