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UK boxed charts: Disappointing debut for Star Wars Battlefront II

EA's blockbuster shooter down 50% compared with Battlefield 1

Star Wars Battlefront II's Week One boxed sales in the UK were significantly lower than anticipated.

UK retailers told GamesIndustry.biz last month that the new Star Wars game will sell more than Battlefield 1.

However, first week sales are more than 50% down compared with last year's shooter. The boxed sales figures are also down 61% compared with 2015's Star Wars Battlefront.

The disappointing sales follows controversy and anger related to the game's microtransaction model, which EA pulled from the game last minute. It's unclear how much that debacle will have impacted first week sales, although the comparisons are inevitable.

Digital will have made up for some of that drop-off (based on the performance of other games this year). Although, based on EA's digital figures, that won't be enough to make up for the shortfall

55% of Battlefront II's sales were on PS4, 44% on Xbox One and 1% on PC (PC is a primarily digital market).

As a result, Battlefront II only made No.2 (in units, it did make No.1 in terms of revenue). It failed to knock Call of Duty: WWII off its perch, which is still performing very well and is about to hit a major sales milestone after just three weeks. Indeed, it took last year's Infinite Warfare 7 weeks to achieved what WWII has done in just three.

The other big games this week were the updated versions of last year's Pokémon 3DS games - Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon.

It's difficult to compare these 3DS games to last year's titles, because they're more extensive updates than entirely original products. Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon's sales are 74% lower than last year's titles. Perhaps a fairer comparison is with 2012's Black and White 2, which were sequels to a previous game, released on ageing hardware (back then, the DS). In comparison to those products, Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon sales are up 32.4%. Of course, digital has grown significantly since then, and this only factors in physical sales.

Ultra Sun sold more than Ultra Moon, with the two games making No.4 and No.5 respectively. If sales had been combined, the titles would have been the third best-selling game of the week.

Other new releases this week includes The Sims 4, making its debut at No.7 on PS4 and Xbox One. LA Noire is back at No.8. The remastered version sold best on PS4 (51% of sales), followed by Xbox One (28%) and then Nintendo Switch (20%).

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 makes a debut just inside the Top Ten at No.10, but expect that game to hang around for months and months.

The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim VR on PS4 is at No.19, while the Switch version debuts at No.26.

Here's the UKIE/GfK Top Ten for the week ending November 18th:

Last WeekThis WeekTitle
New Entry1Call of Duty: WWII
New Entry2Star Wars Battlefront II
23FIFA 18
New Entry4 Pokémon Ultra Sun
New Entry5 Pokémon Ultra Sun
36Assassin's Creed Origins
New Entry7The Sims 4
New Entry8LA Noire Remastered
69Super Mario Odyssey
New Entry10LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2

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Latest comments (3)

Felix Argyle Programmer & Artist, Satsuma Droid26 days ago
The first Battlefront was released on Tuesday, which gave it a whole week to collect sales for the UK sales chart, and Battlefront 2 was released on Friday, leaving it only 1 day to collect sales. Maybe this explains it a bit.
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 26 days ago
Star Wars Battlefront 1 was released on a Tuesday in 2015.
Battlefield 1 also released on a Friday last year.

Hard to tell what is due to digital and what is due to inconvenient public discourse. Not that it stopped people from buying other EA games it seems.
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The issue is they have removed the option to buy currency in-game but this does not change the basic design of the game which is geared to progression via boxes, now everyone just has to earn the boxes, but as it was designed to be punitive to those who do earn boxes in-game in order to encourage sales of in-game currency, this does not change the paytowin feel, indeed in some ways those who paid to win early are reaping the rewards, whilst everyone else is experiencing the excessive grind for progression via manual unlocking which the games progression system was designed to provide to those not buying credits.

Its this excessively grindy progression which is the real issue with the game, the primary bugbear of those who play it, and simply removing the option to buy credits just leaves everyone stuck in the same sense of grind, it does not improve the game for well anyone.

Given the late stage of development, What they should have done is left the buy for credits option in, and re-balanced free progression to make it more rewarding.

Were it an earlier stage of development they should frankly have never designed it around these principals in the first place, lootboxes are poison and shouldn't be included in any game as the only means of progression and if included at all need to be handled carefully best used for cosmetics, no gameplay or features should be hidden behind them, however SW could easily have provided in-game purchases for revenue without ruining the gameplay ie sans controversy and sans negative publicity and word of mouth hurting sales of which both pre-sales and opening weeks sales are especially sensitive to.

SW is especially compatible to selling in-game cosmetics, they could have provided all kinda of costumes for characters for cash, whilst those paying the base price just gets say 3 (1 as pre-order bonus, 1 as default, 1 as achievement unlockable) they could have made any further such options paid, if they were going to touch lootboxes they could also as well as selling the cosmetics people want directly have some exclusive items that can only be unlocked via lootboxes as well as random unlocks when opening said box, that way they'd have a whale feeding grounds to attract the whales, without harming ordinary customers, or putting them off the game entirely, its one thing to lootbox a free to play game up to the eyeballs, not particularly pleasant for the users but hardly unheard of but quite another to try to lootbox a triple-a game with triple-a pricetag up to the same level as a f2p game, the two models are not compatible.

Its possible to attract extra income without ruining the core experience, and also has anyone considered weapons expansions, just because theyre no longer going to have "expansions" so the entire community can play together and not be separated out by their choice of expansions, selling packs of weapons and cosmetics even providing different vehicle options as part of a "content expansion" (dont make them more powerful just provide different gameplay styles) along with new maps for everyone would not separate out the playerbase and still provide a more traditional post-release revenue stream, gaining post-release sales (and release sales for that matter) is not a switch where you have to make it full f2p lootboxes or no monetisation, its possible for both sides to meet in the middle, companies like EA are far to likely flip-flip between extremes when they should be experimenting with finding a middle ground.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Alexander McConnell on 20th November 2017 8:41pm

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