Late last night, EA sent out a press release detailing their earnings for the first quarter of the financial year 2011 (which apparently just ended, what a country?!). The long and the short of the release was that the company beat earnings expectations, with net revenue totalling $539 million, exceeding its own prediction of $460-500 million. Packed in among the jargon and percent signs, the company revealed that Crytek's Crysis 2 will not be released until the first quarter of 2011, this despite the fact that several retailers had the game listed as a 2010 holiday season release. In addition, the report confirmed a new Need for Speed game, entitled Need for Speed: Shift 2, which is also scheduled to ship in the first quarter of '11.
The delay of the sequel and confirmation of the new title mean that EA will be competing with a lot of its own games in the first three months of next year. In addition to Crysis 2 and NFS: Shift 2, the publisher is also scheduled to deliver Bulletstorm, Darkspore, Dead Space 2, and Fight Night Champion. If you're keeping count, that's half a dozen potential AAA titles all coming out in the same fiscal quarter. Far be it from me to tell a successful company how to do its job, but this seems like a case of putting a lot of eggs in one basket.
I guess at the end of the day, we can expect that EA's earnings report for the first quarter of 2011 (which will actually be the 3rd fiscal quarter, who knew?!) will once again show a healthy revenue gain. With pending legal action against the company from thousands of angry litigants, it might not be a bad idea for EA to increase the size of their coffers. One never knows what an American jury will decide, and the possibility of EA having to pay out a large sum of money is a very real thing.