EA Sports has caused a stir following the announcement that UEFA Euro 2012 will be available on download only.
A boxed version has been decided against, due to their other top titles still holding their ground in the charts, and the fear of overkill.
Last summer’s Fifa 2012 is still selling in high numbers, as it does every year, while the new Fifa Street has also flown off shelves since its release earlier this year. The inevitable release of Fifa 2013 later in the year was enough to convince EA that another hard copy from the Fifa franchise wasn’t necessary.
Instead, their new edition, which will coincide with this summer’s European Championships in Ukraine and Poland, will be available as a downloadable extra to the current Fifa game.
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Although understandable, the decision will be met by disappointment from the world’s top gaming stores, and it’s not surprising why when looking at the past versions’ successes.
Going back as far as 2004 with the Euro 2004 edition, Fifa kept their game in the top five of the charts for six weeks, bringing in significant revenue for the chains, especially across Europe.
2006’s Germany World Cup game fared even better still, staying at the number one spot for the whole month during the tournament. In 2010, South Africa’s World Cup release achieved similar heights and remained in the top five for over two months – only being dislodged by the much revered Red Dead Redemption.
2008 brought the most disappointing return for EA, only reaching a high of number 8 in the charts. However, England’s failure to qualify for the tournament may have had a huge bearing on the anomaly, and the new game should expect to produce much better sales.
While the change in tactics won’t necessarily affect EA, who will be happy to rely on the online tendencies of their customers, this news has come as a big blow to the High Street Retail sector. They are still trying to stabilise in general following the likes of GAME’s recent financial crisis and subsequent takeover.