Tag Archives: Anthem

Zero Punctuation does Anthem

Not being a fan of the “loot shooter” sub-genre, when EA launched Anthem it was just “the other game” they released in February along with Apex Legends.  Of course I wasn’t going to play Apex Legends either, but at least it was an interesting diversion in the battle royale genre.

Also, if you Google “Anthem logo” you get a lot of different results.

Used without permission

So I would have ignored Anthem the way I have pretty much ignored Destiny, Borderlands, and The Division, save for the fact that the internet seemed quite obsessed with Anthem.  But it was hard to tell if the game was just bug ridden, something that can theoretically be fixed over time, or a genuinely bad design.  Reviews seemed to not like the design, but couldn’t stop fretting over bugs.  The PC Gamer review probably focused on design more than most, but a lot of the frustration was still about bugs.

Despite a reputation than leans on humor and quick pacing, I think Yahtzee Crowshaw might have the most design-centric review of Anthem, focused pretty much on game play design without a mention of the software problems.  Also, he makes fun of EA, something most of us can get on board with.

 

The upshot was Anthem is BioWare trying to make something that really isn’t in their wheelhouse.  And I would have left it there had there not been the giant How BioWare’s Anthem Went Wrong story over at Kotaku.

Holy moly.  I mean, I’ve lived some of that.  Ill defined goals, misidentified competition, and  corporate dictates about what platform or tools are allowed regardless of their fitness for the current development purpose are all daily occurrences in any larger organization.  I spent most of last summer dealing with the fact that our 2018 continuous integration dictate was not compatible with our  2015 platform dictate, both of which came from some senior exec who either used the same thing at their last company or saw a cool demo and decided to bet the company on it.

But the Anthem story… well, it just shows that when you have an entertainment property there are a lot more ways things can get completely screwed up.

And then there was the EA/BioWare non-response to the article, posted minutes after it was posted, meaning it was a pre-formulated deflection that feels a bit like it is refuting some other article about the game.

All of which I could have ignored, but it seems like a moment in gaming that might be a tipping point for change.  Not good change, of course.  More like EA laying off more BioWare staff or retiring their brand or something.  We shall see.

SuperData Sees Apex Legends Jump in Behind Fortnite

SuperData Research released their chart for February digital sales this week, so we have new data to gaze upon.

SuperData Research Top 10 – February 2019

On the PC end of the chart, the top four remained in the same positions we saw them in January, with League of Legends still in second place.

The interesting bit comes with fifth and sixth place, the race between Fortnite and the newly launched Apex Legends.

Apex Legends was on fire from the moment it launched, heading to a huge number of players very quickly.  SuperData posted a supplementary chart on Twitter about the quick growth of Apex Legends.

SuperData Research time to 50 million downloads

For all that speed and hype however, Fortnite managed to stay ahead of the bright new star of Apex Legends, grabbing fifth place while the new kid ended up in sixth.  Missing completely from the chart is last month’s sixth place finisher, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.  So maybe we know who took the hit on that front.

The rest of the chart is rounded out by World of Tanks, which climbed up a spot to seventh, DOTA 2, which went from tenth last month to eighth, Word of Warcraft, still flagged as “West,” which is down in ninth, and FIFA 19 Online, making its first appearance on the chart in tenth.

Also missing from the PC chart is BioWare’s Anthem, another big February launch.  However, unlike Apex Legends, a lot of what is being said about Anthem is negative.

In the middle on the console chart FIFA 19 and Fortnite held on to first and second place.  Then we have the two big February launches, Anthem and Apex Legends in third and fourth.  Then there is Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, holding on to fifth, keeping it on the upper half of the chart for three months running.  Down the list, Grand Theft Auto V stayed alive another month, clocking in at eighth.

On the mobile chart, the top five stayed the same, with Candy Crush Saga and Pokemon Go swapping positions compared to last month.  Of note is sixth place entry PlayerUnknowns Battlegrounds Mobile, the first time one of the mobile ports of a battle royale title has made the cut.

For comparison, EEDAR also has their list out for February, which mostly combines digital and retail, and which is US only, making it the orange to SuperData’s apple I suppose.

  1. Anthem
  2. Jump Force
  3. Kingdom Hearts III
  4. Far Cry New Dawn
  5. Red Dead Redemption II
  6. Resident Evil 2 2019
  7. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*
  8. Metro: Exodus**
  9. NBA 2K19
  10. Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII**

*No digital data
**No digital data for PC

EEDAR’s report also shows Apex Legends topping the social media impressions, followed by Fortnite, League of Legends, CD:GO and DOTA 2.

Back to SuperData’s report for February, it contained the following supplementary notes on the digital video games market for February 2019.

  • Worldwide digital game spending returns to growth. Consumers spent $8.2 billion on digital games across console, PC and mobile in February, up 2% compared to February last year. Growth came primarily from mobile, which was up 9%. This more than made up for the 6% decline in premium PC, where the market continues to face a tough comparison against sales of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds last year.
  • Apex Legends has the best launch month of any free-to-play game in history. Apex Legends generated an estimated $92 million from in-game spending across all platforms, with the majority coming from console. Despite this, Fortnite still came in above Apex Legends in the top grossing rankings.
  • Anthem makes over $100 million in digital revenue at launch. Anthem was the top-selling title by units on console in February, with an above-average digital download rate. In-game spending came in at $3.5 million across both platforms.
  • Hearthstone takes a sharper downward turn. Hearthstone revenue had its largest year-over-year decline ever this month, dropping 52% across PC and mobile, partly due to heightened competition within the genre and likely franchise fatigue.
  • NBA2K continues its exceptional run. Life-to-date through February, NBA2K19 in-game spending is up an estimated 42% compared to NBA2K18, showing some of the highest growth seen from any mature AAA franchise in recent years.