For the past five years Electronic Arts has been trying to take a bite out of Activision’s stranglehold in the modern FPS market. While Call of Duty has long been the record-breaking shooter champion, EA is pushing harder than ever to compete.
President of EA Labels Frank Gibeau spoke with CVG at Gamescom about the upcoming Battlefield vs. Call of Duty rematch which just so happens to occur during a console transition.
“Look, we are absolutely going for it. It’s a competition and we feel really good about Battlefield 4…”
EA is looking to utilize its various teams to release better content year after year, not unlike Activision has done so with multiple developers working to ensure there’s a new Call of Duty every year, supported by DLC.
This battle began with Battlefield: Bad Company in 2008. BC’s sales figures were relatively low and compared to COD4’s many millions, EA barely made a dent. Since 2008, Battlefield has seen consistently seen massive jumps in sales, with Battlefield 3 representing EA’s fastest-selling title ever.
While Battlefield 3’s numbers were quite an improvement over previous titles, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 still sold more than double. Figures do show a slowdown for Call of Duty over the past two years, with some analysts claiming franchise sales have peaked and sales for Black Ops 2 dipping below that of MW3.
With the mixed reactions from the unveil of Call of Duty: Ghosts and Infinity Ward’s questionable use of term “next-gen” when talking about specifics of their game engine (see: AI fish), EA aims to capitalize on the popularity of BF3 and the hype surrounding the Frostbite 3 engine and BF4′s visuals.
Gibeau has been in this situation before, as he experienced it during the battle of Madden vs. 2K days, and explains that this sort of competition is good for the industry and consumers. Gamers benefit by more innovation as dev teams are pushed to create new and original content. The biggest threat to this model is that Activision releases a new Call of Duty every year where EA will be forced to rely on other titles when Battlefield takes a year off.
Their triple-A shooter rotation will include Battlefield, Titanfall, and Star Wars: Battlefront. Medal of Honor has since been taken out of rotation.
“With regards to Medal of Honor, you try things in entertainment and if they don’t work you try something else. From our perspective, Battlefield 3 and Battlefield Premium continue to grow.”
EA is focusing on Battlefield to position it as their COD killer, and team at DICE have proven themselves before. With a little help from the exclusive Star Wars license, EA may be on top of the heap sooner rather than later and they may be the best-prepared for the next-gen when it comes to FPS.
It will be interesting to see how the two series differentiate themselves from one another, and how this competition will make them both grow. Gamers may expect more variety from EA, with their collection of licenses, but that doesn’t mean COD will not reign supreme with its established fanbase and eSports support.
This fall we will see the next round of this fight as Battlefield 4 takes on Call of Duty: Ghosts.