Analysts dispute GameStop’s Star Wars Battlefront and Halo 5 estimates

GameStop’s assessment of both physical sales of Star Wars Battlefront and digital sales of Halo 5 are incorrect, analysts have argued.

The retailer yesterday said that EA’s Star Wars shooter fell short of expectations, with CEO Tony Bartel saying: We had high expectations that diminished somewhat as it got closer, and then it failed to hit those lowered expectations.”

However, Michael Pachter told CNBC that GameStop has betrayed its lack of understanding of the likely long tail Battlefront will enjoy through Christmas as hype for the film intensifies and more casual fans buy into the game.

"I actually think GameStop managements’ expectations were too high for Star Wars because they failed to anticipate how big of a gift that game will be," he said. "I think the GameStop guys fail to consider that ‘Star Wars’ is a gift game. Grandma is going to give it to little Johnny, period.”

Separately, GameStop has also been criticised for its assertion that Halo 5: Guardians has not enjoyed a stronger than normal digital sales performance.

I think that would be very similar to what we’ve heard in the other titles,” chief financial officer Robert Lloyd said of the game, suggesting that digital sales were in line with the average of between 20 per cent and 25 per cent of total sales.

Added Bartel: Let me reiterate that we constantly talk with platform holders and with publishers, and we have a very good read and understanding of all titles that launched. And we are in full understanding and in full belief that there is no game that was launched this quarter that was materially above a normal digital per cent at launch.”

However, GameSpot reports that analyst Doug Creutz of Cowen & Company has told investors that he believes this information is incorrect and that half of Halo 5’s sales were non-physical.

"We especially have a hard time believing that Halo 5 digital units remain in the 20-25 per cent range, as GameStop management suggested on the call," he stated. "GameStop gave some other potential reasons for the disconnect between NPD data and Microsoft’s post-launch press release, but we don’t believe they are sufficient to explain the size of the gap.

"Industry sources support our belief that Halo 5 digital sales were much closer to half of units.”

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