October 29, 2015 / 8:14 PM / in 2 years

Electronic Arts raises sales forecast for Star Wars' videogame

(Reuters) - Electronic Arts Inc raised its sales forecast for its highly anticipated videogame “Star Wars: Battlefront” as the company looks to tap into the loyal fan base of the iconic movie franchise.

An Electronic Arts (EA) video game logo is seen at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, in Los Angeles, California, United States, June 17, 2015. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

The company said it expected to sell 13 million copies of the videogame in its 2016 fiscal year, up from its previous forecast of 9-10 million units.

The game is slated to launch globally on Nov. 17, a month before Walt Disney Co releases “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”, the latest movie in the franchise that revisits memorable characters such as Hans Solo, Princess Leia and Chewbacca.

Electronic Arts’ Chief Financial Officer Blake Jorgensen said in an interview that the excitement around Star Wars would continue throughout fiscal 2017.

The videogame maker also forecast net revenue of about $1.78 billion and profit of about $1.75 per share on an adjusted basis for the third quarter.

Analysts were expecting a profit of $1.74 per share and revenue of $1.74 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

This is perhaps the most crucial quarter for the company, with its “Star Wars” game and the latest version of “Need for Speed” releasing around the holiday shopping quarter.

Electronic Arts is also expected to launch more “Star Wars” titles as part of its multi-year licensing deal with Disney, Chief Executive Andrew Wilson said on a call with analysts.

The company raised its full-year sales forecast to $4.50 billion from $4.45 billion and adjusted profit forecast to $3.00 from $2.85 per share.

Shares were down slightly after the results, and Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter attributed the disappointment to the “implied” fourth-quarter profit estimate of 45 cents per share. Analysts were expecting 62 cents per share for the fourth quarter.

The company is releasing the much anticipated latest edition of “NFS”, one of the most successful video game franchises of all time, on Nov. 3.

The Redwood City, California-based company’s stock was closed at $76.06 on Thursday after the bell.

Reporting by Anya George Tharakan and Kshitiz Goliya in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva

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