EA hikes annual sales outlook as lockdown boost for videogames continues

FILE PHOTO: An Electronic Arts office building is shown in Los Angeles, California, U.S., July 27, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Blake

(Reuters) – Electronic Arts Inc on Tuesday raised its annual sales outlook, betting on strong sales of its sports titles including “FIFA 21” and “Madden NFL 21” as more people turn to videogames to keep themselves entertained during COVID-19 lockdowns.

Shares of the company, however, fell 5% in extended trading after EA’s 98 cents adjusted profit forecast for the current quarter missed analysts’ average estimate by 2 cents.

Videogame sales in the United States hit a record $56.9 billion last year, according to research firm NPD, as demand for virtual entertainment soared after major public events were canceled to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.

EA said new players on its battle royale game “Apex Legends” jumped 30% year-over-year. The soft launch of its mobile version is expected in the

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