Electronic Arts Stock Drops After Rumors of Battlefield 2042 Delay

A scene from Battlefield 2042.

Courtesy Image

Electronic Arts

stock dove after several social-media accounts discussed a rumor that its coming Battlefield 2042 game might be delayed. That would make the publisher the latest of several to have to postpone an important launch.

Shares of EA (ticker: EA) fell roughly 6% to $136.55 in afternoon trading Wednesday. If EA’s losses hold through the trading day, it would be the largest drop since Nov. 6 last year, when shares fell 7.1%.

It wasn’t immediately clear from the social media activity how long the game could be delayed, or the potential reasons. EA didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The Battlefield franchise is among EA’s most important, generating hundreds of millions in sales with each new launch. A delay could require the company to adjust its financial projections for the remainder of the year. The game is set to launch Oct. 22.

Executives raised their guidance when EA reported its quarterly results in August, telling investors the company expected a fiscal 2022 net profit of $456 million, with net bookings of $7.4 billion. Net bookings are a common non-GAAP measure of sales used by videogame companies that includes the impact of deferred revenue.

Raymond James analyst Andrew Marok said that a potential delay of weeks, rather than months, would be a “mild negative’ for EA shares, assuming the game still launches in the holiday season. A delay beyond the year-end shopping season would be more damaging to the company.

The pandemic has been a mixed blessing for videogame companies. People stuck at home because of government-ordered lockdowns and other measures have flocked to interactive entertainment. Yet a number of large publishers have delayed large title releases, as their staffs work from home.

Last week, for example,

Take-Two Interactive Software

(TTWO) pushed back its launch of a remastered version of Grand Theft Auto V and Grand Theft Auto Online. Take-Two reiterated its financial guidance for the year despite the delay.

Write to Max A. Cherney at max.cherney@barrons.com