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EA Sports MMA is 'dead on arrival' at retail

New fighter not likely to become franchise; MoH, Madden 11 also disappoint

The latest sports game from EA is dead on arrival at retail, according to Doug Creutz of Cowan & Company, who also comes down hard on the performance of a number of recent releases from the publisher.

While the company is likely to meet expectations for the full year, Creutz pointed to lacklustre performances of EA Sports MMA, Medal of Honor and Madden 11 - with FIFA 11 the only positive seller from a pack of high-profile releases.

"Medal of Honor earned weak reviews, and we expect sales post the launch period to decline precipitously (particularly once Call of Duty: Black Ops hits retail)," noted Creutz.

"EA's recently released MMA appears to be more or less DOA at retail, while UFC recently announced an extension of its license with THQ, likely putting an end to EA's efforts to expand into the mixed martial arts genre."

EA Sports MMA entered the UK charts this week at number 23. The first iteration of THQ's rival UFC franchise sold very well, but the most recent release hasn't lived up to expectations, with the publisher deciding against annual updates.

Earlier this month EA announced that FIFA 11 sold over 2.6 million units in its first week, while Medal of Honor sold 1.5 million units in five days.

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Latest comments (17)

Maarten Brands10 years ago
Please, no more articles quoting 'analysts' on ridiculous company valuations, industry trends that never materialize, sales forecasts etc. All these guys have a PR or business agenda and seldom any track record that would indicate they are experts on the subject.

Remember all those forecasts on the spectacular growth of in-game advertising, year on year retail sales growth, virtual worlds, mobile gaming, the decline of Nintendo? How visionary those all turned out to be huh?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Maarten Brands on 26th October 2010 2:25pm

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Terence Gage Freelance writer 10 years ago
Firstly, I think it's a little too soon to be positing the future of the MMA series when the first one has been on the shelf a matter of days. For all we know, perhaps it'll get excellent word of mouth and turn out to be a slow-burner, or benefit radically from some price cuts and stay in the chart for months on end.

Further, I haven't seen sales projections for Madden 11, but Medal of Honor was doing very well post-launch, and I suspect it will clear 4-5 million sales easily. Only the foolish would have genuinely expected it might challenge CoD, but EA themselves have said they're in it for the long haul, so there's plenty of time to grow and evolve.

I do suspect The Sims 3 will disappoint though - there doesn't seem to have been any hype for it, and I think it's out next week.
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game10 years ago
Ok. MMA didn't light the charts on fire. But the analyst saying Medal of Honor has sold loads, but we expect it to drop off? How about you wait to see if it does drop off?

Bearing in mind the analyst hit rate of actually getting things right, why does anyone put stock in there opinions?
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Show all comments (17)
Erlend Grefsrud Creative Director, Strongman Games Ltd.10 years ago
Because speculators rely on them to shift stocks quickly, I guess. Plus the obvious PR -- since the financial industry is seen as some bastion of objectivity, it is assumed that they have good reasons for making their projections.
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Matthew Perkins Games Critic 10 years ago
Is this based solely on UK sales? Madden did as expected in the US, and is a game that always moves units during Christmas.

Also, Medal of Honor moving 1.5 million in 5 days almost guarantees a sequel. This entire article makes very little sense. I myself had no idea EA MMA was out yet, and I don't see them abandoning it. If anything, the biggest EA blunder of the year is NBA Elite.
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Yiannis Koumoutzelis Founder & Creative Director, Neriad Games10 years ago
No analyst predicted the rise of Zynga.

The market is very volatile and everything lies in the hands of gamers.
I do not think anyone can predict\project what will happen the next year.

Did anyone expect\predicted that angry birds would be the top selling game on iphone?
or that it would become a multi-platform title?

Do not underestimate the power of the gaming community which is unpredictable.
This is the most powerful wild card today.

When gamers find value in a title at a satisfactory level they will support it, invest
their money and time in it, and expect the developer to deliver improvements
in a reasonable amount of time based on the complexity of the task judging from
previous experience, as well as more transparent interactions with the developers.

If they feel that there was no honest effort from the developer's side to provide
quality content, and lack of sincerity in their interactions, they simply move on
and do not waste their precious time and money.
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@Erland - all true, I'm sure it also has much to do with bored journalists having blank pages to fill and an inbox stuffed with rumour-mongering emails from analysts marked "World changing scoop - if true"
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Christopher Willis10 years ago
I honestly would be paying more attention to EA's cash drain title SW:ToR. If that game fails, then it is going to make EA not only look bad but it will probably hurt EA financially.

I really hope ToR doesn't end up like Waterworld did. Kevin Costner and others put hundreds of millions into this film a decade ago, which flopped hard intitially, and barely broke even with worldwide sells. The entertainment industry is a strange monster; There have been games I would have thought would do well and end up suffering.

Then again there probably are 1 million hardcore Star Wars fans in the world who will easily pay the monthly rate no matter what. I say this because as many of you know EA has said they need 1 million subs to just break even. Not sure if it still is 1 million, or if that number has been adjusted.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Christopher Willis on 26th October 2010 6:05pm

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George Chubinidze E-Commerce specialist/Freelance journalist 10 years ago
I agree as well, its too early to talk about decline of MoH as it was just launched. Plus. I do not understand who gave MoH week review when game is definitely success. And they are called 'analysts'!
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Grant Smythe Editor in Chief / Owner 10 years ago
Analyst have an agenda . . . feed the stockmarket trolls, just like fanboys feed the forum/blog trolls on the gaming sites.

But sadly, like Metacritic, stockholders follow their 'estimates' and 'well founded assumptions' and invest their futures in their holly words.

Thing is, a huge number of these 'experts' rarely play games, if at all, and simply look at basic figures, and rule of the human factor. Which, as in all things dealing with human emotion and predictability, precarious at best.

While we take no real heed in their predictions, sadly those investors do, which helps drive their input into the various companies $$ income for future game development and publishing. These analysts could well do with having a gaming sidekick to help them understand the 'actual' industry better, and thus probably be much more accurate, and thus help drive more $$'s into the publishers and developers hands to help fund more new IP's and more PR money for titles other than the known AAA's.

Thus increasing public awareness, and thus ideally increasing the likelihood of greater sales across the board.
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Konrad Adamczewski Journalist, PSX Extreme10 years ago
MMA is very solid game, so I think the sales will incrase when the price will drop. I hope so, because the "MMA genre" needs competition. THQ can't be the one, who delivers fighting sports games. I would be a disaster to not have a competition.
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Jamie Watson Studying Bachelor of Games & Interactive Entertainment, Queensland University of Technology10 years ago
i love it how people say game xyz will fail even though some games just dont have the fanbase (but a small and dedicated one) so they say the game will flop.....

this is the reason why i dont beleive analysits but instead used demos and playing the game (though thinks like betas) to judge weather its a worthly buy...
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Jon Irenicus OCAS 10 years ago
i dont know, but i played demo of MMA and until got fully in game controll, it wasnt very fun. Often i was lying on another men and trying to find his week spot by turning thumbstick, i felt bet gayish and bored:-)
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Kevin Mcsherry studio manager, FreeStyleGames10 years ago
These "Analysts" seem to keep predicting the same easy thing to predict. Here's the formula: take any big games publisher, completely ignore their biggest title, instead focus on the 3rd or 4th ip they launch this year - it's probably got a reasonable marketing budget so most of the industry is aware of it - then completely slam it within 1-2 days of release. Hey presto - "failed product" headlines, worried retailers and a Lower stock market valuation. It's almost a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Analysts - please prove your knowledge of our industry and your value to it by predicting some success stories. Who knows, you might even help sustain the industry you "analyse".
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 10 years ago
I wonder just how many of these "Analysts" actually PLAY THE GAMES they're micro-over-analyzing? Reminds me of the press event I went to a few years back where I overheard one analyst keep taking about how well the "Hero Guitar" franchise was doing and how he saw it going on for a long time. I wanted to strangle him on the spot, but a few free drinks kept me from leaping across the room (well, in a straight line)...

Puffing up and down a company's stocks based on the ramblings of an overpaid Fortune 500-teller reeks of ethical toiletry in my book. Trying to predict doomsday when ANY game doesn't perform like a Vegas hooker within a few days of launch (or like a weekend blockbuster !!!BOOM!!! goes the midnight launch!!!) is stupid. Who pays these boobs anyway (and can I get these jokers removed because they're too big and fake)?

Good games (hell, any games) need time and word of mouth (outside of most major game review sites, in terms of niche titles) to gather a proper audience. Sadly, we're in this ADD stage where if you don't move a skrillion units within three days of launch and a game isn't scoring 196% aggregated on Metacrtic, game company stocks drop (*Oh Nooooooes!*) and another studio closes before it has time to patch the product that whip got cracked on it to rush out the door.

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Private VIdeo Games 10 years ago
EA MMA was always pretty much going to be DOA, people watch and like *UFC* in the mainstream not MMA.

There's loads of good MMA shows which are far better than most of the UFC cards of late but they have no exposure and no-one cares. UFC has the market for now and will continue as such for the forseeable future.

MMA/UFC game sales are just an offshoot of that, I'll pick EA MMA up when it's $30 in a month :)
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@Christopher Willis it's 2m actually.
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