Will Electronic Arts’ Q4 Performance Help Its Struggling Stock?

Published on May 7, 2012
by Tricia Duryee

Will Electronic Arts’ fourth-quarter performance — to be announced today — be enough to reverse its struggling stock price?

Since the company’s last earnings release in February, the videogame publisher’s stock has fallen 20 percent, and on Friday, it tumbled another 3.5 percent, or 55 cents, to trade at $15.12 a share.

In general, the market for game stocks are teeter-tottering, as the industry works through a massive transition from packaged goods sold at retail to digital games that are given away for free and distributed through Apple and Facebook.

Even pure plays like Zynga — which are focusing exclusively on mobile and social — aren’t immune, as investors question the free-to-play model and the dependence on third-party platforms. Zynga’s stock is off almost 20 percent since its IPO in December.

This afternoon, analysts are expecting EA to exceed the company’s internal guidance by earning 16 cents a share on revenues of $960 million. EA’s own estimates are calling for non-GAAP earnings of 10 to 20 cents a share on revenues of $925 to $975 million.

As a sign of the times, Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter revised his expectations down by $5 million due to U.K. games retailer Game Group going bankrupt during the quarter.

Otherwise, Pachter said that he’s expecting the company to report at the high end of the guidance, thanks to strong sales of Mass Effect 3, which went on sale during the quarter, and to a solid performance by the company’s online game, Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Other console titles shipped during the quarter include FIFA Street and Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13.

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