You’d think with both “Battlefield 1” and “Titanfall 2” scoring rave reviews, Electronic Arts would be riding a high right now – instead, the stockholders are punishing them with the company’s share price dropping several percent in the past few days.
The reason? Analyst predictions are that “Titanfall 2” sales will come in far lower than expected – 5-6 million total units as opposed to the 9 million units initially predicted. Cowen & Co. analyst Doug Creutz wrote a note to clients that has since been published at CNBC (via Gamespot) and says:
“We are downgrading EA shares … because we believe that Titanfall 2 sales are going to be substantially disappointing, enough to offset [the] upside from Battlefield 1. We expect a correction in shares between now and early next year as we believe the stock is priced for upside to current Street consensus.”
The reason “Titanfall 2” will disappoint is not to do with quality, but rather one of simple timing. Game studios go for long gaps of several months without major releases before flooding the market with at least one or two major AAA tentpole games each week in the October/November period to take advantage of Black Friday and Christmas sales.
Unlike film studios though which usually space out films within the same genre so as not to cannibalise each other, the Fall has become the time that a lot of very similar multiplayer-centric FPS games hit. This month has already seen the release of “Gears of War 4” and “Battlefield 1” while “Call of Duty” gets both a new game and a remastered classic entry released next week.
As a result, “Titanfall 2” looks to be the loser in this round of musical chairs as even those who might be enticed to its single player campaign, something famously lacking from the franchise’s first entry, will be steered toward one of the other shooters or the “Dishonored” and “Watch Dogs” sequels both hitting the market in the next fortnight.
The report suggests the scheduling was a calculated risk on the part of EA that, in the long run, might not pay off the way they had hoped:
“We suspect EA believed that by launching two shooters next to Call of Duty it could put a large dent in its biggest competitor, but instead EA appears to have wound up shooting its own foot off.”
Actual sales figures for “Titanfall 2” are currently unavailable. Predictions for “Battlefield 1” were at 14 million copies, an estimate that has been raised to 16.5 million copies after the game sold nearly a million copies in its first week.