One week before it hits store shelves, Electronic Arts' Medal of Honor
has racked up more pre-order unit sales than previous entries in the 11-year franchise's history, the company says. According to EA, this brings the title on level with the highest pre-sellers in its portfolio.
The game's multiplayer PC open beta client will be available on October 1, and the beta itself runs from October 4 through October 7. In it, players will be able to check out two new maps based on real-world locations, both of which allow players to compete against each other in 12-player teams.
EA's pointing to "momentum" for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC release as it prepares to try its hand in arguably one of the most high-stakes fall-holiday seasons the first-person shooter genre has yet seen.
Some industry-watchers have viewed uncertainty around the Call of Duty
brand following the Infinity Ward shakeup as a potential opportunity for new contenders. EA has said it aims to take leadership in the category, with Medal of Honor
playing a major role in that effort.
The publisher's announcement of positive signs in Medal of Honor
pre-orders comes just after one analyst suggested
the game "is not developing the level of buzz necessary to knock Call of Duty
off its perch."
Kaufman Bros.' Todd Mitchell expressed concerns that the game's launch timing, sandwiched in between the September 14 release of Halo: Reach
and that of Call of Duty: Black Ops
on November 9 may prove disadvantageous to EA due to the likely overlap in those games' audiences.
Early signs for Activision's Treyarch-developed title are nothing to sneeze at, either -- analysts believe Black Ops
pre-orders are outpacing those of Modern Warfare 2
. And although the title is not expected to top Infinity Ward's performance, analysts say it could sell some 10 to 12 million units
in its first year, an uncommonly good showing.
But EA appears confident, and so do its investors -- right after it revealed the good news on its preorders, the company's shares (Nasdaq: ERTS) rose 3 percent in early trading.