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.”


Contrary to what Creutz stated on his report, PastaPadre, a well known sports video game news website, believes there is a future for EA Sports MMA.

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.


Payout Perspective:

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.

16 Responses to “EA Sports MMA Addresses “One-and-Done” Rumors”

  1. Tweets that mention EA Sports MMA Addresses “One-and-Done” Rumors : MMAPayout.com: The Business of MMA -- Topsy.com on October 27th, 2010 5:53 PM

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by MMA Supremacy, mma.ly. mma.ly said: EA Sports MMA Addresses “One-and-Done” Rumors http://bit.ly/aC8mIe (MMA Payout) #fb […]

  2. mmaguru on October 27th, 2010 6:06 PM

    Thanks for posting this. I have yet to purchase the game. I will likely wait until closer to Christmas/boxing day to buy it. You made a great point with regard to releasing the game the same week as Fallout: New Vegas. I’m not a big video game fan but I do own a PS3 and I do know Fallout is a huge title to go up against.

    My take on it is as follows. I believe the original plan was to launch the game during the same period as a big Strikeforce event on CBS. Obviously Strikeforce was unable to get back on CBS to allow for EA to make a big marketing push during the broadcast to a potential 4 million MMA fans. With this in mind, EA likely tempered their expectations with respect to sales numbers out of the gate.

    Calling the game DOA is a bit premature. Unlike the UFC game, EA MMA will do well in other markets such as Japan. I expect that the game will outsell UFC game in markets outside the of the U.S. No one should expect it to outsell UFC Undisputed in North America.

    Originally I was not planning on buying the game, but after reading the pro reviews I think it would be worth the investment.

  3. jv on October 27th, 2010 6:43 PM

    Q4 is the BIG shopping period of the year. You get out in front of it and ride it through the season. Sure they have taken a hit in the first week but they will have more weeks to keep selling over. The other thing is you can only release the game when it is done. They could have held it till Jan 7th say and shown up much higher in the charts. But you miss the whole shopping season. Being #1 in January is like having the biggest dick under six inches.

    The other thing is that EA is able to split the development cost of the engine with the boxing game. That will help keep their costs down. It isn’t over yet.

  4. rick on October 27th, 2010 11:56 PM

    Mr ■mmaguru,

    In IMHO, i believe your are very wrong about how much better it is going to do over UFC. Reguardless if its in India, Brazil, Phillipines, or Japan, you are severely underestimating the UFC. EA MMA is going to do good but it sure as hell wont do better than the UFC. Please stop trying to make EA MMA bigger than what it is. But i understand, i also want it to do good, the more MMA the better it is for all of us!!

  5. Showdown Entertainment | Showdown Chronicle: Fedor, Carwin, James Toney, Patrick Cote, Belcher and more on October 28th, 2010 7:50 AM

    […] The big man will go under the knife on November 02, 2010. EA Sports addresses “one and done” rumours […]

  6. mmaguru on October 28th, 2010 7:56 AM

    Rick,
    My opinion is not based on a hunch, it’s based on the fact that EA MMA has many Japanese fighters and includes Dream as a promotion. I think this will help them grow sales outside of the U.S. market in particular the Japanese market. Even the marketing will be different (different fighter on cover for starters).

    Without a doubt, the U.S. market is a lock for the UFC Undisputed game. However, so far the UFC Undisputed 2010 game sales in Japan has been pretty mediocre – 3,564 (Xbox) & 14,973 (PS3). EA MMA should easily eclipse those numbers in the first week alone when release in the Japanese market.

    Time will tell, but lets revisit in the future to see which game outsells the other in Japan.

  7. Machiel Van on October 28th, 2010 8:09 AM

    Guru,

    This game will in no way succeed in the Japanese video game market. Japanese gamers do not buy sports simulations. This is shown year after year by the sales data from Madden, NHL, MLB, etc. (VGchartz.com) They do buy fighting games, but more on par with Tekken and Soul Calibur, which are colorful, vibrant games with characters steered towards Japanese culture. While the game does feature DREAM fighters, it is highly unlikely that fact alone will convince a Japanese gamer to spend their hard earned money to spend hours playing the game. Unfortunately, they are VERY different markets in terms of consumer culture.

    It is much more likely to succeed in Europe, where video gamers’ tastes are very similar to those of the U.S.

  8. jv on October 28th, 2010 9:01 AM

    I have to wonder. Now that the EA engine has kicks, knees etc in it, if some where down the road they don’t also do a kick boxing / MT title or make that a mode of one of the two existing games.

  9. mmaguru on October 28th, 2010 9:10 AM

    Machiel,
    You make some good points. They may not sell many sports games that are U.S. league specific. However, if we look at Fifa 2010, it sold – 45,320 (PS3) & 10,809 (XBox) which is not great but modest enough to indicate that sports games can gain some traction. As I’ve posted prior, lets just wait and see how it does. MMA really doesn’t fit in any of the traditional sports genre type of games.

  10. Jose Mendoza on October 28th, 2010 12:59 PM

    A couple of points,

    DREAM is not a promotion in the EA MMA game (they have fake promotions other than SF, the Japan promotion is called “Mystic”), but it has fighters from Bellator, DREAM, Sengoku, etc. Also, the Japanese cover of the game has Fedor and Yoshida. They will definitely keep an eye out on how well the game does in Japan.

    One other thing to point out, I believe UFC Undisputed 2009 had 1 Japanese fighter in the game, while EA MMA has several like Aoki, Kawajiri, Yoshida, and big names that are not Japanese like Barnett, Sapp, and Fedor.

  11. Tom on October 29th, 2010 2:50 AM

    You MMA guys dont understand reality.

    EA didnt get into this expecting shitty sales. EA got into this after seeing UFC 2009 sell nearly 4 million copies and knowing the UFC license would be up in 2012.

    Well, the UFC gave a big Fuck You to EA by signing a long term extension. Unfortunately, there is absolutely no reason for EA to continue with MMA. The sales suck and there’s no option of acquiring the premiere leagues license.

    When the author of this article says “despite the low sales of both mma franchises” I dont know if he understands what he’s talking about.

    UFC 2010 sold 400k copies upon release. EAMMA is not even in the same stratosphere. Numbers Im hearing looks like it will end up around 40k units. That’s horrible. In what universe can you make the kind of comparison as the author makes here?

    Undisputed was dissapointing not because of how many sold, but because of expectations. The pre-orders were twice as much as the original so the expectations were really high. However ultimately selling more than 1 million copies of the same game a year later is pretty good, and the pre orders were a great indicator that if they can deliver a real new game the sales will be great. That’s why THQ decided on a new time table because they know they have 3 million plus copies in sales every 2 years or so if they do it right.

    From the numbers Im hearing EA MMA will be lucky if it even ends up selling 10% of what the “disappointing” numbers UFC 2010 will produce.

  12. Machiel Van on October 29th, 2010 8:12 AM

    I like how Tom only spelled disappointing right in quotes. It’s like he was quoting a smarter person…

  13. Machiel Van on October 29th, 2010 8:30 AM

    It’s a simple question of the ROI. The game used the Fight Night Round 4 engine, so they saved a lot on development costs, and I doubt the Strikeforce license cost much money. If they make some money out of it they’l;l keep churning out more. That’s what EA Sports has always done: some of their games aren’t very successful, but if they make even a little profit they’re usually kept around (sometimes for way… too… long). We don’t know exactly how many units they’ve sold because the NPD Group, which was the authority on this information, no longer releases its sales data for publication. Only EA knows exactly how much money they’ve spent and how many units they’ve sold, anything else is just conjecture. We’ll see.

  14. Jose Mendoza on October 29th, 2010 1:18 PM

    Tom:

    Thanks for posting. And let me address your comment:

    “When the author of this article says “despite the low sales of both mma franchises” I don’t know if he understands what he’s talking about.”

    If you’ve read our articles on payout before dealing with the “disappointing” UFC Undisputed 2010 sales, we specifically mention that it was indeed “disappointing” due to their 2009 sales and came in much lower than what analyst expectations. Inf fact, THQ’s stock rose over $8 a share with the great sales UFC Undisputed 2009 did, and when expectations weren’t met for their 2010 release, it attributed to their stock dropping now to under $4. The big expectations tied with the big licensing deal with the UFC has put a lot of pressure on THQ for their next release, and considering the fan feedback dealing with the issues of this years version, its not going to be an easy task in 2012.

    The truth of the matter is that we won’t see similar sale numbers to what UFC undisputed 2009 did anytime soon since it was the first release in years and occurred during a big growth spurt in MMA’s popularity. There were no UFC or MMA titles that came out for years since the previous ones had bombed so bad, so there was huge anticipation for a new generation console MMA game. With that said, MMA is not a seasonal sport, and there are no incentives for fans to keep buying annual releases of the game, which was the original plan from THQ and the UFC.

    Adding to that, I don’t have any numbers for what they have currently sold, and I will wait until after the holiday season to analyze any that I find, but we are just reporting the quote that EA gave us in response to the analyst.

    Thanks again for posting, good stuff.

  15. Machiel Van on October 29th, 2010 3:01 PM

    “The truth of the matter is that we won’t see those UFC undisputed 2009 sale numbers because during the growth of MMA…”

    This was confusing, but I can’t figure out the context of this sentence.

    UFC Undisputed 2009 sold 1.97 million copies for the Xbox 360, and 1.53 million copies for the Playstation 3. That’s 3.5 million copies, which has been the number for awhile and has been available for quite some time. These numbers are courtesy of VGchartz.com, which I’ve found to be a reputable source of sales data. All numbers are rounded to the nearest denomination of 10,000 units.

    UFC Undisputed 2010 has sold 720,000 copies for the 360, 680,000 for the PS3, and 30,000 for the PSP totaling 1.43 million copies.

    While still early, at this point the site has EA MMA selling around 90,000 units for both consoles combined. It’s just hard to predict how the game will perform moving forward, but it looks very grim. (sorry for the repeat post, e-mail was wrong the first time. Feel free to edit this comment, webmaster).

  16. Jose Mendoza on October 29th, 2010 3:19 PM

    Machiel,

    I clarified my comment a bit more, sorry for the rush. Was just pointing out that it will be incredibly tough for future releases to surpass the sale #s Undisputed 2009 did, due to the reasons explained in my previous comment.

    Also, EA MMA came out on the Xbox 360, PS3, and iPhone/iPad, not sure if PC or PSP are in future plans. It is also important to note that the games was released on the 19th and the charts were for the week endint on the 23rd, so we will see what kind of numbers they get this week. The game is also not out in Japan yet, so we will see how that does (though it shouldn’t be something drastic).

Got something to say?