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EA Shares Fall on Harry Potter Game Delay

The video game maker delays the game until next summer when the new Harry Potter film is released.
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Electronic Arts

(ERTS)

shares fell 2% on Monday after the company announced a delay in the release of its much anticipated Harry Potter video game until summer 2009.

The delay is disappointing for the industry's largest video game publisher. According to a filing, the company expected "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," which had been scheduled for release in November in time for the holiday shopping season, to generate $120 million in revenue and 13 cents a share in profit during the fiscal year that ends in March, 2009.

Trudy Muller, a spokeswoman for EA, said the company would comment on what impact the delay would have on its financial outlook when it reports its second-quarter earnings at the end of this month.

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The delay follows last month's surprise announcement by Warner Brothers that it was pushing back the release of the film, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" until the summer.

EA and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment said the game was being released at a later date to coincide with the release of the film. "We are creating an immersive game experience that Potter fans around the world will really enjoying as they fly and duel their way through the story of the film," said Robert Sashak, vice president of EA Casual Studios.

Muller said the companies worked together to figure out the best time to release the game after the delay in the release of the film.

EA said players will have the chance in the new game to join Harry Potter's exploits in his sixth year at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. They will brew magical potions, engage in air duels and sort out the identity of the Half Prince.

EA said the new game will be available on the Wii, PlayStation 3, Microsoft's Xbox 360, Windows PC, Macintosh and mobile devices.

Shares of EA were off 99 cents at $45.50 in trading Monday.