EA’s revenue rises but so do costs

Company's net loss falls 28% to $95 million

Game giant Electronic Arts saw revenue surge but realized only a mild improvement in its net loss last quarter amid a growing slate of new releases.

Revenue more than doubled to $804 million, but that was due in large part to a huge benefit from deferred revenue for some online games. On a comparable basis to last year, revenue rose 41% to $609 million.

However, with expenses also rising, particularly in research and development, EA’s net loss fell only 28% to $95 million.

Action game “Battlefield: Bad Company” had a solid debut in the quarter, selling 1.6 million units. EA also had a strong launch for soccer title “UEFA Euro 2008” and noted that last year’s “Rock Band” continues to sell well.

Publisher didn’t mention the perf of its first game developed in partnership with Steven Spielberg, “Boom Blox,” which received strong reviews but appears to have had a weak launch.

EA has a number of highly anticipated original properties coming out in the next few months, including “Spore,” the new game from “Sims” creator Will Wright, and horror sci-fi title “Dead Space.” It also has a new “Lord of the Rings” title and the 20th anniversary installment of its “Madden NFL” franchise, and it’s distributing “Rock Band 2” for MTV.

Company is also investing heavily in its mobile gaming operation, which saw revenues rise 33% last quarter to $44 million.

EA is in the midst of an attempted turnaround by new CEO John Riccitiello, who has restructured the company to try to minimize bureaucracy and develop more original new franchises.

For the fiscal year ending in March, EA is projecting revenues between $4.9 billion and $5.15 billion, a substantial 34%-41% increase over last year.

Publisher’s shares were down 1% in after-hours trading after closing up 3% at $47.40.

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