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Medal of Honor sales not hurt by Taliban controversy

David Hughes's picture

EA's recent financial report has brought with it the latest Medal of Honor sales figures.

Though one could successfully argue that the first-person shooter genre is over-saturated at the moment - particularly in the 'military' sub-genre, the big publishers continue to ply the market. Activision clearly dominates the market with its Call of Duty franchise, and THQ is readying something quite interested with the upcoming Homefront, but EA made a gamble that October 2010 was the right time to dust off their troubled Medal of Honor franchise - even taking DICE away from post-release support of the successful Battlefield: Bad Company 2 to design the game's multi-player component.

When the game first released, much of the media attention was focused on the 'controversy' surrounding the inclusion of the Taliban as playable characters in the multi-player. At the time, HULIQ News took the position that much of it was overblown, though there was some concern about potential boycotts of the game and the ban on its sale at military bases. EA, in fact, ultimately caved to the public pressure - something which disappointed game critics who had hoped for a 'serious' discussion on contemporary political affairs in video games - but their decision appears to have been the right one financially.

Post-launch, the first sales figures came in early November when EA revealed that it had sold 2 million copies of the multi-platform game. This was considered at the time to be enough for the title to turn a profit, though considerably weaker than titles like Halo: Reach and Call of Duty: Black Ops, which sold 3.5 million and 5.5 million units respectively in their first day on store shelves. Even more importantly, critical feedback for the game surveyed by HULIQ at the time was very mixed - and continues to be so. The single-player campaign is cited for failing to deliver its advertised 'realism' in terms of actual gameplay, and the multi-player features player health-pools that are very small - resulting in a lot of cheap deaths. For what it's worth, the aggregator Metacritic currently lists the title between 72-75 depending on the platform.

After a month, Medal of Honor was clearly not a flop, but its ultimate success remained unclear. With the turn of the next financial quarter, however, EA has updated sales results for the game, claiming sales of 5 million units to date. This has surprised HULIQ News and is certainly a good sign for the future direction of the franchise. Michael Pachter of Wedbush Morgan Securities was also surprised by the news, saying that he had expected EA to report 3.5 million units for the game.

The franchise clearly has a long way to go to compete with Call of Duty, but with Battlefield: Bad Company 2 also exceeding 5 million units, EA has nearly equaled Activision's share of the popular military FPS genre.

Further updates may come at the end of the current financial quarter, but HULIQ News is tracking the story and will update if further details become available sooner.

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