Sales of EA Sports UFC Continue Alarming Downward Trend for the Sport

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Posted July 21st, 2014 at 11:30 am

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EA Sports UFC has struggled in terms of review scores and word of mouth and now that the sales numbers have released the impact of the poor start to the new franchise for the company can be further examined. First month sales for UFC combined for only 278K copies which explains the price drop that went wide last week.

THQ’s UFC series took a nosedive following the first release in 2009 – something partially attributed to the lack of roster turnover, competition from high profile games, and now maybe it can be said UFC having hit a peak in popularity which has since dipped considerably due to various factors. Despite EA’s marketing might they were unable to show much potential for turning things around. UFC 2009 sold over 1 million its first month, UFC 2010 plummeted to 414K copies, and UFC 3 (released in 2012) managed just 340K. Over two years later and the sales are even lower despite the stronger marketing push and a desperation move which the company thought would mean more than it did.¬†

Bruce Lee is the most used fighter in the game and that can probably be pointed at as another bad sign for the future of the franchise. EA hoped the inclusion would draw in casuals that wouldn’t have had an interest in the game otherwise – and maybe it did do that for some. But then that would mean the base of true MMA fans has degraded even more than the basic sales numbers would suggest. Those consumers who bought for Bruce Lee aren’t the ones that will stick around on what is said to be a bi-yearly basis.

The install base of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 is not the reason UFC failed to sell well. There has been ample evidence that consumers on those consoles are more motivated to purchase, more engaged in each individual release, given the general lack of new software that has been available. EA is regretting the decision not to release World Cup on the new consoles because of that. Outside of a throwaway Transformers game there was absolutely nothing new competition wise in June. Either UFC now simply shouldn’t be perceived as an upper-tier sports franchise that can draw even half a million copies, or EA left sales on the table by making a number of poor design decisions. The company certainly didn’t buy the license thinking they’d fail to reach even 300K in the first month for what will be a heavily frontloaded title.

EA targeted a casual crowd with UFC in an effort to open up a larger potential base of consumers. In doing so they lost the actual fans of the sport who would have supported the franchise. They needed to capture them first so they could draw the casuals later but they went about it all backwards. EA isn’t going to abandon UFC yet but it will have them seriously reconsidering their approach and maybe even contemplating a return to boxing with which they could¬†alternate with UFC every couple years.

  • Mike Query

    The people who run EA are idiots and are going to run that company into the ground.

    • SENZ

      Are going to run that company into the ground?

      That company has been run into the ground now for years. It’s a steaming shithole of terrible games and greedy motherfuckers at the top trying to milk people for all they’re worth while repackaging the same game every year.

      I can’t wait for the day for that company to go bankrupt. I’d rather gaming died off entirely than for the current trend of gaming to continue. Truth is I almost don’t even play many games anymore, because of companies like EA and Activision. They’ve taken all the creativity and competition out of the game industry and all we get every year now is shitty FPS games for the Mountain Dew and Dorito dumbass crowd.

      The day that company goes bankrupt, and it all burns down, I’d love to be there so I could piss on the ashes.

      • http://pastapadre.com/ pastapadre

        We see their struggles obviously up close, but as far as their stock goes, it’s been soaring. Just look at the chart for the last two years. From 12 bucks a share to a high reached just today of $36 and change.

        • SENZ

          Oh I’m not surprised by that. I didn’t mean run into the ground in a financial sense, if anything I’d expect them to profit a lot, because that’s all they do, hold back things from their games and make you pay for them to be added into their games and things like that.

          Sadly, too many people just walk right in line with it, and companies will just keep on doing it. That’s why I said I rarely even play games anymore, because this kind of shit has ruined games for the most part. Every now and then you get a Grand Theft Auto V that comes out that shows just how high quality games should be on the consoles, but for every GTA5, 90% of the other games are just average to below average garbage with tons of DLC and nickle and dime shit to them.

          Look no further than the Sims series. What they do with that series is so utterly despicable it boggles the mind, and yet they get away with it and profit. It’s depressing because I truly feel gaming is pretty much on the way out for me, with the rare occasion of a good game like a Rockstar game or something like that.

          30 years was a good run I suppose.

          • Keith.

            Don’t confuse a rise in stock price with profit. Since taking over in September, Andrew Wilson’s been closing studios and whacking budgets left and right, which excites investors who think it’ll pay off in the future. But it hasn’t led to huge profits to date. In fact, I posted a link to their annual report last week which showed that, after whacking $108 million from sales and advertising, EA was able to report a whopping profit of $8 million for the year.

            But unless EA can come up with some hits soon, the stock price will come plummeting back down. WIlson’s running out of things to cut, and it’s going to catch up to him sooner rather than later.

          • SENZ

            Good! I hope you’re right!

          • Keith.

            FYI, EA released their latest set of smoke and mirrors financials yesterday, and investors were none-too-impressed, with EA’s stock having dropped a whopping $2.38 by the closing bell today.

            We’re still a long ways away from you and me being able to piss on EA’s ashes, but have faith…we’ll get there.

  • berbs

    This proves nothing but I never once saw anyone on any site upset that UFC wasnt coming out on the ps3 and 360. Just cause there’s more consoles out there doesn’t mean more people would have bought it or else the biggest selling games would all be on the Wii.

    • kris

      I completely disagree 100%, I think sales would have been a lot better if released on ps3/360. I would have gotten it for sure and know tons of people that would have too. I know so many people who dont have ps4/xbox1 and they could actually afford them but there arent enough games to make them switch….yet.

  • CUFreeze

    Bring back FIGHT NIGHT and BOXING. Boxing appeals to the casual gamer much more than a UFC. UFC games are very complicated while the casual group of friends can pick of Fight Night and blast away at each other. Sign Mayweather for whatever he asks, put him on the cover, and you will far out sell UFC games.

    • DaStrongSKRAWN

      Not our fault people can’t get into UFC. The sport is better than just boxing. Boxing has become 12 rounds of boring over the past decade. Play an arcade fighting game where you can just blast at your friends.
      UFC 3 by THQ was incredible, EA definitely didn’t care about this game. It’s awful to me.

      • Dave3979

        I don’t anyone is blaming people not getting into UFC. Video game wise it’s a valid point that boxing games are simpler to just pick up and bang away. UFC is more complex due to the many different locks, chokes and counters. FUN is a major factor in people buying games.

  • J.money

    i swear i think it the controls that killed this game for me.Submissions don’t work.Stuffing take downs dont work its to much like fight night i love ufc3 the flick controls if u was on the ground made ground game better.the CAF on this new UFC is junk game face makes u look like a old man it never matches the Gameface Online to the game but it seems once u do the career mode the game dies

  • Jay Hawk

    Initially I was excited when I first heard about the game. Then I played the demo.

    1. Kicks and punches lack that oomph, unlike Fight Night.

    2. Way too many combinations to learn. My son and I grew quite bored and disenchanted with the training exercises. Too many finger gymnastics for this old gamer.

    I wish EA would go all in with a new tennis game. It’s sorely lacking on the new consoles. Grand Slam Tennis 2 wasn’t horrible and if they could expand the roster, I think it would sell well.

  • hungryandrew

    Gee, I didn’t know that this was coming………………..

  • hungryandrew

    In short stop making sports games geared to the casuals, which in the end alienates the die hard fans of the sport.

  • Roderigo

    I think jumping to conclusions after only 2 weeks of sales data is a bit unfair. In comparison to the rest of the month, which included 30 days for Mario Kart (Mario = $$$), Minecraft (again Minecraft = $$$) and Watch Dogs which was on five consoles, EA UFC didn’t do that bad.

    It probably would have made more sense to write up something on EA UFC once we get July sales numbers. Give the game a full month to determine if it was a success.

    Why no one is up in arms that MLB The Show didn’t make it to the Top Ten of June? In 10 weeks, it has sold 283,000 copies on PS4, while EA UFC has sold over 206,000 copies in 4 weeks on PS4. (source = http://www.vgchartz.com/yearly/2014/USA/)

    Also, you say that EA dropped the ball releasing World Cup on PS3/360. Fine, it didn’t do well in NA but it is still a top seller on a weekly basis in Europe. Also, their FUTWC mode was a massive success and the money they got from that will more than make-up for what they might have lost.

    Again, you should really do some research before writing a speculation piece. 30 minutes of research can make a world of difference.

    • Keith.

      Sorry, but I’ve got to correct some of this nonsense.

      2010 FIFA World Cup for PS3 sold 1.18 million (280,000 in North America)
      2010 FIFA World Cup for 360 sold 830,000 globally (300,000 in North America)
      2010 FIFA World Cup for PSP sold 430,000 globally (90,000 in North America)
      2010 FIFA World Cup for Wii sold 410,000 globally (220,000 in North America)

      Total Sales: 2,788,000 globally (890,000 in North America)

      In comparison,
      2014 FIFA World Cup for PS3 has sold 400,000 (60,000 in North America)
      2014 FIFA World Cup for 360 has sold 260,000 (70,000 in North America)

      Total Sales: 660,000 globally (130,000 in North America)

      http://www.vgchartz.com/gamedb/?name=fifa+world+cup

      In other words, 2014 FIFA World Cup is pulling in about the same numbers as 2010 did on PSP and Wii.

      You’ve got to be wearing pretty dark EA blinders to not see why those comparison numbers are terrible. (And no, FIFA World Cup definitely has not been “a top seller on a weekly basis in Europe,” as you claim.)

      As for The Show, it’s now sold 310,000 for PS4 in North America, which is not bad at all when you consider that Madden 25 on PS4 in North America is sitting at only 550,000. Add the extra 230,000 copies sold on PS3 and the 50,000 sold on Vita, and The Show is closing in on 600,000 just as the price cuts are starting to appear.

      http://www.vgchartz.com/gamedb/?name=mlb&publisher=&platform=&genre=&minSales=0&results=200

      As for your UFC argument, it’s North American sales on PS4 have dropped from 134,000 (week 1) to 40,000 (week 2) to 17,000 (week 3) to 13,000 (week 4). On XBone, it’s even worse with week 4 sales of 7,000.

      http://www.vgchartz.com/game/73105/ea-sports-ufc/USA/

      No need to wait until the end of July to know the game’s a massive sales disappointment for EA.

      • luis flores

        The show? That’s not own by EA.

    • Keith.

      Since you called out Pasta for not waiting until the end of July, I figure you’ll appreciate this update. Things are looking even worse for both UFC and FIFA World Cup in the newest weekly data (week ending July 19):

      UFC for PS4 (6,975) and FIFA WC for X360 (5,789) both sold fewer copies this week than NBA 2k14 on the 360 (7,152), a game that’s been out for 42 weeks. Meanwhile, UFC for XBone came in 50th place and didn’t even have its sales numbers reported.

      http://www.vgchartz.com/weekly/41840/USA/

    • roland

      No matter how you slice it, this game was a bad look for UFC. They’re not happy at all, bad word of mouth is terrible for company’s brand.

  • Ian John

    I loved EA’s MMA title before this. I was really hoping this would be good. After reading early reviews and hearing early impressions it seems as if the only think EA tried to put any effort into was graphics. They need to realize gameplay is what draws people, even casual fans, into a game. A casual fan isn’t going to play a game that no one else is playing.

    • http://pastapadre.com/ pastapadre

      “A casual fan isn’t going to play a game that no one else is playing.”

      BINGO! That’s exactly it. Not sure why EA hasn’t realized this.

  • Dave3979

    Well simple math would tell you that if they put out the game for ps3/360 they would at least have doubled their sales. I would’ve bought a 360 version of the game (still don’t have a next gen console).

    But I also think many people took a wait and see attitude, knowing how bad these games can be upon release. Poor reviews likely caused people to (quickly) lose any interest. Now more than ever you never get a second chance to make a first impression!

  • weareallfools

    Make Fight Night Champion 2 on PS4 & watch the numbers soar!!!!

  • clubsteve

    all they had to do was tweak mma, and it would have done better…smh. there aren’t as many casual fans for ufc as boxing, so i’m not sure why EA went this route.

  • Colin Trainor

    EA and UFC made countless mistakes when putting out this game. You create a nearly unplayable controller layout game based on a niche sport, but you market the game towards casuals. Confusing to say the least. Further more the game is so lacking in features and gameplay when compared to even the first THQ UFC game. A lot of the commentary for EA UFC is from 2009 despite the fact they’ve claimed they don’t use anything from THQ. The commentary I find particularly offensive as an MMA fan. Can you imagine playing another current sports title that’s commentary was FIVE YEARS behind. The unacceptable is simply par for the course when it comes to this game.

  • HeatFan786

    EA did a horrible job on UFC anyways. At first, I got it for $45, and then price matched it down to $25, but still didn’t feel comfortable w/ the price and traded it in for $35.

  • Ron

    ***Fight Night Champion 2 PS4….with a deep create you own fighter feature..maybe custom ring entrance music..and Im sold

  • roland

    I’ve said time and time again, the asinine decision to appeal to non ufc fans and tailor the game to more arcade style players was soooo wrong. They would never tailor Madden to arcade style players, if gamers want to throw 90 yd passes and kick 80 yard field goals then you just can’t do that in madden because that’s not realistic, so why put unrealistic things in UFC and think we’d like that. I’m glad it bombed, the next one should be a lot better.

  • Demo

    The Demo was the best option.

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