The reports and speculation that Battlefield V didn't meet sales expectations were true, but that disappointment applies to publisher Electronic Arts as a whole. Just as the publisher surprise-drops the new battle royale game Apex Legends from developer Respawn Entertainment, so to does the game company release its third quarter fiscal year financials.
And it's not too hot. CEO Andrew Wilson explained to shareholders that “Q3 was a difficult quarter for Electronic Arts and we did not perform to our expectations," and reiterated that they're going to double-down on games with long-term live services. FIFA remains a flagship highlight for EA, and Wilson expressed excitement for new Plants vs. Zombies and Need for Speed games later this year, alongside Respawn's other big game, Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order.
Now we know why they released Apex Legends when they did, despite its potential to cannibalize player attention from BioWare's Anthem which releases in less than two weeks, and certainly, from EA's other battle royale, Firestorm which is the delayed multiplayer mode coming to Battlefield V.
According to Ars Technica, during the earnings call EA COO and CFO Blake Jorgensen blasted into their chief disappointments, that being a drop in mobile revenue, and lowered results for BFV. He reveals that Battlefield V sold a million copies less than forecasted (for a total of 7.3 million copies solid) and attributes the miss due to the game launching without its own battle royale mode.
As we've noted however, since positively reviewing the core Battlefield V experience, is how rushed the game was. BFV launched with only two years of development, a year less than its main Call of Duty competitor, Black Ops 4. As a result, Battlefield V was missing a map, cosmetic options, its four-player co-op mode, and its battle royale at launch and has been subject to bugs to this day. That forced release date is an EA problem, and that same sad story applies to DICE's two disappointing Battlefront games which EA failed on both accounts in part due to rushing those games to tie-in with the theatrical release dates for The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi.
What's interesting about the investors call is how not only are new PvZ and NFS games debuting this year, but so to is an unannounced Titanfall related project. Whether this is a mobile game, a VR game (Respawn has a deal with Oculus VR for a triple-A VR game), or some sort of remake, remains to be seen.
Microtransactions/loot boxes remain a big money maker for EA from the Ultimate Team modes in EA Sports titles. And as for the next big release, Anthem, EA said sales expectations are around 5-6 million units. As a result of the financial reports and earnings call, EA stock prices fell sharply, more than 14% during trading yesterday and ended down 13.3%, the largest single-day drop in a decade for the company.