Electronic Arts falls to larger loss

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Electronic Arts, the world’s biggest video game publisher, reported a larger fourth-quarter loss after failing to produce new blockbuster titles and capitalise fully on the switch to next-generation consoles.

EA said revenues of $613m for the fourth quarter to March were down 4 per cent on the $641m recorded a year earlier. It blamed declining sales of its console games. Its net loss for the quarter was $25m, up from $16m in the prior year.

EA failed to anticipate the level of success of Nintendo’s Wii next-generation console, releasing only two games for its launch last November. It tried to catch up, releasing four titles in March and has been working on 15 further titles.

“While we still have a way to go, we now have six Wii titles at retail,” Warren Jenson, chief financial officer, said Tuesday.

Mr Jenson said EA produced 24 titles that sold more than a million copies in its fiscal year, compared with 27 titles the previous year. He indicated a further delay to EA’s most anticipated game – Spore, being developed by Will Wright, the creator of The Sims.

EA had confidence in the game, he said, but decided not to include it in its financial plan for the full year.

John Riccitiello, chief executive, told analysts Tuesday EA needed to increase the speed it brought titles to market and improve their quality.

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