What to Expect From Electronic Arts Tomorrow

Is anyone other than Zynga (Nasdaq: ZNGA  ) profiting from social gaming? We'll know a little more when Electronic Arts (NYSE: EA  ) reports fiscal third-quarter earnings after the bell tomorrow. Here's a closer look at what analysts expect:

Metric

Q3 2011 (estimate)

Q3 2010

Estimated Growth

Revenue $1.61 billion $1.41 billion 14.2%
Earnings per Share $0.93 $0.59 57.6%

Source: Yahoo! Finance.

History says Wall Street is lowballing. EA has outperformed the average earnings estimate by as little as 5.1% and as much as 225% in each of the last four quarters -- and that's including last year's third quarter, in which revenue fell 15%. This time, new titles and opportunities are fueling top-line gains as peers Activision Blizzard (Nasdaq: ATVI  ) and Take-Two Interactive (Nasdaq: TTWO  ) prepare to report double-digit declines.

Three more things to watch
Of course, we're about more than just numbers here at The Motley Fool. As business-focused investors, we're also interested in strategy and company initiatives. Here are three things I'm particularly hoping to hear more about:

  • Star Wars synergy. Tops among EA's list of hit hopefuls is the new Star Wars: The Old Republic PC game that extends into an online multiplayer experience. I'd seriously consider buying it to play with my eldest son if we had a Windows machine in the house. What do other game geeks say? Did preorders surge with Lucasfilm preparing to release the 3-D edition of Star Wars: Episode I to the big screen next month?
  • The Sims on Facebook. While Zynga remains the leading game platform for Facebook, EA has slowly carved a niche by bringing its popular Sims PC game to the social sphere. The last metrics from social game tracker AppData shows The Sims Social ranking 11th among all social games. What other social offerings does EA have in the works? Is working with Facebook profitable?
  • Old standbys. We all know EA for its top hit, the Madden football simulation franchise and related sports games. Are they still outperforming? Is any innovation needed here, and if so, what plans are there for a refresh?

Those are my questions. Now it's your turn to weigh in. What do you expect to hear from Electronic Arts tomorrow? How do you invest in video game stocks? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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Add Electronic Arts to My Watchlist for up-to-the-minute Foolish coverage of the stock and your entire portfolio.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team. He didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned at the time of publication. Check out Tim's web home, portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Google+ or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

The Motley Fool owns shares of Take-Two Interactive Software and Activision Blizzard. The Fool owns shares of and has written calls on Activision Blizzard. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Activision Blizzard and Take-Two Interactive Software. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a synthetic long position in Activision Blizzard. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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