Star Wars: Battlefront will sell strongly, but not make a lot of money for EA this financial year, the publisher has warned.
Star Wars: Battlefront isn’t just a license to print money, EA emphasised in a post-earnings release conference call this morning.
Judging by the series’s historical sales, and by sales of Battlefield 4, EA expects to ship 9 – 10 million units during its FY2016, which runs through March 31 2016. The shooter releases in November, so that’s quite a hefty sales target for a short period of time, even if it’s only to retailers rather than end-user sales.
EA also mentioned that the fact that Battlefront is PC and new-gen only does limit its sales potential, but commented that for Star Wars it wanted to deliver the highest-quality product possible, which is only possible on newer consoles.
One brave soul asked whether Battlefront would have a disastrous launch, going so far as to name drop Spore, of all things, but EA said it’s had plenty of good launches (Battlefield: Hardline wasn’t too rough) since those days, and expects smooth sailing. It aid DICE hasn’t made any special preparations beyond what EA tries to do for any major launch nowadays.
EA was quite cagey about its earnings and forecasts for the year ahead; while it doesn’t expect any difficulties, and got quite sarcastic about the math skills of one caller who aired concerns, it did comment that it has a whopping royalty to pay to Disney on Battlefront.
I’ll need to double check the exact quote when the transcript is released in the coming days, but I think EA said the royalty applies to the first 7 million units.
Update: Yeah, no, Looks like I misheard. The transcript from TheStreet reads:
“We’ve been trying to target 100 basis points of gross margin improvement. And this year, we are forecasting roughly 50 basis points. And much of that is due to the fact that there is a royalty on that to Disney. And at a level of 10 million units, that’s a fairly large pressure on gross.”