Battlefield V is the first Battlefield game to miss the NPD

V did not finish in the top 10 best-selling games of 2018 in the U.S., according to tracking firm The NPD Group. Instead, the World War II shooter ended up at No. 14. That puts it behind Grand Theft Auto V (11), Mario Kart 8 (12), and FIFA 19 (13).

That makes Battlefield V the first Battlefield game this decade not to crack the NPD’s annual top 10 list. And it means that the game performed closer to Battlefield: Hardline and Bad Company 2 than Battlefield 1, relative to the rest of the software market.

I went back and looked at previous NPD charts, which track physical and digital sales in the United States. Here’s where each Battlefield game ended up on the list from their debut year.

  • 2018: Battlefield V was No. 14
  • 2016: Battlefield 1 was No. 2
  • 2015: Battlefield: Hardline was No. 10
  • 2013: Battlefield 4 was No. 4
  • 2011: Battlefield 3 was No. 4
  • 2010: Battlefield: Bad Company 2 was No. 10

These numbers are all in terms of dollar sales and copies. They also don’t include any sales made on EA’s Origin client. It is also worth noting that Battlefield V is the first game in the series to launch included in the EA Origin Access Premier subscription service from the day of its launch.

I’ve also reached out to EA for a comment.

But without more details from the publisher itself, the NPD data suggests that Battlefield V is not keeping up with its predecessors.

What is going on with Battlefield?

So what happened? Well, Battlefield definitely had a number of PR missteps early on. Some of those were legitimate, like a trailer that fans didn’t love. Others, like including women characters in combat gameplay, caused reactionaries to publicly poop their pants. But how many of them were going to buy anyway?

But Battlefield’s real problem is probably not marketing, it is Fortnite.

Battlefield V launched without a battle royale. Developer DICE has one in the works, but it isn’t dropping until March. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 had its Blackout battle royale ready to go in October, and that game did not miss a beat sales wise.

And without a last-player-standing mode, Battlefield V has struggled to stay in the conversation. Especially when players who would buy the game to play with their friends could just hop into the free-to-play Fortnite.

It’s possible that DICE could still turn the game around with updates and content patches, but — for now — too many other shooters are drowning Battlefield V out.

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