EA Sports MMA Addresses “One-and-Done” Rumors
October 27, 2010
Rumors have been floating around for the past couple of days involving the recently released EA Sports MMA title being “one-and-done” and “dead on arrival” according to Cowen & Company analyst Doug Creutz, but when MMAPayout reached out to EA Sports marketing manager Randy Chase, he told us that the report is a bit premature.
The video gaming website ComputerAndVideoGames was the first to report Creutz analysis of EA Sports MMA, which was then picked up by many MMA websites, eventually reaching ESPN’s MMA blog and other big name online media. Creutz went on to say in his report:
“EA’s recently released ‘MMA’ appears to be more or less DOA at retail, while UFC recently announced an extension of its license with THQ, likely putting an end to EA’s efforts to expand into the mixed martial arts genre,” the analyst said in a research note this morning.
The ComputerAndVideoGames article also goes on to note that EA Sports MMA debuted at No. 23 this week, just edging out another competitor which was released on the same day, Activision’s DJ Hero 2 which debuted at #25. The key factor for the disappointing debut for both titles was the the same week release of Fallout: New Vegas, which finished #1 on the chart and was highly anticipated by many video game enthusiasts.
EA Sports released the following statement regarding the rumors:
“EA SPORTS MMA has been in stores for less than a week and it has been well received by critics and consumers for bringing innovation to the genre. We are confident the game will connect with fight fans.”
Just one week after the release of EA Sports MMA there are analysts predicting that the company will cease making an MMA game going forward. Sales are reportedly soft and with THQ locking up the UFC license through 2018 the thought is being perpetuated that there is no room to grow and pushing forward would prove futile. That really isn’t the case however and EA is not likely to abandon a growing sport when they have now established themselves as players in the market even as that comes from an underdog role.
Keep in mind these are the same analysts who just recently discussed poor sales coming in for Madden 11 only to have the official sales numbers release and the game show a 12% year over year increase. Basically take anything an analyst says with a grain of salt because they are not tied into the goings on of the sports gaming world and may not be even using official data. They are just looking at numbers and not taking into consideration the context of them.
The low initial sales was something that MMAPayout noted in the EA MMA perspective write-up, and something that should be expected as realistic expectations for this title release. We also mentioned that the game was well received with good scores from respected video game websites/publishers and also garnered positive user feedback.
As PastaPadre points out, EA went into this project with full knowledge of being the underdog in the market and had realistic sale expectations. The key here, if they choose to continue the franchise in 2012, is to establish the base for an MMA franchise that can be released on alternating years with their Fight Night boxing franchise. Though we must point out, releasing the game on the same week as highly anticipated Fallout: New Vegas was released was a big mistake (just as THQ did with releasing UFC Undisputed 2010 in the same week as Red Dead Revolver) and affected their sales.
Despite the low sales this year for both MMA franchises, there is no doubt that the MMA market is still growing and is predicted to keep growing in the next several years, so it is well worth their while to stay in the market. There is no doubt that the UFC brand creates an almost impossible hurdle for EA as they continue to dominate the market, but they also don’t have the pressures of having high licensing costs attached to the game, which ultimately lowers the expectations of the game. Only time will tell what EA decides to do with the franchise, but I believe it is just too early to make decision’s of this magnitude based on the current conditions. When MMAPayout asked EA Sports if there were any existing plans for a 2012 release, they said we were already working on it.