After a stupendous opening day sales by Electronic Arts Inc.’s (EA - Analyst Report) FIFA Soccer 13, the company sold 4.5 million units of the game globally in first five days. The game was launched in North America on Tuesday, September 25, 2012. Globally, the game was available starting Friday, September 28, 2012.
EA reported that a staggering 800K fans had played the game simultaneously. The game also recorded in excess of 66 million online playing sessions. The popularity of the game seems to be never ending as FIFA Soccer 13 was recognized as the top seller in 40 countries. EA claims it to be “the biggest game launch of 2012” and “the biggest sports videogame launch of all time”.
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 versions. Apart from these ratings, game critics and enthusiasts worldwide have tendered rave reviews on FIFA Soccer 13. The positive ratings further accentuate FIFA Soccer 13’s popularity, thus boosting chances of robust sales going forward.
EA SPORTS’ FIFA franchise has attained an almost cult status among soccer fans. Thus, the release of the latest version has amplified the present craze, bringing in millions for the company.
EA’s pipeline comprises high-quality titles, which coupled with its expansionary initiatives in the social gaming segment will likely drive the long-term growth.
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 #3 Rank, which implies a Hold rating in the short term.