Skate Outsells Tony Hawk 2:1; Rock Band, Crysis, Orange Box "Exceeded Expectations"

By Chris Remo and Nick Breckon, Jan 31, 2008 2:38pm PST In a still-ongoing conference call hosted by Electronic Arts, key executives at the publisher spoke on the company's successes and shortcomings in its third fiscal quarter, for which it just released financial results.

Impressively, according to EA, EA Black Box's newcomer franchise Skate (PS3, X360) bested established competitor Tony Hawk's Proving Ground (PS2, PS3, X360, Wii, NDS) by a considerable margin. "Despite the fact we launched on three fewer platforms," CFO Warren Jensen pointed out, "Skate outsold Tony Hawk 2 to 1."

EA Partners, the company's division for distribution of games from independent developers, posted strong results earlier today. In the conference call, CEO John Riccitiello singled out several EA Partners titles as contributing factors. "Rock Band, Orange Box, and Crysis all exceeded expectations," he said.

Riccitiello pointed to Europe as a strong territory for the company, although he was sure to note the company's leading position across the board. "We close calendar 2007 as the #1 pub across all platforms, with an 18% share in North America and 19%share in Europe," he said. "We were very pleased with our European results. Titles like FIFA, Need for Speed, and The Simpons all charted in the top 10 in Europe."

Jensen frequently noted that Crysis was a strong performer, stating the game went "platinum," which likely means it sold a million units worldwide despite its initially modest performance in the US. This may be due to European territories, where the PC platform has traditionally been stronger.

Still, PC revenue as a whole is down 30% for EA over last year, which saw blockbuster entries in The Sims and Battlefield franchises.

"I would characterize our Q3 performance as mixed," said John Riccitiello, despite the company's good news in certain segments. "We are not satisfied with where we are."

Most of the standout titles highlighted in the conference call came from external developers, unusual for Electronic Arts. "We did not have any internally developed breakaway titles," Riccitiello continued. "The closest thing we had to breakaway titles in 2007...were Skate and FIFA." He expects Criterion's just-released Burnout Paradise (check out our review) to be another.

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