EA and Bioware’s newest flagship, Anthem, one of the most high-profile releases of 2019, isn’t faring well in terms of sales or reviews. It would seem as if EA’s strategy of incentivizing Early Access has backfired, as word-of-mouth and coverage of the game both reflect the game’s poor initial physical sale. According to a recent report by Eurogamer, the UK sales of the game are about half that of Bioware’s previous game, Mass Effect Andromeda.
It’s hard to gauge physical sales as a good barometer for retail success when digital sales have proven to be popular amongst gamers, especially for multiplayer games. However, the writing is still on the wall, beyond the less than stellar reviews that are now associated with the title. While digital sales on PC and EA’s Origin, as well as PS4 and Xbox One downloads, can potentially account for a lot of units sold, the Eurogamer report isn’t as optimistic, for good reason too. Though we are in the digital age, making up half of all sales in the digital sphere is a tall order for most titles, let alone one that currently does not have good press. In fact, the website reported that Andromeda was released through pretty much the same methods (EA Access included).
The moment Anthem was announced, immediate parallels and comparisons were drawn to Bungie’s relatively more successful Destiny franchise. A direct head-to-head showed that “Anthem sold roughly a quarter of Destiny 2’s week one physical total from back in September 2017.” Given this rather poor performance, it’s also obvious that the game failed to achieve the same level of success as its flagship January competitors, Kingdom Hearts III and Resident Evil 2.
While the full picture can’t be painted without exact digital sales, numbers that EA probably will not reveal, the pieces of the puzzle point to a disappointing launch all around for EA’s major release for the beginning of 2019. With enough updates and bonus content, perhaps impressions and units sold can both be salvaged in the long run. However, it remains to be seen whether the existing player base sticks around until that happens.
Anthem is now available for the PC, Xbox One, and PS4.