EA held an earnings call this week where it talked about the state of things and offered up some details on how its popular game franchises have been doing. The call was for Q4 FY2019, and the star of the call was Apex Legends. The game launched in February and single handedley turned things around for EA. Apex Legends has shown no signs of slowing over the quarter, and EA says that it is the fastest growing game it has ever had.
Within a month of launching, 50 million players were playing the game. EA says that "millions more" players have joined the action since then. EA noted in the call that nearly 30% of Apex Legends players are new to EA. EA is focusing very heavily on Apex Legends with a new season in the works that features more robust Battle Pass content, new legends, and "evolutions" in the in-game environment. The game will be coming to more markets and platforms around the world including Korea.
Apex Legends is also coming to China and mobile platforms with EA stating it is in advanced negotiations. Both Fortnite and PUBG offer mobile versions for iOS and Android. However, only Fortnite offers a gaming experience that is [nearly] identical to its PC/console counterpart. There is no indication which route Apex Legends will take.
EA significantly outperformed its expectations for Q4, and that performance was driven mainly by the wild success of Apex Legends. EA says that its sports games were also stronger than expected. Anthem continues to underperform EA expectations. EA reported GAAP net revenue for the fiscal year of $4.95 billion, cost of revenue was $1.32 billion, and operating income was $996 million. Operating cash flow was $1.55 billion with EA stating over a billion dollar return for shareholders.
EA repurchased a significant number of its stock shares spending $301 million in the quarter to repurchase 3.2 million shares. EA also looked down the road to fiscal 2020 and expects its gaming software market to grow 7% over calendar 2018 with mobile up 12%, console up 4% and flat growth in PC gaming. GAAP net revenue expected for fiscal 2020 is $5.4 billion.