Revealed earlier this year, Battlefield V was a point of controversy for some time. Some argued that the game was inauthentic to WWII, while others complained about the lack of content at launch. As a result, the game sold nowhere near as well as expected.
According to Seeking Alpha, Battlefield V sold an estimated 13 to 14 million units on both console and PC. This is down from 2016’s Battlefield 1, which sold approximately 15 million units. On console, the game lost to AAA experiences such as Red Dead Redemption 2, Fifa 19, and Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII, regarding November’s total gross. Fortnite beat the game on both platforms, with even Fallout 76 topping Battlefield V on console reports SuperData.
Bethesda’s latest was still under franchise benchmarks, however. Fallout 76 hit an estimated 1.4 million digital units - down from Fallout 4’s - and the title didn’t even make the top ten grossing PC games during its launch month. In fact, digital games spending is down 1% from last year, with customers only spending $9.05 billion on titles in November.
Destiny 2’s long-awaited Forsaken expansion, which launched in September to generally positive reviews, has had its boost wear off already. Player engagement is back down to pre-Forsaken levels, and Superdata estimates DLC content revenue has dropped 63% from last year.
Even Rainbow Six: Siege has taken a hit. While Ubisoft’s powerhouse had a significant year, DLC content revenue had its biggest decline of all this November. Overall, revenue dropped 33% after a smaller decline the month before. However, this is due to the release of AAA games like Red Dead.
Electronic Arts shares have fallen 45% since July, hitting a 52 week low. The drop is mostly thanks to Battlefield V’s lack of sales despite reviewing well. At E3 this year, EA’s chief design officer Patrick Söderlund responded to some of the negativity surrounding the game during an interview with Gamasutra:
These are people who are uneducated—they don't understand that this is a plausible scenario, and listen: this is a game… There are a lot of female people who want to play, and male players who want to play as a badass [woman]… We stand up for the cause, because I think those people who don't understand it, well, you have two choices: either accept it or don't buy the game.
Battlefield V is currently 33-50% off at retailers, in large part due to holiday discounts, but the discounting is fairly aggressive for a new release from Electronic Arts. Also, analysts are dropping EA’s 2019 revenue predictions from $2.2 billion to $1.8 billion. Yet it’s possible they’re being pessimistic over Battlefield’s low sales, especially given the fact that the various release dates may have impacted their analysis, as might have Origin Access Premiere providing access. We won’t know factual data until January, but we should expect “downward revenue revisions” from analysts.