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Battlefield 5 Fails To Meet Sales Targets, And EA Explains Why

The game sold 7.3 million units in about two months, and that was below expectations.


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.

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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.

You can read Wilson's full comments on Battlefield 5's performance below.

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.

Wilson's statement on Battlefield 5 performance:

"We made some decisions on launch timing and key features of this game that we felt would improve the quality of the experience. For context, Battlefield V was designed from the beginning to offer a long-term live service. In August, we determined that we needed some more time for final adjustments to the core gameplay to fully deliver on the potential of the live service, so we moved the ship date to November to accommodate those goals. Unfortunately, the later release date meant the game launched deeper into a competitive holiday window where heavy price discounting was a big factor. In addition, we also made the decision to prioritize other features, including a single-player experience, at launch over a battle royale mode. This year, battle royale modes became incredibly popular in shooter games. As a result of these decisions, we struggled to gain momentum and we did not met our sales expectations for the quarter."

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