Earlier this year, many were surprised to find out that the Battlefield 1 and Titanfall 2 release dates were just weeks apart from one another. When many suggested that the two EA-published shooters could end up ‘cannibalizing’ each other’s sales, EA said that it was not concerned since the shooter genre of the games industry is worth $4.5 billion and that there’s a “broad and diverse set of players” to cater to. There were still doubts from fans and critics, but clearly, the publisher wasn’t going to change its mind.
Following the news that Titanfall 2‘s sales have been disappointing, with many pointing to Battlefield 1‘s proximity as the culprit, EA has again defended its release date schedule. During the company’s latest financial call, EA CEO Andrew Wilson explained that “there’s really three types of players,” including “people that really love Battlefield and that kind of big strategic gameplay that will orient in that direction; the player that loves the fast, fluid, kinetic gameplay of Titanfall 2 that really orient in that direction; and the player that just has to play the two greatest shooters this year and will buy both.”
Wilson also added that “we believe they both will have a long sale cycle, both this quarter through the festive season and deep into the years to come. And so as we think about the long game on this, we couldn’t be in a better position for what we think is delivering great games to a very, very big player base.” This line of thinking was echoed elsewhere in the call as EA confirmed that it is committed to the Titanfall franchise.
While it was always unlikely that EA would criticize its own decision making (publicly, at least), the decision not just to pit its games against each other, but also against Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, can be seen as a cautionary tale. This week, Respawn Entertainment producer Drew McCoy revealed that the Titanfall 2 release date was “locked in a long time ago and there was no way of changing it,” but perhaps EA will be more flexible in future to avoid similar conflicts. After all, the publisher has said that it would delay a game like Mass Effect: Andromeda by ‘months’ if it wasn’t ready, so it would make fine sense for EA to delay a title to give it the very best shot at sales success.
Sources: GameSpot, PlayStation Lifestyle