While Rock Band and FIFA 09 stole the headline (and let's not overlook Need for Speed Undercover selling 5.2 million copies), EA's new IPs were also battling an unpredictable market this past holiday. Unfortunately, both Dead Space and Mirror's Edge lost -- or, got lost in the traditionally crowded end-of-year release splurge. Neither game made EA's "highlight" reel, and both were tucked away in a carefully disguised statement of defeat: "Dead Space, Mirror's Edge, Madden NFL 09 and NBA Live 09 each sold over one million copies." Consider that Dead Space and Mirror's Edge's development costs surely far exceeded those of EA's perennial sports installments (not to mention, EA's trio of top sellers mentioned above) and it's easy to qualify the new IPs as underperformers.
Going by the sales figures, at 1.8 million units sold, Left 4 Dead isn't exactly a standout either -- but it does go down in EA's "win" column. As an EA Partners game, Left 4 Dead didn't cost EA development bucks; and while that means a lesser share of gross revenue, the game's decent sales performance has likely equaled greater profit for EA compared to the results of its new, in-house IP.
Where does EA go from here? Well, a "new" Dead Space game can signal one of two things: (a) EA is confidently moving forward with its plan to build compelling, new franchises; or (b) EA is morphing its compelling, new franchises into redundant, tired formulas. If the latter, don't blame EA. Our money does the dictating. EA just follows along.
Source - EA Q3 2009 Earnings Conference Call Script [PDF]