EA Earnings Call and Battlefield 6 update

So, yesterday EA held their earnings call, and a few tidbits of information were dropped, that were relavant to the Battlefield series. The most notable are listed below.

All out military warfare with ‘more players than ever before
Full advantage of next-generation consoles with new features
• Full reveal set for Spring 2021
• Release Holiday 2021


What is also pretty interesting is that Electronic Arts has said that DICE is “way ahead” of schedule with #Battlefield 6 development and that the game will support “more players than ever before”

Does this mean that we will see a beta shortly after the reveal?

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Here is the full transcript of the call for those of you who are into that kinda thing.

Prepared remarks
Q3 Fiscal 2021
Thank you.
Welcome to EA’s third quarter fiscal 2021 earnings call. With me from their homes today are
Andrew Wilson, our CEO, and Blake Jorgensen, our CFO and COO.
Please note that our SEC filings and our earnings release are available at ir.ea.com. In addition,
we have posted earnings slides to accompany our prepared remarks. Lastly, after the call, we
will post our prepared remarks, an audio replay of this call, our financial model, and a transcript.
Once again, I’d like to direct you to the earnings slides this quarter. They now contain the
metrics and color that we historically have included in Blake’s remarks.
With regards to our calendar: our Q4 fiscal 2021 earnings call is scheduled for Tuesday, May
11. As a reminder, we post our entire year of earnings calls on our IR website.
This presentation and our comments include forward-looking statements regarding future events
and the future financial performance of the Company. Actual events and results may differ
materially from our expectations. We refer you to our most recent Form 10-Q for a discussion of
risks that could cause actual results to differ materially from those discussed today. Electronic
Arts makes these statements as of today, February 2, 2021, and disclaims any duty to update
During this call, the financial metrics, with the exception of free cash flow, will be presented on a
GAAP basis. All comparisons made in the course of this call are against the same period in the
prior year unless otherwise stated.
Now, I’ll turn the call over to Andrew.
Thanks, Chris. I hope this finds all of you well and staying healthy amidst the ongoing
This continues to be a record-breaking year for Electronic Arts. We’ve delivered net bookings
and earnings above our guidance each quarter, and we are raising guidance today for the
remainder of FY21. After starting this fiscal year with guidance for $5.55 billion in net bookings,
we’re now expecting to achieve nearly $6.1 billion in net bookings for the full year, and we are
projecting growth in our business to continue next fiscal year.
We are delivering exceptional, high-quality experiences across the unmatched breadth and
depth of our portfolio. We are driving growth through our live services, and we are reaching
new players by bringing our content and subscription to more platforms.
Drilling down on these growth drivers:
EA SPORTS is at the core of the sports experience for hundreds of millions of fans. More and
more people - especially younger Gen Z players - are now defining their sports fandom through
the games they play, like FIFA and Madden. In the past fiscal year, we’ve had more than 230
million people engaged with our EA SPORTS franchises and content. We delivered six new
high-quality sports games in FY21, including FIFA 21 and Madden NFL 21 on the new Xbox
Series X and PlayStation 5 – ushering in a new generation of sports games. FIFA continues to
grow on every platform. We set a new record of nearly 6 million daily active players in FIFA
Ultimate Team in December, and FUT matches have grown a staggering 177% year-over-year.
FIFA Online 4 in Korea has had higher player acquisition in every quarter of this year compared
to last year, and we now have nearly 21 million players in FIFA Mobile Asia. We are driving
growth across our EA SPORTS portfolio - Madden NFL has more players engaged in the
franchise than ever before, NHL engagement is up 13% year-over-year, and since launch UFC
4 has consistently had 20% more daily players than our previous game.
EA SPORTS is a center of innovation – both in our games, as well as how fans are connecting
through our games to their friends and the sports they love. For example, in a year where an inperson Pro Bowl event was not possible, we worked with our NFL partners to create the firstever virtual Pro Bowl in Madden NFL 21. This was a groundbreaking experience for fans,
where playing Madden actually helped to select two Pro Bowl players. The Pro Bowl itself then
took place in Madden NFL 21, with Deshaun Watson and Kyler Murray leading teams of NFL
stars in a highly-entertaining broadcast that aired on Twitch, the NFL Network, and NFL social
channels last Sunday. Now the Super Bowl is just a few days away, and we’re preparing new
content in and outside Madden NFL for the increasing number of players engaging with our
franchise around the NFL’s championship game. Events like this year’s Pro Bowl demonstrate
how real-world sports experiences are evolving to become interactive, and you can expect to
see us continue to lead here.
Our fans are telling us that they want more of what EA SPORTS can deliver. They’re playing
more of our games than ever before, they’re spending more time with our content, and they’re
connecting with each other, the players and teams and sports that they love through our
We are now set to build on our leadership position with an aggressive expansion plan for EA
SPORTS. We have important announcements we are making today - and more that we expect
to make in the weeks ahead - that will lead to more great games and content for fans, and
significant new growth for our company.
● We have a major global expansion of our soccer business underway. As the scale of
our EA SPORTS FIFA player audience expands, including a growing Gen Z population,
we will offer more great content, on more platforms, with our long-standing partners
across all the top leagues and teams in the sport. We are bringing FIFA Online to new
territories - including Russia, Poland and Turkey - with a combined audience of 80
million players. We are also accelerating our focus on mobile, with six new soccer
mobile experiences in development today for different regions and genres. EA SPORTS
is the premier partner for football organizations, leagues and teams around the world,
and today we are announcing that EA SPORTS FIFA will continue to be the exclusive
home of UEFA Champions League football. As part of our renewed partnership with
UEFA, we will also be launching new esports competitions, and we will have even more
news in this space in the months ahead.
● We’re bringing new types of experiences to market that will expand the genre. In
partnership with KLab, we are developing a groundbreaking new mobile experience,
inspired by the Japanese market, which we believe will have global appeal.
● We’re thrilled to announce today that EA SPORTS is returning to college football. So
many fans have been asking us to please bring back college football video games –
their passion for this top-selling sports franchise has never wavered. We love college
football as well, and today we’re very excited to say, yes, we are coming back. We have
started work on an all-new next-gen experience, working closely with our exclusive
licensing partners at CLC to include the universities, logos, venues and gameday
traditions that fans know and love in college football.
● We will grow the EA SPORTS portfolio to include experiences in more sports for more
fans around the world. In the weeks and months ahead, we will make more
announcements about our expansion into different sports, including at least one new
experience that will launch next fiscal year.
● We’re also incredibly excited to build a racing powerhouse with our proposed acquisition
of Codemasters. These are amazing teams that we know very well, and we are adding
significantly to our racing portfolio to drive growth. F1 is one of the few truly global
sports, and it is already seeing unprecedented growth in fandom, including in North
America and Asia. We believe the combination of EA SPORTS and Codemasters can
take the game franchise to an even greater level. We are awaiting the results of a
Codemasters shareholder vote on our offer, which we anticipate having by tomorrow,
February 3.
With the strength of our EA SPORTS franchises, and these announcements today, we are in
position to deliver the world’s best sports games and content. We intend to leverage our
capabilities in this space to grow to more sports and more experiences, reaching larger
audiences in more markets all over the world. These announcements today are just the
beginning. For 230 million EA SPORTS players and viewers, we are providing the social
network that enables them to experience more of the sports they love with their friends. We
believe we can grow to 500 million players and viewers in EA SPORTS experiences over the
next five years. The future of entertainment is interactive, and the future of sports will continue
to blur the lines between live sports and immersive and engaging new experiences. EA
SPORTS is at the center of this convergence, and in collaboration with our amazing league
partners, we are prepared to accelerate the future of sports entertainment.
In addition to EA SPORTS, we are driving growth through our portfolio of more than 20 top live
services. I’ll give two examples from our deep roster of wholly-owned IP. We are at the twoyear anniversary of the launch of Apex Legends, and with 30% growth in new players year-overyear, it’s success is accelerating. The unique seasons of live service content delivered by our
talented Respawn team are expanding the Apex audience, bringing in more players with great
storytelling and engaging in-game events. Competitive play in Apex Legends is also reaching
and entertaining more viewers, with recent events in November driving new viewership and
watch-time records. This is an outstanding live service business that continues to grow across
multiple dimensions – launching the game on Steam is bringing in new PC players; we will
launch on the Nintendo Switch on March 9; and we will expand further with our Apex Mobile
game rolling out in FY22.
The Sims 4 has grown every year since launch. As we expand the experience more new and
relevant content, we engage a diverse and growing audience spanning players of all ages and
demographics. Life-to-date more than 33 million people have now played The Sims 4, and
daily, weekly, and monthly average players in the game all reached all-time highs for the third
quarter in December. Our Maxis team just delivered the 10th expansion pack for The Sims 4,
and we see continued growth for our Sims business in FY22.
We have the ability to bring games to every platform, and we are driving continued expansion of
our total addressable market. Mobile continues to be a key opportunity for us. Games like Star
Wars: Galaxy of Heroes continue to be deeply-engaging for players and very successful
businesses, and we have plans to aggressively grow our mobile portfolio. We’re also expanding
our lead in subscriptions. The groundbreaking integration of our EA Play service with Microsoft
Game Pass has accelerated our subscription business, with nearly 13 million players now active
in our service across four platforms - Xbox, PlayStation, Steam and our EA client. With more
players valuing the subscription model, and with our scale across platforms and content, we are
building a strong, growing business with recurrent revenue. We also have new streaming
players joining our network through Xbox Cloud Gaming with Game Pass Ultimate and other
partners, and we are committed to advancing cloud as a meaningful part of the future gaming
FY21 has been a year of outstanding growth while working through the challenges of the
ongoing pandemic. Our execution continues to be strong even with our employees working
from home, and we expect that most will continue to do so through September. The creativity
and innovation of our talented teams is enabling us to deliver more great experiences in our
leading franchises and live services. We have a deep and robust pipeline of new content, with
more than 35 new games in various levels of incubation and development for the future. We’re
looking forward to sharing a lot more about our FY22 plans in the months ahead, including our
next Battlefield experience, which will mark a return to all-out military warfare. The game takes
full advantage of the power of next-generation platforms to bring massive, immersive battles to
life with more players than ever before. Featuring maps with unprecedented scale, the next
edition of Battlefield takes all the destruction, player agency, vehicle and weapon combat that
the franchise is known for and elevates it to another level. The team is focused and the game is
ahead of our internal milestones. We’ll reveal the game in the spring, and deliver a defining
Battlefield experience for our players in the 2021 holiday season.
Games helped to fill a great need in people’s lives throughout 2020. Our franchises are where
so many around the world are coming for connection, entertainment and inspiration. We’re
looking forward to delivering more great experiences for the hundreds of millions of people
engaging with us, and driving continued growth in our business through Q4 and into FY22.
Now, I’ll turn the call over to Blake.
Thanks, Andrew.
We delivered net bookings well above our expectations this quarter. The beat was driven by
our live services, led by outperformance in Ultimate Team and Apex Legends. We delivered
GAAP net revenue of $1.7 billion and record net bookings of $2.4 billion.
We’ve built our live services for longevity. FIFA and Madden have both been around for
decades. Measured over the last ten fiscal years, the FIFA franchise has grown at a CAGR of
nearly 50% and Madden at nearly 60%. The Sims 4 is on track for its sixth consecutive year of
growth, and Apex Legends for its second, at the beginning of what we hope will be a similarly
long run for this title. I’d reiterate and amplify here that we expect Apex to deliver well over
$500 million in net bookings this year, compared to our original expectation of $300M to $400M.
The Apex team has really embraced the playfulness of the characters and gameplay. The team
has focused on having more fun in the craft of building and experimenting with new modes and
ways to explore the Apex universe and characters. This has been paying off, with a compound
average growth rate of about 14% per Season, as measured from Season 2. That’s equivalent
to an annual CAGR of about 65%.
With regards to the sports opportunity in particular, we estimate the worldwide sports video
game software segment is about $7 billion on console and PC today. It’s grown by about 13%
annually since 2016. We’re the leader in that segment, and are now applying our full focus to
the spectrum of sports opportunities, from casual to core. The global mobile gaming market for
sports is presently about $4.3 billion in size and growing fast, at about 24% a year. We’re
barely scratching the surface of this massive opportunity, but we have a lot of projects in flight,
and you’ll hear more about our activities here in the year to come.
Operationally, we’re working in challenging times, but we’ve been able to lean into the
advantages that come with our scale to deliver games at quality with remarkably little impact on
timing. This quarter we launched FIFA 21, NHL 21, Need for Speed Hot Pursuit Remastered,
and Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond. We also extended FIFA and Madden to the PS5 and
Xbox Series X, and Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order to Stadia, and added our EA Play service to
Microsoft Game Pass. We continued a packed schedule of live events for Ultimate Team,
across FIFA, Madden and NHL. We launched Season 7 for Apex, and launched Season 8
today. And we launched the Snowy Escapes Expansion Pack for the Sims.
The step-function jump in digital sales prompted by COVID appears resilient, with digital
representing 62% of units sold through in the quarter, up 13 percentage points from last year.
Mobile showed its third consecutive quarter of year on year growth, with outperformance across
the board this quarter, led by Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes and FIFA Mobile. We’ll have much
more to say about our mobile strategy later this year, and we continue to be excited about the
games we currently have in flight.
Operating expenses came in materially below our expectations, primarily driven by the phasing
of marketing investments.
We hit a new record in trailing twelve-month operating cash flow of $2.06 billion. The
quarter was very close to our record for quarterly cash flow, which we delivered back in Q3
fiscal 2017 with the help of Battlefield 1. Needless to say, we’re excited about the potential for
the next Battlefield in Q3 next fiscal year.
Our expectation for full-year GAAP revenue is $5.6 billion, cost of revenue to be $1.477
billion, and earnings per share of $2.54. Remember that our guidance EPS calculation does
not factor in future buybacks under our recently-announced two-year, $2.6 billion share
repurchase program.
We are reaffirming our operating cash flow guidance of $1.850 billion. We continue to
anticipate capital expenditures of around $125 million, which would deliver free cash flow of
about $1.725 billion. See our earnings slides and press release for further cash flow
We are raising our net bookings expectation for the year to be $6.075 billion, up $125 million
from our prior guidance. This is driven by continued strength in our live services, particularly
FIFA and Apex Legends. It is $525 million above our expectations at the start of the year,
despite changes we made to the product slate during the year. We expect this year to be 13%
over the prior year, even with a lighter release slate versus the prior year and an FX headwind
of about $55 million.
For the fourth quarter, we now expect GAAP net revenue of $1.317 billion, cost of revenue
to be $302 million, and operating expenses of $837 million. This results in a loss per share of
$0.07 for the fourth quarter.
We anticipate net bookings for the fourth quarter to be $1.375 billion, which is an increase of
$75 million over our prior guidance.
We’ve built a foundation for growth in fiscal 2022. We have successfully brought new people
into our ecosystem. We’re providing great content for people to want to spend more time there.
We’ve been working hard on new titles and new platforms. We expect this to deliver significant
organic growth in fiscal 2022. Formal guidance will follow on our Q4 call, but I can tell you now
that the Battlefield team is doing an incredible job. They’re way ahead of where they were in
prior product cycles, on track for their earliest feature complete in franchise history. Meanwhile,
the live services teams for FIFA, Apex Legends, The Sims and Madden all continue to outdo
themselves. And of course, we’ll have other surprises that we’ll reveal when the time is right.
Now I’ll hand back to Andrew.
Thanks, Blake.
Strong execution throughout FY21 has brought us to this point, and the drivers for future growth
are foundational to our business. Our teams are creating amazing, high-quality games and
content for more players around the world than ever before. Our live services that extend and
enhance these experiences are keeping players engaged over the long-term. And we are
transforming our business for continued expansion, growing our portfolio and enabling ways for
players to connect with each other and engage deeply with their favorite content. We’re looking
forward to a strong Q4, and a year of continued growth in FY22.
Now Blake and I are here for your questions.
Forward-Looking Statements
Some statements set forth in this document, including the information relating to EA’s fiscal
2021 and 2022 guidance information and fiscal 2021 and 2022 title slate contain forward-looking
statements that are subject to change. Statements including words such as “anticipate,”
“believe,” “expect,” “intend,” “estimate,” “plan,” “predict,” “seek,” “goal,” “will,” “may,” “likely,”
“should,” “could” (and the negative of any of these terms), “future” and similar expressions also
identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are not guarantees of
future performance and reflect management’s current expectations. Our actual results could
differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements.
Some of the factors which could cause the Company’s results to differ materially from its
expectations include the following: the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic; sales of the
Company’s products and services; the Company’s ability to develop and support digital products
and services, including managing online security and privacy; outages of our products, services
and technological infrastructure; the Company’s ability to manage expenses; the competition in
the interactive entertainment industry; governmental regulations; the effectiveness of the
Company’s sales and marketing programs; timely development and release of the Company’s
products and services; the Company’s ability to realize the anticipated benefits of acquisitions;
the consumer demand for, and the availability of an adequate supply of console hardware units;
the Company’s ability to predict consumer preferences among competing platforms; the
Company’s ability to develop and implement new technology; foreign currency exchange rate
fluctuations; general economic conditions; changes in our tax rates or tax laws; and other
factors described in Part II, Item 1A of Electronic Arts’ latest Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q
under the heading “Risk Factors”, as well as in other documents we have filed with the
Securities and Exchange Commission, including Electronic Arts’ latest Annual Report on Form
10-K, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on May 20, 2020.
These forward-looking statements are current as of February 2, 2021. Electronic Arts assumes
no obligation to revise or update any forward-looking statement for any reason, except as
required by law. In addition, the preliminary financial results set forth in this release are
estimates based on information currently available to Electronic Arts.
While Electronic Arts believes these estimates are meaningful, they could differ from the actual
amounts that Electronic Arts ultimately reports in its Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the
fiscal quarter ended December 31, 2020. Electronic Arts assumes no obligation and does not
intend to update these estimates prior to filing its Form 10-Q for the fiscal quarter ended
December 31, 2020.

just hope they dont try to hard and that the new features will be tought trough and clever, they have not disapointed before but i cant help about being a bit nervous

Well, they have have had enough time to think through things. Also, according to the Financial Statements released yesterday, development is ahead of schedule, so no excuses for releasing a 1/2 cooked game.

So, spring is March 21st I think. So we have a couple of months before we get any kinda “real” truth about what the next game will be about. At that point, I think we will just get teasers.