EA 2018 earnings below expectations; Anthem targeting 6 million sales rescue

The end of 2018 didn’t quite hit the heights that EA was hoping for. During the quarterly financial report, representatives of the company said that EA 2018 earnings didn’t manage to hit its projections, pointing to Battlefield 5‘s delay as one of the major reasons for the challenging fiscal year the company faced. The news comes off the back of EA setting a sales target of six million for Anthem in its opening six weeks.

It was EA’s CEO, Andrew Wilson, who led the discussion surrounding EA’s fiscal report, explaining that “we had significant challenges in Q3 and did not perform up to our expectations.” These “challenges,” Wilson suggests, are down to three main factors: Battlefield 5, the mobile gaming market, and China.

Speaking about Battlefield 5, Wilson claimed that the delay to Battlefield 5‘s release to a window “where heavy price discounting was a big factor,” as was the choice to delay the game’s Firestorm battle royale, which will now arrive in March. Wilson says that these decisions, which he argues allowed the World War 2 shooter to arrive in a state that could afford a better single-player experience, meant that “we did not meet our sales expectations for the quarter.”

Wilson then moved on to the state of EA’s mobile gaming, an area that he concedes has shown a lot of growth in 2018 and is an area that’s expected to strengthen this year. However, he says that the lifetime of the mobile games “is greater than three years and that it’s harder than ever for new games to break through.” He opines that this extended lifetime for popular mobile games was behind the poor returns for the mobile launch of Command & Conquer: Rivals.

He then moved on to how the Chinese market and the role its played in the gaming industry has affected the expectations that EA had for FIFA Online 4, the online fantasy soccer game aimed at the Asian market. Wilson said that the “nuances in the Chinese market, our transition to FIFA Online 4 has been slower than anticipated,” though he believes that the strategies EA has in place will be enough to turn this around. Well, he would believe that, wouldn’t he?

All this means that EA is hoping for a big return on games this year. And while Wilson suggested that those same “challenges will continue to impact our performance in Q4,” the news that EA has set a 6 million sales target for BioWare’s Anthem paints the picture that EA is putting a fair bit of faith in Anthem being what players want.

While there were some well-publicized failings for Anthem‘s demo, Wilson remains optimistic for how the game will do, saying that “we’re very pleased to see the excitement in retail and digital channels reaching higher-than-expected levels,” in the aftermath of the demo.