EA's share price dropped more than 4% after analysts predicted that its latest shooter Titanfall 2's sales will be "substantially disappointing" and bad enough to offset Battlefield 1 sales. Research firm Cowen & Company released a report, downgrading the value of EA shares and cutting its sales forecast for Titanfall 2 from its previously forecast 9 million to between 5 and 6 million copies.
The publisher was initially expecting Titanfall 2 to sell 1 million copies while Battlefield 1 was expected to ship 15 million copies within their first year.
Released on 28 September, Titanfall 2 has been receiving positive reviews so far as a promising addition to the franchise. However, analysts are concerned that the timing of the game's launch could affect sales.
"We think the game got squeezed between Battlefield 1 and [Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare]," analyst Doug Creutz said. "We suspect EA believed that by launching two shooters next to Call of Duty it could put a large dent in its biggest competitor, but instead EA appears to have wound up shooting its own foot off."
Regarding Battlefield 1 sales, the firm bumped up its sales projections from 14 million to 16.5 million copies.
EA will report its earnings for the latest financial period on 1 November.
During an investor relations call in May, EA chief executive Andrew Wilson said that releasing Titanfall 2 one week apart from its historic shooter Battlefield 1 would strengthen the company's position in the shooter genre, rather than "cannibalise" the sales of both games.
"There is a very broad and diverse set of players who play games in that category who are looking for - to fulfill different game play motivations," Wilson said. "Some people play very quick play, some people play more strategic, some people want both in different context.
"We feel we have a really strong position to deliver the broader set of gameplay mechanics as it relates to the first-person shooter genre across two titles. I feel very confident that we are well positioned to do very well in that category in the year."
EA CFO Blake Jorgensen said that Titanfall 2 had "evolved substantially from the first Titanfall" and the company was confident that the title will outsell its predecessor. Since Titanfall 2 was releasing on all platforms - PS4, Xbox One and PC - Jorgensen said the audience for the game will certainly be bigger. However, the attach rate probably won't be as high as with the first Titanfall since it was one of the first AAA titles for the new Xbox One, he noted.
During the Titanfall 2 review event, Respawn producer Drew McCoy told PlayStation Lifestyle that he was unsure where the decision regarding the sci-fi game's release date came from, but that it was cemented "a long time ago."
"I actually don't know where the decision came from," McCoy admitted. "I just know it was locked in a long time ago and there was no changing it.
"I'm not really worried about it... At the end of the day, we're releasing a game that we're happy with, and we enjoy playing, that we're proud of. As long we we're doing that, I think we're gonna find an audience. It doesn't really matter when it comes out. A good game gets noticed."
Titanfall 2 is out now for PS4, Xbox One and PC.