EA Narrows Loss, Gives Weak Outlook

Electronic Arts Inc.’s (ERTS) loss narrowed in the holiday quarter from a year-ago period that was weighed down by charges. But the videogame publisher issued a weak outlook for the current quarter, sending its shares tumbling 10% after hours.

In a sign that aggressive cost-cutting and layoffs haven’t ended the company’s slump, EA forecast fiscal fourth-quarter earnings at about half of what Wall Street expected despite the launch of several big-name titles in the period ending March 31.

“We decided to be a little more conservative, which is a function of how we haven’t seen enough data that purchase behavior is there in yet spades,” Chief Executive John Riccitiello said in a conference call. “We’ve got a strong slate of games and there are reasons to be optimistic. But the better assumption is to be more conservative.”

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