The release of Medal of Honor: Warfighter is a big set back for EA in its goal of overtaking Activision to be the leading publisher of first-person shooters, Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter has said in a research note published today.
"Warfighter's review scores may have destroyed chances for sequels in the all-important first-person shooter segment of the market," writes Pachter.
"We were surprised that review codes for the game were not distributed ahead of its release, and regret not seeing this as a red flag. We believe EA may have delayed the release of the review codes in order to minimize any negative buzz surrounding the game ahead of its launch, and we think that this strategy backfired, with low reviews "piling on" after the first few reviewers dared to criticize what sounds to us like an average game. We think that low review scores will impair EA's (and the Medal of Honor brand's) reputation with those who pre-ordered the game or bought it as soon as it was released (likely some of EA's most dedicated customers), and believe EA alienated at least a small portion of these gamers.
"Perhaps more importantly, EA has made it clear that it intends to pass Activision's Call of Duty in the first-person shooter category; given the impairment to the Medal of Honor brand, we think EA is unlikely to take Activision's mantle as the leading developer of first-person shooters for several years."
Where as Activision has been able to successfully annualise the Call of Duty franchise, EA opted to alternate between its Battlefield and Medal of Honour IPs. Whilst Battlefield 3 has been a huge success for the publisher, Medal of Honor: Warfighter has failed to build on the moderately successful reboot from 2010, casting serious doubt over the future of the franchise.
Perhaps a return to the Bad Company series, a spin-off from Battlefield, would prove a more successful route to achieve EA's overall goal.