A bit of a shooting match is shaping up in the video game business for later this year as Electronic Arts continues to sound bullish about Battlefield 3, a title that will take on Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 during the holiday season.
EA said during its earnings announcement on Tuesday that preorders for the title were 10 times that of its predecessor, Battlefield Bad Company 2, which has sold more than 9m units to date.
EA is not going as far as saying it can beat Activision’s record-breaking franchise this year, but it hopes to get a bigger piece of the first-person shooter genre.
“They are an entrenched competitor with a disproportionate share of the market,” said Eric Brown, EA chief financial officer, in an FT interview.
“Our objective is to increase unit sales over Battlefield Bad Company 2, because if we do that, we will be increasing our market share.”
EA’s title is being launched two weeks before the November 8 debut of the latest Call of Duty, which should at least give it a head start.
With only four titles released in its June quarter, compared to six a year earlier, EA reported lighter revenues of $524m, down from $539m the previous year. Losses increased to 37 cents a share from 24 cents.
EA emphasised growth in its digital revenues in its first fiscal quarter and increased its guidance for the fiscal year to $1.1bn-$1.15bn, due to the acquisition of PopCap Games for up to $1.35bn, announced two weeks ago. Mr Brown said he expected the deal to be completed next month on schedule.