Electronic Arts Inc. (EA - Analyst Report) said that its FIFA Soccer 13 recorded an astounding opening day sales in North America with 353k games being sold. This was a sharp 42% increase from the previous edition (FIFA 12). The game was launched in North America on Tuesday, September 25, 2012. The game can also be downloaded from Origin.
In addition to the game’s super release on Sony Corp.’s (SNE - Snapshot Report) PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Corp.’s (MSFT - Analyst Report) Xbox 360, FIFA Soccer 13 recorded a 62% increase in downloads from Apple Inc.’s (AAPL - Analyst Report) devices. FIFA Soccer 13 has garnered rave review across the globe, as reflected by the internal sales data of EA that recorded over 1.3 million games being pre ordered.
Moreover, The Entertainment Software Rating Board (“ESRB”) has proffered an “E” (“Everyone”) rating to the game. Metacritic has provided a Metascore of 90 and 87 for the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions, respectively. Moreover, the game has garnered a Metascore of 92 for the iPad and iPhone. These positive ratings indicate that the game is likely to be popular, generating incremental sales going forward.
EA SPORTS’ FIFA franchise has attained an almost cult status among soccer fans. Thus, the release of the latest version is going to amplify the present craze, raking in millions for the company.
EA’s pipeline consists of high-quality titles and with the increasing online exposure, social games guarantee market share gains over the long term.
However, the gloomy macroeconomic environment and increasing competition from Activision Blizzard Inc. (ATVI - Snapshot Report) and Zynga Inc. (ZNGA - Snapshot Report) may act as headwinds going forward.
Moreover, video game retail sales declined for the ninth consecutive month in August 2012. According to market research firm NPD, U.S. video game store sales slumped 20.3% year over year to $515.6 million in the month of August.
We have a Neutral recommendation on Electronic Arts over the long term (for the next 3-6 months). Currently, Electronic Arts has a Zacks #2 Rank, which implies a Buy rating in the short term.