One of Electronic Arts’ biggest franchises may have had an even better holiday than many analysts were first expecting.
Morgan Stanley, a Wall Street financial firm, is raising its 2017 earnings forecast for EA by 3 percent based on the performance of the publisher’s World War I shooter Battlefield 1 and its mobile Star Wars game. Battlefield was so strong through EA’s fiscal third quarter and the gift-giving holidays, that Morgan Stanely now estimates that the game surpassed 15 million copies sold.
“We [are raising] our Battlefield fiscal-third-quarter unit estimate by 2.6 million to 15 million,” reads a note from Morgan Stanley’s analyst team. “[That’s] based on strong third-party data trends and our proprietary price tracker showing Battlefield was the second least discounted title this holiday season, which we view as a sign of strength.”
Battlefield was among the top-selling games of 2016 based on data from industry tracking firms like The NPD Group and GfK Chart-Track. The historical shooter was the No. 2 best-selling game in the United States, according to NPD (based on physical and some digital sales). It was only behind Activision’s Call of Duty, which once again topped the charts with the release of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. But despite once again failing to overtake Call of Duty — something that few industry analysts expected to happen — Battlefield is in a great position for EA.
“Battlefield’s outperformance this year sets up well for next year as it is likely to lead to higher digital map pack revenue,” explained Morgan Stanley analysts.
The financial firm is less enthusiastic about Titanfall 2, which it has at 4 million units sold. That was also Morgan Stanley’s initial estimate.