Electronic Arts announced earnings results for the all-important holiday season, and it wasn’t the kind of performance the company wanted to see. Amid a “tumultuous” year, EA said the company overall did not perform up to expectations. One title that failed to hit targets was the World War II shooter Battlefield 5.
The game sold a massive 7.3 million units in the time between launch in November and the end of the year, but this was 1 million short of what EA had projected. As for why the game struggled, EA CEO Andrew Wilson said the marketing campaign failed to capture the attention of players. The campaign lacked a “creative center,” the company said, though it shared no other details.
Wilson added that the game’s delay from October to November hurt Battlefield 5 because it meant that the game was going up against titles already discounted for the holiday season. Not only that, but Battlefield 5 struggled because of “unprecedented competition,” Wilson said. He mentioned Fortnite, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, and Red Dead Redemption 2 as titles that ate away at Battlefield 5’s sales to some degree.
Not only that, but Wilson suggested that EA’s decision to prioritise Battlefield 5’s single-player over the new battle royale mode, Firestorm, hurt Battlefield 5’s sales. Firestorm is launching in March, and it won’t be the first battle royale game from EA, as it just recently launched Apex Legends from Titanfall studio Respawn Entertainment.
Overall, Battlefield 5’s launch failed to catch on with players and it never caught up, Wilson said. Despite Battlefield 5’s commercial underperformance, the game was generally well-liked by critics, and the franchise remains strong, Wilson said. As such, the focus for EA and developer DICE now is on bringing new players into the title going ahead.
EA has many months of new content planned for Battlefield 5 over time, including new maps, customisation items, the battle royale mode, and more. Despite all the new content coming, EA said it only has “modest expectations” for Battlefield 5’s live service revenue. The same can be said for Anthem, EA said, and this is because both titles have yet to prove themselves.
Overall, EA generated $1.29 billion during the quarter ended December 31 and profit of $262 million. Keep checking back with GameSpot soon for more from EA’s earnings report.