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How Electronic Arts Tackled a Star Wars Battlefront II Issue

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Sales below estimates

Electronic Arts (EA) sold approximately 7 million units of Star Wars Battlefront II in the quarter that ended in December 2017. The game launched on November 17, and EA had initially estimated sales of 8 million units in fiscal 3Q18. During the company’s fiscal 3Q18 earnings call, CFO Blake Jorgensen stated, “For Q3, we had expected to sell about 8 million units, but we fell short of that by less than 1 million units.”

Analysts had initially expected EA to sell around 14 million units of Star Wars: Battlefront II by the end of fiscal 2018. However, EA now expects to sell between 1 million and 3 million units in fiscal 4Q18—which might mean cumulative sales of 8 million to 10 million units by the end of 2018.

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According to VGChartz.com, EA sold almost 870,000 Star Wars Battlefront units in the week ended November 18 on the PlayStation 4 (SNE) and over 438,000 units on the Xbox One (MSFT). The top-selling games (on consoles) in December 2017 include Activision’s (ATVI) Call of Duty: WWII, Nintendo’s Super Mario Odyssey and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and EA’s latest Star Wars game.

Micro-transactions controversy impacted sales

Between November 2017 and December 2017, EA stock fell over 12% as players vented their frustrations on social media and accused EA of unfairly charging gamers for content via microtransactions. Players believed content updates should have been part of the game’s initial price of $60, and this reaction led EA to disable microtransactions (or MTX) for the game.

Research firm NPD had estimated physical unit sales for the game to be 52% lower in the first month post-launch compared to that of Star Wars Battlefront, which came out in November 2015. In the above chart, you can see that Battlefront II sold 882,000 units in November 2017, compared to sales of 4.4 million units for Call of Duty: WWII—although the latter released two weeks earlier than Star Wars.

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