Titanfall: EA must search for open relationship after Xbox One exclusive

Wednesday, 29th January 2014 11:28 GMT By Matt Martin

It may effectively relaunch the Xbox One, but EA has stunted Titanfall’s reach, argues Matt Martin.


As soon as EA and Microsoft’s honeymoon period is over Titanfall will need a more open relationship. With the contractual obligations out of the way, to use it’s own phrasing, EA needs to double-down on Titanfall, not just next-gen development.

Publisher EA expects 10 million next-gen consoles sold by the end of March, no doubt pushed in part by its release of the highly anticipated Titanfall.

The attraction of Respawn’s next big thing is unarguable. Marketing is well underway, every scrap of information is pumping video game websites with traffic and consumers are clamouring to put down the pre-orders. Believe the hype.

But Titanfall’s console exclusivity to Xbox One could present a problem. In the spotlight EA and Microsoft are best of buddies, sharing marketing spend and preferential promotional space in the run up to the March 11 release.

Reading between the lines of last night’s EA financial briefing, however, we see an undercurrent of missed opportunity. EA didn’t back the wrong horse when it sided with Microsoft, but it did limit its reach.

“Every gamer in Europe who purchased a next-gen system, purchased a EA title,” said new CEO Andrew Wilson. “We are doubling-down on next-gen and bringing innovative games to those platforms to users worldwide.”

Xbox One has sold more than 3 million copies and that’s a hardcore audience perfect for Titanfall. But PS4 has over 4 million units on the market, too. EA says it has a 30 percent “segment share” on Xbox One. You can bet your ass it would like to have a similar slice of the PS4 pie. Peter Moore even noted last night that Sony has the edge in software attach rates when it comes to next-gen.

Current-gen console game sales have dipped for EA, as they no doubt have for the majority of the big publishers. Microsoft and Sony will continue to support their older machines but the time to move to next-gen is now. The cautious approach is safe and fine and steady and stable. But real growth and success comes from going boots first into something, and the next-gen market is booming. Titanfall can’t be late to the party.

The deals are already done and we know EA didn’t go exclusive out of the goodness of its own heart. But Titanfall, in its current form, will remain an Xbox One exclusive and of huge benefit to Microsoft. While Sony is slightly ahead of Microsoft in next-gen terms – sales, reviews, consumer goodwill – Titanfall could be big enough to give the Xbox One a second launch. March is a dry period for new releases, and those giant robots could suck the air out of the market for the next six months.

But as soon as EA and Microsoft’s honeymoon period is over Titanfall will need a more open relationship. With the contractual obligations out of the way, to use it’s own phrasing, EA needs to double-down on Titanfall, not just next-gen development. The real winners in a next-gen console race aren’t the hardware manufacturers, but the publishers who spread their biggest games across two machines when the audience is gasping for new IP. Half the discs, half the sales. You have to wonder whether or not there are some tinges of regret in the EA boardroom this morning.



  1. Pytox

    Unprecedented partnership :P

    #1 8 months ago
  2. absolutezero

    I honestly don’t think Titanfall is going to achieve for the Next Gen consoles what CoD 4 did for the previous gen.

    I think thats what they think is going to happen, I think thats what we’re being constantly told is going to happen like a self fulfilling prophecy.

    Not to go all Wulf here but it looks so utterly bland and safe and boring and multiplayer and socail integration and make sure to like comment and subscribe! hey guys its ya boi!

    #2 8 months ago
  3. 0790056245

    Why should Xbox One exclusives be forced to go third party and not the other way around. Surely the same argument can be made for games like The Witness and Resogun. This article reads like it is from a Playstation fanboy that is angry one of the most highly anticipated next-gen games is not coming out on their console of choice. I have been a fan of VG 24-7, but with articles like this I don’t know if I can trust their reporting on news involving the Next-Gen consoles in the future. Clearly the staff at VG 24-7 have made their choice on which console they support, so as a fan of the Xbox One I don’t see how I can continue to come to this site.

    #3 8 months ago
  4. Docker Al

    I think Microsoft are in for a rude shock. Sure this will sell heaps — on 360, but it won’t sell Xbox Ones. Why would it when it’s available on the 360? Anyway this game is as dead to me as my XB1 now that we know Microsoft have shafted Australian gamers by not giving us local dedicated servers. Microsoft can go fuck themselves. I’ll stick to my PS4 from now on.

    #4 8 months ago
  5. antraxsuicide

    @Docker Al No one’s going to even know this is on 360. All marketing just ends with an X1 logo. That’s how you steer people towards a certain platform. It’s why CoD always sold better on the 360 even though the online wasn’t free; every CoD commercial ended with a 360 logo.

    #5 8 months ago
  6. OlderGamer

    I am with you folks, I think TF is over hyped. No doubt a solid game, but I don’t think it is a system seller. It will be marketed like one. But in the end I bet it sells more on xb360 then X1. I am not excited about it at all. I would rather play Destiny.

    #6 8 months ago
  7. thegrimmling

    @OlderGamer I think Infamous Second Son will be more of a system seller…at least for me.

    #7 8 months ago
  8. daytripper

    Disappointing to read this I have to say. It’s meant to be entertainment, a hobby, something to be enjoyed and when I read articles like this I just shake my head.

    Sure it’s well written but the point of this is and the context of what it’s really getting at is disappointing. It’s like one rule for one and one for the other.

    #8 8 months ago
  9. OlderGamer

    I tend to agree, I think PS4 has more system sellers. However I am sure Forza, Deadrising, and fans of MS franchise games would likely feel the opposite.

    For me, PSN+ is the biggest PS4 system seller.

    I know four people with next gen systems(outside of the net), all four of us own PS4s, one of them also owns a X1. None of us play either system daily. We all play PC. Nothing yet on either system to make us stand up and take notice. Just rehashes of the same old franchises. At least TF is a new IP, and that is good.

    #9 8 months ago
  10. man with food

    @3 Both MS and sony have there fair share of exclusives, but that is to be expected. The point is that the game isnt being published by microsoft yet it has console exclusivity and Titanfall (no matter how dull some people say it looks) will definitely shift consoles. Resogun and The witness? They won’t shift consoles. Also resogun is published by sony and the witness is a timed exclusive so it will hit Xbox one at some point.

    #10 8 months ago
  11. s3ltzer

    Titanfall is a variation, and not innovation. It won’t be a bad game, but it will not be a console-seller. I much rather spend money on a new PC for the game, than to spend it on an XBO. I get more out of a PC besides gaming.

    Titanfall is a stepping stone for Respawn. If it had 32 vs 32, no AI bots, and 1080p (instead of 720p)….it might be a game changer.

    #11 8 months ago
  12. s3ltzer

    Titanfall is variation, and not innovation. It does not have enough for it to be a console seller. MS and EA are doing their best to overhype the game, but it’s not going to cut it. Only XBoners will fall prey to the marketing.

    #12 8 months ago
  13. OneLifeCycle

    @3, Seriously? I think you have a chip on your shoulder. The article is speaking from a perspective of a big company missing out on a larger segment of the console market. It’s a legit question. “Do we want to reach some, or all of the console market?” Not only that, but their is with the console that has less presence. And all of these decisions were made prior to the release of both consoles. Are they regretful? I bet some of the executives at EA certainly are. One doesn’t need to be a PS4 fanboi to ask these questions.

    What I want to know is if TF uses the Kinect for any of its gaming features or if they did not develop for it at all? If not, and yet MS forced the Kinect on everyone, thus becoming less competitive price-wise and potentially costing them a significant number of sales… Is if EA is pissed at that decision. Because after all, MS’s decisions on how to release their console certainly influenced many gamers to opt out of owning one. Drop the Kinect and sales go up. I guarantee it. But MS was stubborn and I’m sure EA isn’t at all pleased… Unless of course they bought the Kinect gimmick hook, line and sinker and did develop for it. I dunno.

    #13 8 months ago
  14. Samurai

    Why are they talking as if Titanfall is an Xbox One exclusive, when it’s on Xbox 360 and PC as well.

    #14 8 months ago
  15. IL DUCE

    Completely agree with comment #3…this is the typical Sony favoritism that goes on here and clearly the author just wants it to be convenient for him to play Titanfall on his PS4…while yes, EA is leaving a market share being so is every other console exclusive regardless of system, so is a moot point

    #15 8 months ago
  16. IL DUCE

    @IL DUCE or every other console exclusive not published by a first party studio*

    #16 8 months ago
  17. CPC_RedDawn



    TITANFALL is coming to Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC!

    How on earth is this an Xbox One Exclusive? The game will look better on PC, have better options on PC in terms of controller support and keyboard and mouse, it will more than likely have excellent performance on even low-mid range gaming PC’s as its using Source engine which is already extremely hardware friendly.

    Why on earth people would buy this for a closed down restrictive console is beyond me! Enjoy your 720p bullshit. Which apparently is now “NEXT GEN”

    #17 8 months ago
  18. CPC_RedDawn

    With the comments on how this will sell, it will sell bucket loads on 360, it will sell decently on PC, and it will sell to probably around 1 in 2 current XB1 owners which means that it will sell through around 1.5million on XB1 I reckon it will sell nearly the same amount if not more on PC to be quite honest (even though its an EA title and PC gamers tend to avoid Origin). But I think it will sell waaaaay more on 360 there is just too many 360 owners still clutching to their machines and are not even bothered about PC’s better graphics or XB1 huge price tag.

    #18 8 months ago
  19. shloob

    Actually EA never stated the attach rate for ps4 was better then the xbox one. What they said was that the Xbox one attach rate was down from the xbox 360 attach rate but that the xbox one attach rate was still higher than the ps4′s. Go reread the report again.

    #19 8 months ago
  20. shloob

    @Docker Al The preorders on xbox one are currently double the xbox360 and pc combined, Obviously a lot of the pc sales will be digital tho.

    #20 8 months ago
  21. LB

    Xbox One exclusive? In what world? Seriously? Its not exclusive, its also coming on PC and Xbox360.

    It does not warrant the exclusive status nor does it reinvent the definition.

    #21 8 months ago
  22. OmegaSlayer

    3rd party going exclusive are idiot.
    No matter how big the moneyhat is.
    It won’t pay off in the long run and only be a reason of regrets.
    3rd party should totally be platform agnostic, and as much as it irks me to see Metal Gear on a Microsoft machine for example, I applaud the decision because I know it’s the right business decision to keep the IP and the developers more healthy.

    #22 8 months ago
  23. airsick7

    @CPC_RedDawn I’ve been saying this for months, but even intelligent people seem to be missing the point. Somehow, MS’s hype department has moved the goalpost on what an exclusive is. And before I get lynched by fanboys, I have no beef with Titanfall or the XB1…

    I just hate this “let us pay you millions to keep it away from the competition” bullshit that MS sometimes engages in. And then with constant TV ad propaganda, they’ll fool the masses into thinking they have to buy their console just to play it.

    Sure, it’s good business, but it feels sleazy. But hey… this is EA and MS we’re talking about.

    #23 8 months ago

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