“Final Adjustments to core gameplay.” That is the reason that DICE, the developer behind the Battlefield franchise, gave when they announced the delay in releasing Battlefield V on Thursday. Originally slated for release on October 19, Electronic Arts and DICE decided to push the release of their World War II shooter back by a full month, now releasing on Tuesday, November 20.
We’ve had valuable feedback from our community, and we’re going to take the time to make some final adjustments and deliver a great experience for our fans.
– Laura Miele, Chief Studios Officer, Electronic Arts
While that is all well and good, there is another reason why the game has been pushed back, something that EA wouldn’t publicly admit: the releases of Activision’s Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 and Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption 2, both of which respectively release a week before and a week after Battlefield V’s original release date of October 19.
With the releases of Red Dead Redemption 2 and Black Ops 4 being highly anticipated games, Cowen analysts stated that Battlefield V would have been slated to become the “casualty of the crowded October window.” Avoiding the release of two highly anticipated titles to avoid your game getting buried as wise a business decision as can be, especially considering the last time EA found themselves in a similar situation. This last happened in October 2016, with Battlefield 1 releasing within a week of their own Titanfall 2. That decision resulted in lower than expected sales for the latter title, despite the positive response from the gaming media.
Analysts at Cowen had forecasted weak numbers for Battlefield V, in addition, several outlets reporting news of weak pre-order numbers for the title. Pre-ordering Battlefield V afforded early access to the open beta at the beginning of September. As a result of the announced delay, shares of EA dropped 6 percent, as reported by CNBC on Thursday. EA also lowered their company’s expected net bookings for the 2019 fiscal year to $5.2 million, down $350K from the initial forecast of $5.55 million.
Releasing Battlefield V just before Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend will most likely ensure that the game will be full price during the massive sales that encompass the weekend. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing because prospective buyers who needed to make a choice of which of the three titles to buy will most certainly find it easier to pick up Battlefield V after picking up and playing through either Red Dead Redemption 2 or Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. The other slant, however, is this is 4 days after the release of Pokèmon Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee, where the attention on the long-awaited Pokèmon Yellow Version: Special Pikachu Edition remakes will surely not have died down, especially with Thanksgiving weekend looming.
It can be said that there isn’t a huge crossover in terms of audience share, but there’s always the possibility of the first week numbers being largely affected by not just the release of the first Nintendo Switch entries into the Pokèmon franchise, but also the large price rollbacks that come via Black Friday weekend and Cyber Monday/Cyber Week sales on other games. Releasing the title so close to Thanksgiving weekend can be a calculated risk that Electronic Arts can benefit from greatly or that can blow up in their face. No matter what the result, EA saved themselves from one potential butt-whooping from Activision and Take-Two Interactive this October.
For those ordering the Battlefield V on Origin, we have the game’s specifications for you at this link. Battlefield V will also release on Xbox One and PlayStation 4. EA and Origin Access subscribers will receive access to the game’s 10-hour trial one week early, with Origin Access Premier subscribers receiving full early access to the title.