EA's decision to sign an exclusive deal with Microsoft for Titanfall is one that has not only been met with controversy, but also arguably cost them millions of sales of their biggest new IP. A lot of money was handed under the table, that's for certain. The question is, will EA make the same mistake twice?
During the latest recording of Pach-Attack, Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter weighed in on whether or not he thinks Titanfall 2 will continue to be Xbox and PC exclusive. His answer was not only direct but sheds some light on why EA pursued such a deal. He said:
I think this might be the last exclusive you see for a long long time that's third party. I think [EA], had they known at the time when they made they made the decision to go exclusive Xbox, had they known that the Xbox One was going to be $100 more than the PS4 I think they wouldn't have done it. I think that they believe that Microsoft was going to kick Sony's butt this cycle.
Affordability is immensely important in this day and age. Microsoft's announcement a year ago that the Xbox One would be $499 must have stopped the heartbeats of EA management.
Pachter continued with a startling discovery:
I am quoting John Riccitiello (former EA CEO) back in 2012 who told me that he thought that Microsoft was going to eat Sony's lunch the next cycle. But we all thought so because we thought that Xbox 360 had a large, loyal install base and multiplayer and we thought that Sony would price [the PS4] about the same as the Xbox, but we didn't think Xbox One would be $500. I frankly thought they were both going to be 400 and the possibility that the Xbox One would be 350. I thought Microsoft might be that bold. They made a mistake and they priced too high and I think that caught everybody by surprise. So I haven't talked to John Riccitiello about this since, but it's pretty clear that at a $100 price advantage Sony is going to beat out Xbox until the price is the same.
So what it comes down to is several parties thought the Xbox One would destroy the PS4 in sales before their price points and hardware were announced. Unfortunately, things haven't panned out. The PS4 has already outsold the Xbox One by more than a million units, and "ate Microsoft's lunch" during January.
Microsoft's decision to include the Kinect 2.0 has not only increased the barrier of entry for consumers, but placed risk on publishers as well. Titanfall would fare a lot better by being available to the 82 million PS3 and 5 million PS4 owners around the world. Unfortunately, it'll have to settle with less than half of that.
Titanfall is one of the biggest releases of 2014. Microsoft is certainly happy to have struck such a titanic deal with EA, but Sony-exclusive gamers are left out in the cold. Thankfully, a Titanfall 2 is a very likely prospect, and unless Microsoft can pull off one of the biggest sales jobs in history, it'll be a game that PS4 owners can enjoy.