In celebration of the release of their new title, EA Dice recently hosted a launch party in Stockholm, Sweden for the development staff behind Battlefield V. At one point during the celebration, EA Dice projected upon a large screen a graphic which seemingly mocks the fans who complained about the game’s direction:
The comments surrounding the featured hashtag read “Feminism ruins everything, feminazies [sp] are trying to rewrite history!”, “Genderfield 5!”, “What the f*** was [sp] the developers thinking!”, “White men! White men! White men!”, and “Did my grandfather storm the beaches of Normandy for this?!”
Battlefield V has been rife with controversy since it’s initial announcement. Announced as an immersive World War II experience, EA Dice revealed that the game would instead focus more on ‘fun’ and ‘diversity’ than historical accuracy, much to the dismay of players. In response to these criticisms and complaints, EA Dice’s then Chief-Design-Officer Patrick Soderlund infamously told players in an interview with Gamasutra that players had the options to “accept it or don’t buy the game”.
Though EA Dice may be confident enough in their product to openly mock detractors, the numbers concerning Battlefield V may prove that this smug confidence is undeserved. At about a month before release the pre-order numbers for Battlefield V were behind a competing game, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, by 85%, leading analysts to warn that the game may be a ‘serious disappointment’ and also ‘put the company’s financial guidance at risk’. Even after EA noted that they would be making changes to the game in order to improve authenticity, these numbers were not seeing significant changes.
The game also saw discounts of up to 50% off during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, less than one week after the game’s release. While discounts on new titles during these shopping events are not uncommon, it is rare to see such a heavy discount for a recently released game (competing games Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 and Red Dead Redemption II’’s lowest sale prices were both $40 during the same sales event).
Despite releasing directly prior to Black Friday, Battlefield V sales were down 63% compared to its predecessor, Battlefield 1 (it is important to note that these sales charts only account for physical sales and do not include digital sales). The forecast for future sales does not hold much hope as critics give Battlefield V less than stellar reviews. Variety notes that Battlefield V “is an unfinished game”, Digital Trends noting that the game has “some pretty glaring faults”, and Eurogamer emphatically noting that it’s “the glitchiest, most technically troubled DICE’s sandbox multiplayer has been since the infamous launch of Battlefield 4, and even the launch itself is all over the place.” (The Eurogamer review was so disappointing to EA that an EA employee supposedly attempted to directly leap to Battlefield V’s defense).
EA also has yet to deliver the widely touted Firestorm mode (a Battle Royale-type mode in the vein of Fortnite). This mode, delayed for 5 months after launch as the team needed extra development time, could sway public opinion if delivered competently. However, judging by the initial release and reception, Firestorm’s release could be too little too late.
EA is already celebrating the release of Battlefield V as a major victory against ‘gamers’ and ‘toxicity’, but the factual data that is publicly available paints a very different picture. As sales returns come in far under projection and reviewers continue to point out the frustrating lack of polish, Battlefield V is on track to be a massive failure for the video gaming giant. It seems that when an audience comes to a game for a more authentic experience, they don’t want to be given a Fornite-esque aesthetic in a historic military setting.