Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA) reported fiscal 2019 first-quarter financial results on July 26. Revenue and earnings fell compared to the year-ago quarter, which benefited from more blockbuster game releases. But the game maker's key FIFA franchise delivered another outstanding performance, boosted by the excitement surrounding the FIFA World Cup.

Electronic Arts results: The raw numbers

Metric

Q1 2019

Q1 2018

Year-Over-Year Change

Net revenue

$1.137 billion

$1.449 billion

(22%)

Net income

$293 million

$644 million

(55%)

Earnings per share

$0.95

$2.06

(54%)

Data source: Electronic Arts Q1 2019 earnings release.

What happened with Electronic Arts this quarter?

More than 20 million players participated in EA's FIFA esports league, which saw its viewership surge by 80% compared to the prior year. EA also launched FIFA Mobile in China during the first quarter. It quickly climbed to No. 1 in terms of downloads on iOS, and generated best-in-class engagement on China's most popular messaging app, WeChat. All of this bodes well for the upcoming release of FIFA 19, the newest version of the game,which EA intends to launch in the second quarter. 

The FIFA World Cup trophy depicted in EA's FIFA 18 video game

EA's FIFA games took the trophy with World Cup fans. Image source: Electronic Arts.

Still, net bookings -- essentially, the amount of products and services sold during the period -- fell 3% year over year to $749 million, as EA lapped strong sales of Mass Effect: Andromeda in the year-ago quarter. However, net bookings for EA's live services, which deliver game experiences that update and evolve, rose 7% to $450 million, fueled by the strong growth of FIFA Online 4 and The Sims 4

All told, EA's first-quarter operating cash flow checked in at $120 million, down from $176 million in the prior-year quarter, due largely to higher investments in research and development as EA prepares to launch a slate of new games later this year.

Looking forward 

EA expects second-quarter net bookings of approximately $1.16 billion and net revenue of $1.27 billion. The company is also guiding for net income of $150 million, or $0.48 per share.

Electronic Arts also reiterated its full-year financial forecast, including:

  • Net bookings of $5.55 billion
  • Net revenue of $5.6 billion
  • Operating cash flow of $1.825 billion
  • Net income of $1.108 billion
  • EPS of $3.55

CFO Blake Jorgensen said in a press release: "We started the year strongly as we continued to deliver on our growth strategies with a focus on new genres, new geographies, and building engaging live services across our portfolio to drive recurring revenue. We have a strong slate of products to launch through the rest of the fiscal year, great content coming in our live services, and are continuing to grow our esports competitions."

Looking out even further, CEO Andrew Wilson expressed a grander goal: "With every game, every service, and every experience, we are taking steps toward our vision to connect a billion people in play." 

Joe Tenebruso has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Electronic Arts. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.