Anthem went down like a lead balloon amongst critics when it launched last month, scoring a dismal 60/100 on aggregation site Metacritic. It could be worse, but for BioWare, it’s a low point.
For the most part, the user reception has been similarly negative, with disgruntled players leaving their own low-scoring reviews too. Further afield, across other forums of the internet, the consensus among players is generally the same: Anthem is very flawed.
Of course, the game has its fanbase. We shouldn’t forget that for every dissatisfied player voicing their frustration, there’s probably 10 that are quietly enjoying themselves.
Actually, it’s probably a much greater ratio based on the revenue that Anthem generated in its launch month.
Indeed, despite all the angry rhetoric about Anthem being a terrible video game, and all the doom-mongers writing BioWare off as next in line for studio closure, the sales numbers are overwhelmingly positive.
Both at retail and via digital sales, as well as post-sale digital transactions, BioWare’s Anthem has absolutely smashed it.
Days ago the NPD Group revealed that Anthem was the best-selling game of February in the US, which includes both retail and digital sales for the region. Today, research analysts SuperData have Anthem as the third highest-grossing console game in February, trailing only Fortnite and FIFA 19, which are two of the most lucrative video game IPs in the industry.
“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.”
In-game spending is a key takeaway, because as much as you can chalk up Anthem’s strong sales to high purchase intent before launch, it’s surprising to see just how much gamers are willing to spend beyond their $60 purchase even on a game that supposedly isn’t at all good.
It’s also somewhat confusing. Are we to understand that the vast majority of players think Anthem wasn’t actually all that bad and are happy to spend additional money on it?
Maybe they don’t really care if it isn’t very good and spending money on in-game purchases is just a matter of course. Or maybe the $3.5 million is mostly comprised of wealthy players, so-called ‘whales’ that support the microtransaction economy.
It’s difficult to get a read on what the data tells us about consumer spending habits.
What we can say for certain is that EA and BioWare’s relationship certainly won’t be under any strain if Anthem can keep posting those sorts of revenue figures.
The task for BioWare is to make sure the post-launch content comes thick and fast to keep that ecosystem thriving.