EA blames transition to new consoles for lacklustre sales of Battlefield 4, not quality issues

EA blames poor sales of Battlefield 4 on console transition

In EA’s recent earnings call, the publisher addressed the lower than expected sales of Battlefield 4, pinning the blame almost solely on the transition from the last generation of consoles to the new one.

“[W]e obviously saw some decline in current-gen software that wasn’t picked up by the increased anticipation that gamers have in the sales thereof of next-gen,” stated EA COO Peter Moore before denying that the sales figures had anything to do with “quality issues”. 

In early November, the game was suffering from frequent server crashes, so much so that DICE ended up having to compensate players for not being able to play several weeks later.In December, DICE had to drop everything to deal with the increasing problems the game was having. An EA spokesperson stated that “We know we still have a ways to go with fixing the game” and “We know many of our players are frustrated, and we feel their pain. We will not stop until this is right.”

You just couldn’t talk about Battlefield 4 without mentioning the bugs, the instabilityor the lawsuits. But this had nothing to do with lacklustre sales, apparently.

CEO Andrew Wilson briefly mentions the problems with Battlefield 4, which they heard about from “some players,” which is less than a lot of players. “Shortly after Battlefield 4 went live, we began hearing from some players in the community who were experiencing issues with the game. The Battlefield team acted swiftly to address the issues through game updates, and they continue to make refinements as part of our live service to ensure a great game experience for all Battlefield 4 players.”

Blake Jorgenson, EA’s CFO, noted that other EA titles suffered because of the console transition, too. “The industry showed signs of current-gen software market weakness in the third quarter, and in December, the U.S. NPD results reflected that trend with PS3 and Xbox 360 software sales declining 35% versus the prior year. Our quarterly results were negatively impacted by this trend, and some of our key titles, such as Battlefield 4, FIFA 14 and Need for Speed Rivals came in below our expectation for current-gen revenues.”

As PC sales go, EA seems to be quite happy, with full game downloads adding $113 million, a 157% increase since last year. EA says this was mainly driven by Battlefield 4 launching on PC during the quarter. And the issues don’t seem to have stopped Premium Memberships from selling, with 1.6 million people jumping in.