Game sales strong for EA but outlook hurts shares

May 11, 2010 By BARBARA ORTUTAY , AP Technology Writer

(AP) -- Video game publisher Electronic Arts Inc. said Tuesday that strong sales of games such as "Battlefield: Bad Company" and "Mass Effect 2" gave the company a quarterly profit above expectations. But its outlook fell short of Wall Street's forecast, and its shares slumped in after-hours trading.

Electronic Arts, which also has "The Sims" and "Madden" games, said it earned $30 million, or 9 cents per share, in the quarter that ended March 31, its fiscal fourth. In the comparable period last year it lost $42 million, or 13 cents per share.

Revenue rose 14 percent to $979 million from $860 million.

EA's adjusted earnings of 9 cents per share and revenue of $850 million handily surpassed Wall Street's expectations of a profit of 5 cents per share on revenue of $835.4 million. Adjusted results exclude special items and account for deferred revenue from games with online components.

For the current quarter, EA said it expects results in the range of a loss of 5 cents per share to a profit of 5 cents per share. On an adjusted basis, it is forecasting a loss of 35 cents to 40 cents per share on revenue of $460 million to $500 million.

Wall Street had been forecasting a loss of 33 cents per share and revenue of $516.8 million.

Shares of EA, which is based in Redwood City, Calif., fell $1, 5.3 percent, to $17.80 in after-hours trading. Before the earnings release the shares gained 3.1 percent to close at $18.80.

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