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Battlefield 3 sales estimates up to 11m for first year

Star Wars: The Old Republic release expected in December

Analyst firm Cowen & Company is raising its first-year sales estimates for EA's Battlefield 3 from 8 million to 11 million.

The game, already benefiting from an extensive marketing campaign ahead of the October release, is seeing pre-order's "roughly comparable" to last's year's Call of Duty: Black Ops - a title that has so far sold over 20 million units worldwide.

Yesterday Electronic Arts began taking pre-orders for Star Wars: The Old Republic and announced a beta for September, ahead of a holiday release, causing shares in the publisher to take a slight dip.

"We would have expected this to be greeted as good news, since a 2012 launch appears unlikely, but the mildly negative reaction by ERTS shares yesterday suggests investor expectations for the game are quite high," commented Cowen & Company.

The firm now expects a launch for the anticipated MMO in December, rather than October.

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Latest comments (10)

Luke Salvoni Senior iOS Developer 9 years ago
"The firm now expects a launch for the anticipated MMO in December, rather than December."

So... which month? :)
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Matt Martin Editor, GamesIndustry.biz9 years ago
Sorry, release expected in December, rather than October (updated).
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Jordan Woodward Level Designer, Codemasters Birmingham9 years ago
Dying to play Battlefield 3 and SW:TOR. At least TOR will be expected to release this year and not in 2012.
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Show all comments (10)
December unlikely, late November is last call for this year IMHO
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John Karageorgiou consultant 9 years ago
Hoping that BF3 has sales on a par with CoD Black Ops, although this is being a tad optimistic. There will be many interesting "retail & sales comprisons" drawn between BF3 and CoD MW3 though - I will be supporting the underdog.
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Terence Gage Freelance writer 9 years ago
"Hoping that BF3 has sales on a par with CoD Black Ops"

I find that extremely unlikely - you realise Black Ops' sales are far beyond 20 million and it's the biggest selling game ever in North America and the UK? BF3 will do very well for itself but relatively speaking for most console gamers it's a bit of an unknown quantity whereas COD is a dependable and mass-market yearly release. I've no doubt that both will be very good games, and I think if BF3 sells even half the number of MW3 it will have done very well for itself.
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Jon Gregory Studying Comp Sci, University of North Carolina9 years ago
I think that the problem with Battlefield, that's going to keep it from matching CoD sales, is that the level of entry skill wise is a little higher than CoD as far as being strategic is concerned. That's not necessarily a bad thing though, from a gamer's standpoint I quite like that, it's just a sales conundrum. It's hard to sell people on BF games a few months after it has come out because if you play alone it can be brutal. A team full of randoms who don't know each other and don't communicate well is often steam rolled by a team with even one decent squad. It's a very team oriented game that requires a high level of skill in working with others in order to achieve a high level of success. Conversely, if you have a decent internet connection and reaction time you can compete by yourself and achieve a fairly high level of success just running and gunning. Rarely does one person carry a Battlefield team to a victory, while the killstreaks and more arcade style of Call of Duty is almost meant to allow the better players to distance themselves from even the people on their team by a wide margin. You also don't have to know how to deal with tanks, or air vehicles piloted by human pilots(Black Ops obviously excluded), or extremely complex maps. People with small friends lists, or who are more casual, are going to choose Call of Duty every time. I know I would.

Not to mention that due to a head start in the blockbuster advertising area Call of Duty is a household name amongst the younger generation, where as Battlefield is not. There's very few people who play BF and know of no other games. I know from experience that there are plenty of people who play Call of Duty and are completely oblivious to the fact that there is anything else worthwhile for their system of choice.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jon Gregory on 22nd July 2011 5:22pm

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John Hanrahan CEO and Co-Founder, Epicenter Gameplex9 years ago
I must concur with Mr. Jon on the age groups between BF3 and CoD MW3. The cartoon-ish CoD games will remain very popular with the younger generation and entry level gamers new to the multi-player genre. When online playing CoD there is clearly a lot more young voices playing the game. I believe BF3 will do very well and set new standards when it comes to multi-player competition and the age of gamers will be much older. Because of the economy and so many great game coming out this Xmas season most households will be limited to the games purchased for loved ones and CoD MW3 will be most likely picked over BF3 if a choice had to be made simply because of it's popularity and recognition. However, there is no small amount of hardcore gamers out there which will know the quality and difference between CoD and BF3 like myself. I will own both game but I can guarantee that 90% of my multi-player game time will be on the strategic level of game-play with BF3. Gamers hardcore or just core still like to play the latest and greatest with audio and visual technology which gives BF3 the greater advantage for CoD fans to slowly gravitate towards BF3 and escape from the redundancy that CoD is becoming. I agree that both games will do very well this season but CoD will need to step up it's game after BF3 is out and gamers get their paws on it because BF3 may not champion in sales over CoD but they will champion on all the other aspects of hardcore gaming over CoD.
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 9 years ago
The two games are always compared in regards to the complexity of their multiplayer, but is that really where most of the sales happen? I do not believe it. If you log onto steam and compare the percentage of players completing CoD with the percentage of players completing other games, you will find CoD has an above average ratio. Not the hallmark of a multiplayer game. So it is safe to say people will eventually play both titles, because there is more time in their lives than any single player campaign can fill up on its own.

Battlefield's "advantage" of being more complicated in multiplayer also has its fair share of drawbacks. BF never gives a damn how you learn to operate the vehicles properly. There is no way to train and players have to master complicated vehicle controls in 20s increments, which is very counter-productive both to your enjoyment and the chance of success for your team. In BC2, the aspect of having to unlock option for your character on the battlefield by grinding was as bad as it gets. Just take the medic, which was just another soldier you were forced to grind up for hours until you finally got an ability which set him apart from the rest.

Ultimately that is why CoD will draw the bigger crowd. What good are options programmed into a game, if the player has to jump through too many hoops to access them?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Klaus Preisinger on 23rd July 2011 7:43am

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James Finlan Studying Information Systems, University of Manchester9 years ago
EA are completely stupid, you don't launch a major MMO a few weeks after Diablo 3, CoD:ME3, Battelfield 3 etc... in what is one of the most stacked periods for PC games in a decade. Add into that all the major console releases such as Gears of War 3, it just doesn't make good business sense to go head to head with games that a huge proportion of gamers are going to want to play.

The smart move would have been to either go early, September or early October and get the impulse sales in early or go February instead and deliver a more polished experience. The later release would have still worked in their financials for 2011, avoided running into any serious competition and given them time to get the game absolutely right from day one.

EA being so shortsighted doesn't suprise me in the slightest though, the company seems to keep making one big mistake after another these days, especially with MMO's where they seem to have no logical strategy at all.
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