Battlefield V is the biggest title in Electronic Arts’ holiday catalog and it’s being shot to pieces by some game critics. That could impact sales. And that could cause more agita among investors.
Shares of EA were riding high four months ago. On July 18, the stock closed at $148.93. At midday Thursday, it was trading at $86.32—a 42% drop. The stock is up slightly for the day, but developer’s spirits may not be.
Variety calls it an “unfinished game,” while Polygon says it’s “a work in progress” and “more work needs to go into the core systems in place now”. Digital Trends, meanwhile, says Battlefield V “still has much of what made its predecessor great, but … there’s little reason for this game to be your first choice”. And Euro Gamer says “it’s too slim, and too spotty, to recommend diving in this early”.
The news isn’t all bad for Battlefield V. The game, which will officially hit shelves on Nov. 20, but is available now for people who subscribe to EA’s Origin Access service or who bought the deluxe edition, currently boasts a respectable 83 score (out of 100) on Metacritic. Many of the top scores, though, come from outlets that are less influential with gamers. Even the title’s critics, though, say the game establishes a good foundation for something special. The question is: Will gamers be patient enough to wait for that to materialize in a very crowded holiday season?
Battlefield V was initially scheduled to come out on Oct. 19, but EA pushed it back a month to balance the game’s multiplayer and “make some final adjustments to the core gameplay”. (It also likely wanted to get the game out of the blast zone of Red Dead Redemption 2.)
In delaying Battlefield V, EA management also lowered its sales forecast by 3 million units. MKM Partners analyst Eric Handler projects EA will sell 8 million copies of the game this calendar year, with 11 million selling by the end of the company’s fiscal year.