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EA Launches NCAA Football 14

Zacks Equity Research

Electronic Arts (EA) has released its latest football game, NCAA Football 14, laden with new features as well as improved and innovative gameplay. The game can be played on Microsoft’s (MSFT) Xbox 360 and Sony’s (SNE) PlayStation 3 consoles.

Powered by Infinity Engine 2, NCAA Football 14 allows gamers to try new moves, such as stiff-arms, trucking, Hit Stick and dive tackles. Apart from this, the game has Dynasty mode with New Coach Skills and Power Recruiting options.

In the latest version, EA has incorporated the Ultimate Team mode, which allows gamers to form a team from 2,000 former NCAA football stars.

The current installment has received a metascore of 77 (Xbox) and 75 (PS3) from Metacritic in addition to positive reviews from critics and gamers. The earlier version under the NCAA Football series, NCAA Football 13, had scored 76 (Xbox 360) and 79 (PS3).

The NCAA franchise has been successful over the years and is evident from the reported sale of 23 million copies to date, which helped the franchise earn $900 million in revenues. Thus, positive reviews and a large fan following should act as tailwinds for the franchise in generating incremental revenues going forward.

We believe that EA’s high-quality titles, a robust product pipeline along with increasing online exposure and traction in the social and mobile gaming market will boost its top line over the long term.

However, EA faces a number of headwinds including a soft video game industry performance, particularly due to weakness in retail sales amid an aging console system lifecycle. Additionally, competition from Activision (ATVI) and other gaming companies are the near-term headwinds.

Currently, EA carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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