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EA posts sizable loss, but touts big Sims 3 sales

Video game giant's first-quarter broad results are not good. But the third full iteration of the Sims franchise got off to an impressive start.

There may be an economic recovery in the works, but video game giant Electronic Arts has a way to go before it joins the party.

That seemed to be the message Tuesday, when EA reported its first-quarter results, the highlights of which were mixed: On the one hand, it reported a quarterly net loss of $234 million, or 72 cents a share, compared with a loss of $95 million, or 30 cents a share, for the same quarter a year earlier. But on the other hand, its big summer release, The Sims 3, appears to have gotten off to a great start, moving an impressive 3.7 million copies since its June 2 launch.

For the quarter, EA said it brought in $644 million in net revenue, down 20 percent, compared with $804 million a year earlier.

The quick start for The Sims 3 isn't surprising since it is part of one of the best-selling video game franchises in history, and because the game in June set a company record for first-week sales of a PC game.

EA also touted the performance of games like EA Sports Active and Fight Night Round 4, which it said also drove sales for the quarter.

Still, despite strong results for games like The Sims 3 and EA Sports Active, EA has to deal with the reality that its business is struggling in the face of the economy. Of course, it's hardly alone. During June, industry sales across the board were down 31 percent from the same period a year earlier.