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HULIQ projects Fight Night Champion sales to not exceed 2 million

David Hughes's picture

EA’s latest boxing title Fight Night Champion is the first M-rated game in the company’s sports history and sales results will suffer compared to its predecessors.

Despite the rise of mixed martial arts and the downfall of boxing as the premier sport for hand-to-hand combat in the United States, EA Sports’ Fight Night franchise continues to receive strong critical acclaim and modest commercial success. The latest in the franchise, Fight Night Champion is an interesting experiment in sports gaming – presenting a strong single-player narrative and a level of gritty violence that has earned it an ‘M’ rating from the ESRB.

The rise of a boxer’s career lends itself very well to narratives, as the vast number of boxing movies can attest, but the presence of a strong narrative in a sports game is not necessarily a selling-point. Such games’ attractions are a ‘pick up and play’ style of entertainment; deep narratives are best left to other genres. That said, the ultimate measure of this experiment will be the game’s commercial success (or lack thereof).

Another ‘experimental’ feature of Fight Night Champion is its M-rating, a first in the history of EA Sports. A focus on grittier realism as well as the seedy underworld of the boxing business has earned the game this stamp, but HULIQ believes the impact of this on the game’s commercial success will be modest. Younger gamers whose purchasing decisions are affected by the ESRB ratings are probably not into boxing, with the real draw being MMA. The vast majority of those gamers interesting in a boxing title should be old enough to purchase an M-rated game, if they so desire.

Best estimates for the sales of the previous entry (Fight Night Round 4) in the franchise indicate a combined (PS3 and Xbox 360) 3 million units from a launch date of June 25th, 2009. Despite releasing tomorrow, however, pre-order data compiled by HULIQ indicates a very soft launch for Fight Night Champion. It is not immediately clear why the game has not seen higher demand, but marketing for the game has not been especially strong. The March 1st release window also comes after the high-profile releases of Bulletstorm and Killzone 3 - two games which likely have a fair degree of cross-over audience with Fight Night.

HULIQ projects that six-month sales for the game will be around 800,000 units (a projection shared by Wedbush’s Michael Pachter). Despite the lack of pre-orders, critical feedback is largely positive, so a ‘long tail’ sales scenario, supported by heavy price cuts, is entirely possible. This would see first-year totals nudging 1.75 million, but under 1.5 million is more likely. Lifetime sales will have a hard time cracking 2 million.

Comments

Submitted by John Ten (not verified) on
Champion is the result of EA completely ignoring true Fight Night fan and top ranked players and drove it to the ground. I am NOT at all surprised why the sales figure went down to the toilet. One thing Fight Night Champion is good at, being the #1 ranked, money greedy EA, true fan hated top list. EA servers had serious issues during ranked games, obnoxious players knowing they're about to loose and disconnect and not get a loss. What have EA done about it? Absolutely nothing. When a game company takes your money and just ignore you, they'll abandon you. If Champion was the result of all the complaints, then maybe. But this garbage? I am not surprised Champion sold less than 1/3 that of FNR4.

Submitted by Pedro (not verified) on
Do some research, you'll quickly find almost the majority of boxing's demographics are under the age of 36. Ad agencies still consider boxing to be among the top sports for reaching the youth. Check out PPV rankings and see that all of the top 6 US PPV buys belonged to boxing. Consider that Manny-JMM 3 was watched by 100 million people between the Philippines and Mexico alone. David Haye vs Wlad was watched by 500 million people around the world. Worst of all through 2011 the UFC's PPV buys have started to crash and burn. They've gone from averaging 500-600k PPV buys ... to considering anything over 300k to be a miracle. The company has experienced a literal 50% drop in sales. It's clearly on the way out. Premier combat sport by a$$. Boxing's still number one and the world knows it.

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