As everyone predicted based on its release date and the number of players online on any given platform, Titanfall 2 wasn’t a breakout hit.
Electronic Arts said today that the sci-fi shooter from developer Respawn Entertainment didn’t perform as well as it was expecting. The publisher noted that some of its other games outperformed its predictions, and that helped offset Titanfall 2 somewhat. EA didn’t provide numbers for how many copies of Titanfall 2 it sold or what it was estimating prior to release, but Morgan Stanley analysts said it believes that the game surpassed 4 million copies sold compared to 15 million for Battlefield 1.
The publisher did not provide any reasoning for why Titanfall 2 didn’t meet expectations, but fans likely won’t hesitate to return to a popular theory that the game suffered because EA launched it a week after Battlefield 1 and a week before Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare.
In the heart of the holiday gaming season last year, EA debuted Battlefield 1 on October 21 following a massive marketing campaign. The company then rolled out Titanfall 2 on October 28. A week later, Activision debuted Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare on November 4. All three games are shooters, and Call of Duty and Battlefield ended the year as the top two best-selling releases of 2016 in the United States, respectively, according to industry intelligence firm The NPD Group.
While EA did not address that theory during its most recent financial conference call, chief executive officer Andrew Wilson has previously provided his thoughts on that idea.
“We think there’s really three types of players,” Wilson explained back in November. “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 will really orient in that direction; and the player that just has to play the two greatest shooters this year and will buy both.”
Today’s revelation that Titanfall 2 did not sell as well as EA was expecting seems an admission that EA miscalculated how those three kinds of players would ensure a successful launch for Respawn’s shooter. Of course, the fan community for Titanfall 2 had a hunch from the beginning that the game was going to have a rough time based on its release date, and that led to a Glixel interview with Respawn boss Vince Zampella in November where writer Chris Sullentrop asked if fans should expected a third Titanfall.
“We don’t know yet,” Zampella told Glixel. “The game is, critically, a huge success. We’re really happy with all the reviews and the positive sentiment. Sales, it’s too early to tell. We’d definitely like to tell more of the story and the universe. I think it’s pretty safe to assume that we’ll explore more of it. EA might have announced more.”
At this point in the interview, Zampella prompted EA publicist Devin Bennett, who was sitting in on the conversation, for official input from the publisher. Bennett echoed EA’s company line that it is “committed to the franchise.”
To which Zampella famously replied, “So, whatever the fuck that means.”
Now, it’s several months later, and gamers are probably still unclear about what EAs committment means for Titanfall.