In a GameSpot interview published last week, EA Games president Frank Gibeau declined to predict how well Spore would sell at launch. The subject of eager anticipation since it was unveiled at the 2005 Game Developers Conference, the latest game from Sims creator Will Wright aims to do it all. Players begin by guiding a cellular organism's evolution into a land creature--which then becomes sentient, builds a civilization, and begins exploring space.
Luckily, Lazard Capital Markets analyst Colin Sebastian doesn't share Gibeau's reticence. In a report released this week, the games-industry expert predicted that Spore will be a massive hit, selling around 2 million copies in its first month on the market. Citing strong sales of Madden and a back-to-school gaming spike, Sebastian gave a "buy" rating to EA stock, which closed the day at $47.61.
Besides Spore, Sebastian also thinks another EA game will debut strong this month. According to his estimates, the massively multiplayer online role-playing game Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning will sell 650,000 units in the 13 days after its September 18 release. Such a launch would be on par with Funcom's Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures, which sold 400,000 units in the week after its release. That said, EA probably hopes that Warhammer Online's subscriber base won't flatline like Age of Conan, which added only 15,000 subscribers in four months after its launch.