Battlefield V did not meet EA’s sales expectations due to a competitive release window, a lack of battle royale, and a poorly executed marketing campaign, according to a recent EA earnings call.
EA’s Q3 FY2019 earnings call revealed that Battlefield V‘s 7.3 million sales since it launched in November 2018 were about a million short of what the publisher anticipated. Not only that, but Battlefield V was meant to be a driving factor for Origin Access Premier subscriptions, which also fell below expectations.
EA CFO Blake Jorgensen said during the call that the game’s holiday season release window and its subsequent discounts proved to be a little too competitive for the full-priced first-person shooter. The decision to prioritize the single-player War Stories campaign over Battlefield V‘s upcoming battle royale mode, Firestorm, “also hurt sales,” according to Jorgensen.
However, EA’s top brass also copped to the fact that Battlefield V‘s marketing campaign didn’t do the game any favors, either. According to CEO Andrew Wilson, Battlefield V‘s marketing campaign got off to a “poor start.” Wilson went on to say that EA “failed to come to a true creative center of a [marketing] campaign that was compelling for players.” In essence, it “took too long” for Battlefield V‘s marketing to truly click with the general public, and by the time it did, other titles like Red Dead Redemption 2 and Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 already resonated more strongly with players. The fact that former chief design director Patrick Söderlund told players who were upset about the prominence of female characters to either “accept it or don’t buy it” probably didn’t help sales, even if it did help maintain Battlefield V as the more inclusionary title that DICE wanted to put out there.
The lack of sales might cause fans to worry that EA won’t continue to support the title, despite the fact that both its publisher and its developer promoted its Tides of War live service as a long-term commitment. EA’s messaging on this issue wasn’t entirely reassuring, but it wasn’t all bad, either. Wilson said that EA is being “cautious” with Battlefield V‘s live services and that it doesn’t want to “put too much revenue in until we really see that revenue,” but that it will “continue to support the game into the next fiscal year. Firestorm’s ability to bring in new players and motivate the purchase of microtransactions could have a major impact on the game’s overall shelf life.
On the plus side, the Battlefield franchise is still incredibly strong. According to the call, Battlefield 1 still has 4 million monthly active players and Battlefield 4—which launched more than 5 years ago—still has 2 million. Even if Battlefield V underperformed, the series as a whole still seems to claim one of EA’s healthiest player bases.
As for Firestorm, when asked whether Apex Legends‘ surprise release will negatively impact Battlefield V‘s battle royale chances, Wilson sees them as “two very different types of experiences” that can peacefully coexist within the battle royale genre’s “hundreds of millions” of players.
The “strategic play, the vehicle play, the things [that] are unique to a Battlefield battle royale mode will offer differentiation of play for a different part of [the battle royale] community,” Wilson said.