EA had a bit of a mixed bag during this holiday period. Franchises such as FIFA performed brilliantly whilst others, such as Need for Speed: Most Wanted, seemed to underperform. As reported by Games Industry International, analysts at Cowen & Company expect that a busy retail release schedule in 2013 may result in further decline.
Apparently a super competitive set of releases may make things a little tricky.
"The company's Q4 FY13 line-up faces a murderer's row of competition from the deepest industry AAA release slate we can remember outside of the holiday window," said analyst Doug Creutz.
The report mentions the schedule in the early half of 2013, with competition from big franchise games such as Tomb Raider, Metal Gear Solid Rising and BioShock Infinite, but also notes that 2013, as a whole, is stacked with major releases.
"We think EA's Q4 FY13 slate may have a tough time competing for attention, particularly with gamers also likely anticipating the release of Grand Theft Auto V in Q2. Other than Dead Space 3, interest in EA's titles as measured by current Amazon sales rankings appears to be lagging well behind the competition."
Guesstimates like this absolutely have to be taken with a grain of salt, particularly when the analysts in question are using Amazon sales rankings to compare major gaming brands. Also throwing the report into question is a series of sales estimates, one of which claims the upcoming Sim City will top out at 500,000 units sold. I find that hard to believe and expect Sim City to shift millions of units.
That said, 2013 may end up being one of the most competitive years yet, and anything could happen.
Packaged games expected to further harm EA's bottom line [Games Industry International]