Updated from 5:05 p.m. EDTVideo game publisher Electronic Arts ( ERTS) posted weak revenue and a wider loss in the first quarter and guided below analysts' expectations for the second quarter. The company's loss was $132 million, or 42 cents a share, compared with a loss of $81 million, or 26 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding charges, the company posted a loss of 22 cents a share. On that basis, it beat Thomson First Call estimates of a loss of 35 cents a share. Revenue fell 4% to $395 million. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial were expecting revenue of $385.9 million. Beginning this quarter, EA said it won't charge for hosting services for some of its online packaged goods games and will instead start recognizing revenue from the sale of these games over the hosting service period. The change will result in a $36 million sequential increase as of June 30 in deferred net revenue, which will be recognized in future quarters. The move has "materially impacted" the company's results, said EA. Shares of Electronic Arts were off 23 cents, or 0.4%, to $47.87 in recent after-hours trading. EA said it will launch 10 new games this fiscal year, including Boogie, EA Playground, Army of Two, Skate, Warhammer Online, The Simpsons Game, Smarty Pants, a yet to be named game for Nintendo's Wii that EA is jointly developing with Steven Spielberg, Rock Band and Crysis.
For the second quarter, the company guided revenue in the range of $825 million to $910 million. EPS is expected to be between 10 cents to 20 cents a share. Analysts were expecting earnings of 35 cents a share. The second-quarter EPS projection excludes about 84 cents to 90 cents for the impact of a change in deferred net revenue. "We had two titles, Crysis and FIFA scheduled to ship in Q2 that will now ship in Q3," said Warren Jenson, chief financial office of EA. "That adds up to about $60 million or earnings of 10 cents a share that will go from Q2 to Q3." Net revenue for fiscal 2008 is expected to be between $3.2 and $3.5 billion, up $100 million from the company's previous guidance. EPS for the year is likely to be between 90 cents and $1.20 a share. Analysts were expecting earnings of $1.15 a share. Excluding the impact of the change in deferred revenue, sales in fiscal 2008 are expected to be between $3.65 billion and $3.85 billion --up $50 million from the company's previous guidance. Excluding charges, analysts were expecting revenue of $3.72 billion for the year.