EA Dooms Titanfall 2 By Making It Compete With Its Own Game
Fall is the hot time of the year for big game releases. It’s when heavy hitting franchises like Activision’s Call of Duty and EA’s Battlefield typically come out. This October, though, EA smelled blood in the digital water. Fan anticipation for their new Battlefield game, set in the First World War, was running high, while Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare had launched a widely-reviled trailer that went on to become the most-disliked video ever on YouTube.
Hoping to take a bigger piece of the first-person shooter pie, EA decided to schedule Titanfall 2 along with Battlefield 1 for release against Infinite Warfare. Titanfall 2, a lesser-known franchise about jumping in and out of giant robots, wound up coming out right between the two big legacy shooters, just a week after the launch of Infinite Warfare, and the results were pretty predictable: Most players opted for the games they knew more about and ignored Titanfall 2.
Industry analysts almost immediately noted that Titanfall 2’s sales would be “substantially disappointing,” with Cowen & Company revising their sales forecast down from around 9 million copies to between 5 and 6 million. “We suspect EA believed that by launching two shooters next to Call of Duty it could put a large dent in its biggest competitor,” the firm wrote in their report, “but instead EA appears to have wound up shooting its own foot off.”
This isn’t just bad news for EA. As with Battleborn, a consistently high player population is crucial for a multiplayer shooter like Titanfall 2 to survive. If few people buy the game, that means there will be fewer people to play with for everyone who has purchased it. Longer wait times in game lobbies can discourage players from even logging in, and there are plenty of options out there for multiplayer shooters. Titanfall 2’s player community could easily crater, just because the game’s publisher wanted it on shelves to compete with Activision. And that’s a real shame, because Titanfall 2 is an insanely good game.
To add insult to injury, EA’s official Battlefield Twitter account started a truly cringe-worthy hashtag campaign to promote the game, #JustWW1things. Some EA marketing genius thought it would be fun to post a screenshot of a soldier using a flamethrower with the caption “When you’re too hot for the club.” The tweets were later deleted, and EA issued an apology. Via Kotaku:
We would like to apologize for any offense caused by content in the last 24 hours posted on the @Battlefield Twitter account. It did not treat the World War 1 era with the respect and sensitivity that we have strived to maintain with the game and our communications.
We apologize for any offense taken to content posted earlier. It was not at all our intent to show any lack of respect to the WW1 era.
— Battlefield (@Battlefield) October 31, 2016
Marketing! What a bunch of scamps.