With the year coming to a close, no one can deny that 2016 has been a very memorable year for gaming, to say the least. You have the fiasco that was No Man’s Sky, indie developers threatening to sue what is essentially the entire Internet for writing mean (and some would say well deserved) comments, the fizzling out of the Virtual Reality and Pokemon GO craze, and plenty of other fascinating events that the Internet remembered for a couple of weeks until the next big thing arrived. Of all of the shenanigans that took place this year in the gaming industry, however, Titanfall 2‘s horribly mismanaged release will likely stand out as a case study of why common sense is seemingly not as common as it should be.
By all accounts, Titanfall 2 is a game that did almost everything right, or at least on paper. It addressed most of the criticisms of the first game, it has a decent single-player campaign, and its mechanics make it a strong competitor to all of the Halos, Battlefields, and Call of Dutys that make up the multiplayer shooter market. Furthermore, the game’s developer, Respawn Entertainment, has committed to the increasingly popular cosmetic micotransaction/free DLC model with their Angel City update. And as if that wasn’t enough, Titanfall 2 came out on all of the major platforms, proving to be (according to VG Chartz at least) surprisingly popular on the PS4. The game’s subreddit (if it’s any indicator of success) has even shown a more impressive subscriber growth than Battlefield 1’s subreddit since their games’ respective release dates, with the former expanding by roughly 50% (from around 37,500 to 57,300 subscribers) while the latter only grew by some 20% (from around 72,000 to 88,000 subscribers).
Despite all of its strengths, however, it is widely accepted that Titanfall 2 is not selling as well as it could have, even with whatever help it got from the various Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales. Needless to say, most would point their fingers at the game’s publisher, EA, for not only sandwiching the game’s release date between two other AAA shooters during a holiday season, but for also providing virtually no marketing compared to Battlefield 1. It wouldn’t take much to convince those that are prone to believing in conspiracies that EA is actually threatened by Titanfall’s success and wants to smother it so that Battlefield reigns supreme over all other FPSs; though, you can just as easily attribute the poor release support to incompetency.
In all fairness, releasing Titanfall 2 early to avoid the usual barrage of holiday games would’ve been pretty detrimental, though there’s nothing that really prevented EA from releasing the game sometime in say, February or March (in theory at least). After all, it would be pretty odd for any publisher to intentionally cause a game to fail despite all signs pointing to it potentially selling millions of copies. If nothing else, credit has to be given to Respawn Entertainment for creating a game that, thanks in part to positive word of mouth, has survived a hectic holiday season that would’ve buried any other game, demonstrating that a good game is hard to keep down as long as a large enough fan base is dedicated enough to see it succeed.More About This Game