Electronic Arts and Activision's recent mismanagement of their big first-person shooter IPs could contribute to another month of terrible software sales for the game industry, according to analyst Michael Pachter.
The Danger Close Games-developed Medal of Honor: Warfighter, EA's major release for October, was the most poorly reviewed game from the publisher since 2004's Catwoman, picking up an average Metacritic score of 51.
And coming off the well-received reboot for the GoldenEye 007 series in recent years, Activision and Eurocom's latest James Bond game 007 Legends fared even worse than Warfighter last month, earning a 45 Metacritic average review score.
Predicting lower than expected sales for those titles due to the poor reviews, Wedbush Morgan's Pachter expects investors will "once again see horrible software sales results [for October], and will once again conclude that the video game industry is in a state of persistent decline."
EA admitted during an earnings call last week that it's disappointed with the critical reception and sales for Warfighter. EA Labels president Frank Gibeau said, "Our internal testing and mock reviews indicated that the game is better than the actual score that we have right now, and we believe that it is."
"However, we are seeing some folks out there that just don't like the game. We believe that it's going to find an audience," he added. Despite its poor reviews, Warfighterwas the top-selling game when it debuted in the UK two weeks ago. 007 Legends was the 12th best-selling game there in its opening week.
Pachter comments, "Games of poor quality stand out in an era when the publishers release so few games overall, and it is especially disheartening to see two of our three outperform-rated publishers deliver such disappointing content."
He notes there were two solid releases from major releases last month that likely sold well, Bethesda Softworks' Dishonored (88 on Metacritic) and Take-Two's XCOM (89 on Metacritic), but says their numbers likely weren't enough to match against October 2011's blockbusters Battlefield 3 and Arkham City.