According to the news report by Bloomberg, Electronic Arts Inc. stocks sank after the gaming company announced that it was delaying the release of its newest edition of the popular Battlefield video game. In doing so, the company highlighted the fact that it was struggling to keep up with its competition, the game that has taking the world by storm – Fortnite.
Battlefield V’s launch had been delayed by a month to November 20. Added to that, the gaming company has reduced its outlook for the fiscal year that will end in March 2019.
EA’s Chief Financial Officer Blake Jorgensen stated that the company was updating its guidance for the fiscal year to reflect the altered launch date for Battlefield 5, the impact of change in forex rates as well as the company’s estimates for its mobile businesses.
Now, this news that the next edition of Battlefield is also delayed did not sit well with investors. EA’s stocks dropped as much as 8.7% in trading, which is the biggest drop the company has experienced since January of 2016. The company’s shares are currently trading at $115.94. Till Wednesday, August 29, EA’s shares were at $128.52, up by 22% for the year.
Battlefield is a first person shooter video game that is famous for the realistic manner in which it depicts combat. It is also one of the company’s biggest selling franchises. EA, in its blog, has promised its fans that the delay in the release in the game would also result in an improved gaming experience for users.
EA said that it was including a battle royale mode in Battlefield V. This additional feature is something that has been a huge success in Fortnite. Fortnite, created by Epic Games, was released in 2017, and has since then become a cultural phenomenon that has appealed to not just serious gamers, but also the larger casual gaming population.
Fortnite is a first person shooter game just like Battlefield. The key difference is that Battlefield has a cult-like following of a smaller group of hard core gamers. Fortnite, on the other hand, is equally appealing to both categories of gamers. According to some, the less realistic depiction of combat in Fortnite is what appeals more to casual gamers.
Now, with the new battle royale feature in Battlefield V, EA hopes to attract a larger cross section of gamers. EA said that the company had been motivated to make “meaningful improvements” to Battlefield’s core gameplay. This included adjusting the tempo of the game, improving soldiers’ visibility and reducing the player friction aspect. The company said that gamers would be able to experience these changes for themselves in Battlefield’s Open Beta that is scheduled to start on September 6.
Delays in its flagship game is not the only challenge that EA is facing. On July 26, the company’s earnings forecast was short of market analyst expectations, which also contributed to the company’s already falling shares.
EA said that it now foresees net bookings to be in the range of $5.20 billion for the fiscal year that will end in March of 2019. This is down from the company’s previous forecast of $5.55 billion.
Additionally, the head of the company’s worldwide game development studios is leaving EA in October this year. And this week, the gaming giant was forced to cancel its 3 Madden Classic qualifier tournaments due to a shooting that took place in an earlier event in Florida.
The biggest challenge, however, is the shift in consumer preferences. Like the rest of the industry, EA is also grappling with the shift from pc and console gaming to mobile gaming.