Titanfail?

Titanfail?

Written by: King DX on May 13, 2014.
EA has finished their earning report for Q4 and while EA remains a very profitable company, it was odd that one key point was seemingly omitted from their numbers. Somehow Titanfall the holy grail of all that is and all there ever will be was not given sales figures. EA did confirm that the NPD report of 925,000 units sold for the month of March was correct but did not give an exact number on the total units sold.

Now as you may have learned by now, sometimes its not what people say but what they don't say that you have to look at. When a game company says "We don't comment on speculations or rumors" it's pretty damn obvious that their information just got leaked. With this scenario however I believe we have something more telling. Is it possible that Titanfall did not live up to EA's expectations?

Titanfall has been the flagship of the Xbox One. From Microsoft helping pay for its development to its promotion. Titanfall was supposed to break records with the marketing push and financial backing that it had. While still a brand new IP, the game undoubtedly did good but should we treat it as a brand new IP?

The back story for the development of Titanfall is an oddity itself. We have a highly successful developer Infinity Ward battling it out with their publisher Activision over COD. The heads of the studio are fired and they take arguably the best talent at the company and start a new studio called Respawn. This talented group of guys go from blockbuster success to... a studio with a different name but still blockbuster success?

Since the break up of Infinity Ward gamers were waiting to see what Respawn was working on. Finally announced last year we were treated to Titanfall. A FPS that has tight controls, a futuristic setting and steamy bot on bot action. It's no argument that Titanfall is a great game. Generally though when things are great they are spoken on. So why is EA so protective of the games sales figures?

My hunch is that the game did not live up to the expectations of EA or Microsoft. Currently VGChartz has the game selling 2.3 million units spread out across all available platforms. With such a huge Xbox 360 install base and even 4.3 million Xbox One's in the wild. You'd expect a game with the type of marketing Titanfall had to easily clear 4-5 million globally. So why hasn't it?

Let's argue for a moment that Titanfall was a brand new IP(which it is, duh). How many brand new IP's do you see get bundled with a console? Respawn's last game under the Infinity Ward name made over a billion dollars. Titanfall while technically being a new idea is still a game that Respawn has made before. This wasn't Evolution Studios making a fighting game or Bungie making a racer. This was a group of very established and successful FPS makers making another FPS being funded by one of the biggest publishers out, EA.

Titanfall at the end of the day is a shooter. You can hate it or love it but that's the genre it falls into. EA while busy with Battlefield may have forgotten that their own games as well as COD have a huge impact on the sales. I don't think anybody may have considered that gamers don't want another FPS, even if it's the best FPS ever created. When you look at the music genre at the end of the last generation or the fighting genre from the early 90's you see that both genres ran into a huge roadblock where consumers no longer wanted to play those types of games. Titanfall IMO released in a time where we may be starting to see that happen for shooters as well. COD Black Ops 2 released late 2012 doing over 11M in it's first week. COD Ghost came out late 2013 and there was a decline in sales of 19% year over year. Now is this because COD Ghosts is a steaming pile of poo? Maybe. Honestly it is a sign in the shift of the game market. While genres like mobas start to grow in popularity the intrest for shooters is lingering. Free to play games like Hearthstone and cheap yet fulfilling games like Child of Light are growing in demand. The cost to make one of these games is much lower and the returns are much higher. What business in their right mind would not want extra money in their pockets?

There is no doubt that there will be a Titanfall 2. The question is when it releases, will there be an audience awaiting it with open arms? If not then I think we may see a huge decline of shooters in the market. While I admit that I can't wait for H-Hour. Games like The Order: 1886 have absolutely no appeal to me at the moment. It may be time for shooters to bow out gracefully and come back with something new. The genre seems to be missing a bit of innovation and the fatigue is taking a toll on gamers.

What do you think about Titanfall and it's sales numbers? Is this a sign of whats to come of all shooters? Let us know in the comment section below.
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