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Geez, NHL Series in Trouble with Investors?

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This from the shareholders prepared comments:

files.shareholder.com/downloads/ERTS/3397620249x0x915011/461669C0-8E76-4E66-8372-FF2E27A5D2CB/Q2_FY17_Prepared_Remarks.pdf

Absolutely no mention of the NHL series. In a nutshell, Investor relations is reporting that the Ultimate Team features across all sports series are profitable and trending upwards.

The way I read this is simple. If you hate the game, and want to bring about change. Stop buying HUT packs, plain a simple. Your voice will be heard when it comes to the bottom line with the stock holders who only care about profit margin.

Replies

  • Counterpoint: Or. Stop buying those packs, the game ceases to be profitable, they sink the franchise entirely.

    I am all in support of voting with your wallet, but be prepared: the outcome may not be the one you hoped for.
    Dad. Gamer. Rocker. Geek.
  • Its disappointing but not entirely surprising that NHL is not mentioned specifically... PGA Golf isn't either. I assume these are somewhat "fringe" games/franchises, especially from a financial standpoint.
    Dad. Gamer. Rocker. Geek.
  • That's some serious food for thoughts.
  • IceLion68
    1150 posts Member
    edited December 2016
    Assisted_6 wrote: »
    You really think if EA wasn't in the picture that another company wouldn't swoop in immediately to start making a new one?

    I dont actually. Do you ? Honestly? It would be a difficult sell to the executives. How do you pitch a sports game when the company who had a monopoly on it failed to make any money.
    Dad. Gamer. Rocker. Geek.
  • sgiz1
    537 posts Member
    At this point, after continuing to buy it year after year waiting for EA to fix the skating and vision control I'd rather it sink leaving a void, 2K may get back in the game if they would have the only game in town. The EA NHL series is dying an excruciating death, all do to TPS and bad vision control.
  • The thing is 2K (who has the NHL license BTW with 2 Mobile NHL games), isn't interested in making a hockey game for any other platform. Technically, any other company could talk to the NHL and scoop up a license to make a hockey videogame. But I don't think any of them would really have the experience or willingness to make a full fledged NHL game like EA or 2K did.

    The only thing I could pull out from that report is that the UT formula (whether you hate it or love it) is here to stay, and it's unlikely to change over much.
  • IceLion68 wrote: »
    Assisted_6 wrote: »
    You really think if EA wasn't in the picture that another company wouldn't swoop in immediately to start making a new one?

    I dont actually. Do you ? Honestly? It would be a difficult sell to the executives. How do you pitch a sports game when the company who had a monopoly on it failed to make any money.

    Yes. Capitalism at work.

    2k is killin with their basketball game. EA tried several times to horn in on that action and failed.

    Somebody would absolutely make a hockey game.

    I doubt EA is going to stop making puck either way.

    They once hit a homerun with hockey....
  • You must unlearn what you have learned!
  • Unless someone left :)
    Dad. Gamer. Rocker. Geek.
  • A company like EA would immediately axe the NHL series if it wasn't turning a profit, much less a profit that is worth the investment.

    Where the issues may come will be with their latest 'engine'. That will take serious investment and with the epic failure of NHL15 for next gen consoles, they will invest to do it right or bail out.
  • Assisted_6 wrote: »
    IceLion68 wrote: »
    Assisted_6 wrote: »
    You really think if EA wasn't in the picture that another company wouldn't swoop in immediately to start making a new one?

    I dont actually. Do you ? Honestly? It would be a difficult sell to the executives. How do you pitch a sports game when the company who had a monopoly on it failed to make any money.

    How did this series fail to make money... it wouldn't still be making the game if it didn't make a profit. The problem is they aren't delivering on a fun game or listening to what the community wants so it's falling apart. Look at this series 5+ years ago, it's Esports worthy as a game if you get the right dev team

    Just because they didn't include everything you wanted doesn't mean they didn't listen to the community. There are many changes that were made to the game that came from community suggestions. There will probably be many more additions to the game because of the feedback the devs are getting from us now.

    Making a good game series is a lot like growing a tree: you plant a seed, you take care of it, nurture it and it will eventually grow into a beautiful, tall, strong tree. Try to cut corners and force it to grow and well...

    1763598-old-ugly-tree.jpg
  • IceLion68 wrote: »
    Counterpoint: Or. Stop buying those packs, the game ceases to be profitable, they sink the franchise entirely.

    I am all in support of voting with your wallet, but be prepared: the outcome may not be the one you hoped for.

    The outcome being a hockey game being cancelled that my team doesn't even buy anymore? Not sure at the point you're trying to make here. If EA wasn't making a hockey game someone would. At this point almost anything would be better.
  • No surprise, I too wish 2k return to hockey.
    a) they had great foundation in 2k10/11 just gave up too soon.
    b) maybe then devs that actually works on the game (and I'm not talking about the marketing guys) gets needed resources to make all their visions real.
    Because lack of ideas or passion for the game is not a problem, money/time is.

    Or sell the game for $19.99, because asking $60 every year for tuning, patch and some content is wrong.
  • Thats a whole nother problem with the game just being a patch from year to year.

    I played fifa 2 years ago, NHL last year. Im never going to buy 2 EA Sports games the same year, and other than Hockey (the greatest sport) I would never buy an annual sports title 2 years in a row. EASports gets $80 from me each year, and theres really nothing they could do to double that.

    EA Builds sports games like manufacturers build cars.
    Come out with a 4 or 5 year plan, with a new car on year 1. Year 2 you change the break lights. Year 3 you tweak the suspension. year 4 you come out with a slightly bigger engine, etc.

    That works with Cars, because we're not going to Honda and buying a Civic every single year. 1 Civic will last you 5 years.

    That DOES NOT work with annual sport video game titles.
    EASHL player
  • VeNOM2099
    3178 posts Member
    edited December 2016
    Assisted_6 wrote: »
    VeNOM2099 wrote: »
    Assisted_6 wrote: »
    IceLion68 wrote: »
    Assisted_6 wrote: »
    You really think if EA wasn't in the picture that another company wouldn't swoop in immediately to start making a new one?

    I dont actually. Do you ? Honestly? It would be a difficult sell to the executives. How do you pitch a sports game when the company who had a monopoly on it failed to make any money.

    How did this series fail to make money... it wouldn't still be making the game if it didn't make a profit. The problem is they aren't delivering on a fun game or listening to what the community wants so it's falling apart. Look at this series 5+ years ago, it's Esports worthy as a game if you get the right dev team

    Just because they didn't include everything you wanted doesn't mean they didn't listen to the community. There are many changes that were made to the game that came from community suggestions. There will probably be many more additions to the game because of the feedback the devs are getting from us now.

    Making a good game series is a lot like growing a tree: you plant a seed, you take care of it, nurture it and it will eventually grow into a beautiful, tall, strong tree. Try to cut corners and force it to grow and well...

    1763598-old-ugly-tree.jpg

    Everyone's is entitled to their opinion, numbers speak for themselves though as to whether this game is really doing as well as you think it is, I don't even need to argue it. If you played NHL 09-12, as opposed to 13-17 it's not even a comparison

    There actually is a comparison, let's check what numbers we have available. Granted, they may not be 100% accurate, but they give us a picture of what the market could be and/or could've been:

    NHL 09:

    cee44dca717f4b91b5029192565db19a.png

    NHL 09 managed to reach 1M units in sales that year, spread out across 4 platforms. BTW, NHL 07 and 08 didn't even manage to come close to those numbers, but it started the NHL franchise going in the direction it is now with the introduction of the skill stick, and back then EA had to contend with NHL 2K which had strong showings since 2K5 all the way up to 2K8. Unfortunately, 2K9 was a disaster (especially the online component) and a lot of the 2K community at that time jumped ships to EA's game to experience EASHL.

    NHL 12:

    a70f9bc614eb4770b183e7f716979c1e.png

    The "Glory" years. By this time, NHL 2K was no more and the number of EA NHL buyers were likely augmented due to part of the hockey community having no game to put under their teeth (there were 1M people who bought NHL 2K10, so the possibility of expansion of the numbers by the EA franchise was there). Nevertheless the game did enjoy it's best year in sales.

    NHL 13:

    69237e843b3d4fa1b28c571ffc4cbb0d.png

    Interestingly, NHL 13 had an even BETTER year in sales than 12 did, even though that year saw the addition of the generally "hated" TPS system. But how could that be?

    NHL 14:

    11ca3d8a44d84b1bb1c6af2d7b430d6e.png

    So now we're starting to see a decline in the sales number. A result of the TPS system driving away customers? Or perhaps it was just that EA's game had basically remained the same for nearly 7 years with very little change in the core mechanics, and people just started to refrain from spending 60$ on a yearly "roster update". Even the boost the EA NHL series saw with the advent of the 2K community jumping ship went "Meh... It's just the same game again, with new rosters and Oh look! New HUT cards... Yaaaaaaaaaawn!"

    NHL 17:

    de6eb73b74df43ae83d9bae635e67dca.png

    Fast foward 3 years later to NHL 17. And after only 3 months, it barely has made 50% of the numbers from previous years. Granted, the Christmas period and subsequent "special sales" period (generally by end of Januray, early February) will generate a few more sales, but NHL 17 will likely not go past the 800K unit mark. But why is that? Is it that the game failed to resonate with it's core audience? Or is there something more going on that we can't see looking at just the current year's numbers?

    Well to answer that, let's take a quick look at (probably) the most hated version of NHL ever released:

    NHL 15:

    25936c98926b4fe6bbcd3722b121359f.png

    So if we remove the LAST-GEN console numbers, NHL 15 on Next Gen did... Pretty well. Actually it did DAMN well for a game that was missing nearly EVERY core feature it had on last gen. But how is that possible? Well generally, the previous year's game(s) will be a factor in generating sales for next year's game. Promise of "improvements" to the core engine also might have enticed some people to give NHL 15 a shot. Mind you, these numbers don't say how many people RETURNED the game when they were disappointed with it. But still, the fact that NHL 15 was so generally hated on next-gen, combined with the fact that NHL 16, although re-introducing the EASHL component, did away with some key core components, like the player attribute customization that had been a part of the series since NHL 13 I believe.... All those things could have factored in to give NHL 17 less than stellar numbers.

    Even though, by all accounts, NHL 17 is a much better game than NHL 15 and at least slightly better than NHL 16. Yet the sales numbers don't show that... I'd like to come back during summer 2017 and checking the final sales numbers and see if my prediction that it will hit around 800K sales will be a reality.

    The fact remains though the I think NHL 17 is seeing a decline in sales due to the fans simply tired of the yearly updates that don't add up to being 60$ purchase worthy. Couple that with the fans that felt burned by Next-Gen NHL 15 bare bones approach (we still don't have Online Franchise, Lobbies, no more "Be a Pro" -it's not the same as it was-, etc) and yep; EA's NHL series is in trouble, but not as much as you'd think.

    I think this year will turn things around as there's enough of a solid foundation for them to build on. As long as they don't mess it up, I think the next coming years the game will do better again.
  • djneohockey
    721 posts Member
    edited December 2016

    Yeah, agree.
    The problem for me personally is that from NHL 13 the game improvements are unbelievable slow.
    If there's not graphic update (mainly just in resolution anyway) and puck physics (which I appreciate most) and awesome sliders this year, the game is just basically the same.
    How is that possible?

    Same gameplay mechanics, same rough presentation. Yes same goalies (ai, can't speak about human controlled)

    So the answer is, there is not enough people working on the game for AAA title. Cool, but then the price needs to reflect that.

    No surprise people feels cheated and frustrated.

    I would rather go the other way tho= give the producers more programmers, animators, engineers, so they can work on the game.

    You see Ben is here whole days, nights, weekends. He's on our GC chat with other producers basically 247, talking about the ideas and feedback from the forums. But with given resources, don't expect miracles :(
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