EA has defended Star Wars Battlefront’s launch sales after US retail giant GameStop claimed the game had “underperformed”. Earlier this week, GameStop president Tony Bartel told investors that a number of key November release games had sold less units than the company expected.
“We’re not going to quantify it in terms of actual numbers,” Bartel said, “but we had high expectations that diminished somewhat as it got closer and it failed to hit those lowered expectations.”
Star Wars Battlefront was one of the three titles highlighted, along with Assassin’c Creed Syndicate and Halo 5.
Speaking to their own investors, EA’s Peter Moore said GameStop’s comments came as a surprise.
“[GameStop’s] comments were interesting and little bit of a surprise to us particularly as the CFO in the call then started to correct the COO [Bartel] as the call went on,” said Moore. “So from our perspective I’m here to reaffirm our guidance of 13m units sold in for the fiscal year.”
This figure of 13 million units is itself an increase from the 10 million units EA had originally predicted prior to the software’s launch, with the publisher banking on the “marketing beats” and “in particular the movie launch over the next two weeks” to boost sales.
Interestingly, outlined in a GameSpot report, industry analyst Doug Creutz suggested that “the average underperformance vs. [GameStop’s] expectations is really being driven by an acceleration of digital downloads.”
Maybe this report will spur the bricks-and-mortar giant to explore the digital realm, or maybe they’ll attempt to bury their heads for a few more years.