MCV Investigates: How FIFA conquered the UK

Christopher Dring
MCV Investigates: How FIFA conquered the UK

FIFA 13 is not just the fastest-selling game in the EA Sports series to date – it is also the most profitable.

In just two days, the game sold over 1.23m copies in the UK alone. That’s an increase of 27 per cent over last year’s record-breaking FIFA 12.

FIFA 13 also accounted for a staggering 71 per cent of all games sold last week, while FIFA 12 accounted for 62 per cent. It is further proof that the big triple-A games are just getting bigger.

But while FIFA unit sales are up 27 per cent year-on-year, revenue is up even further, rising 31 per cent over FIFA 12. This is partly due to a lack of severe discounting from online retailers and supermarkets. Sainsbury’s went lowest at £34.99, which is £20 below the RRP, but that’s still some way off from the sub-£30 prices that the market has seen in previous years.

That’s not to say retailers didn’t play their part in FIFA’s enormous success. Tesco had what it describes as its ‘biggest in-store launch’. The game was sold in many of its smaller, local Express outlets, and was even available to buy in 150 of its petrol stations.

GAME held a series of special FIFA launch events featuring West Ham footballer Kevin Nolan and Newcastle defender Ryan Taylor. Meanwhile, HMV got involved, too, with a special Gamerbase area dedicated FIFA at the company’s flagship Oxford Street store.

DEVELOPMENT QUALITY
With thousands of retailers on side, EA's best of breed in-house marketing, PR and development teams sealed the deal. The firm began its ad campaign earlier than before, while there was even a press conference to announce the game’s cover stars.

But full credit has to go to the development team. FIFA 13 is a critical smash, with a 90 Metacritic score on Xbox 360. Meanwhile, FIFA producer David Rutter says response to the game’s demo was ‘embarrassingly gushing with praise’.

“We’ve got the very best people in the world at what they do. And they’re all football fans and gamers. And by nature, football fans and gamers are competitive people,” said Rutter.

“We’ve also got a year to make our game and the goal that we are trying to get to within that year is extremely clear. So we have competitive, highly skilled people in quite a pressured environment with a very clear goal. That makes for quite a special combination.”

It just goes to show that when every area of the games industry – from development to publishing to retail – performs at this level, the results can be staggering for everyone.

FIFA BY NUMBERS

£50.7m
The amount of money FIFA 13 generated in just two days in the UK. That’s 80 per cent of the entire market value last week

90
FIFA 13’s Metacritic score on Xbox 360

150
The amount of Tesco petrol stations that sold FIFA 13 last week

27%
FIFA 13’s unit sales for its opening weekend was up 27 per cent over FIFA 12

4
FIFA 13 was No.1 on four platforms – PS3, 360, Wii and PS2. It was No.2 on Vita, No.3 on PC and No.4 on 3DS

39
Chart-Track does not publish a weekly PS2 chart. However, FIFA 13 on PlayStation 2 was the 39th best selling individual game across all consoles last week. It is also the 13th main FIFA game to be released on Sony’s 12 year-old games console

 

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Tags: Electronic Arts , GAME , Retail , tesco , ea , fifa , launch , fifa 13

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