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July 30, 2020, 7:44 p.m. EDT

EA rides pandemic-fueled increase in videogame playing to record first-quarter results

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By Levi Sumagaysay

Electronic Arts Inc. on Thursday reported its best first quarter in history, with earnings and revenue that beat Wall Street expectations on the strength of increased player engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The videogame maker also said it has added tens of millions of new players as more people are staying home, and that demand for flagship games such as “Madden NFL,” “FIFA,” “The Sims” and more is unprecedented.

“We expect these trends to continue during and after the pandemic,” said CEO Andrew Wilson on the company’s earnings call.

For more: Videogames are flourishing in the pandemic, and game makers aren’t scared of the future

EA EA did not release new games in the quarter, but “Madden NFL 21” is scheduled to launch Aug. 28. Shares climbed slightly after hours, less than 0.5%, following a 1.9% increase in the regular session to close at $138.59.

The Redwood City-based company reported first-quarter net income of $365 million, or $1.25 a share, compared with $1.4 billion, or $4.75 a share, which included one-time tax benefits, in the year-ago period.

Revenue rose to $1.46 billion from $1.21 billion in the year-ago quarter. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had forecast earnings of 80 cents a share on revenue of $1.05 billion.

The company reported adjusted earnings of $1.42 a share on net bookings, which is the amount of products and services sold digitally or physically, of $1.39 billion in the quarter. Net bookings for the past 12 months was $5.98 billion, up 17% year over year, the company said.

EA expects second-quarter earnings of 21 cents a share on revenue of $1.125 billion.

Shares of EA are up 29% this year, while the S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX -0.53%  is up 1.9%.

/zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime
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