Anthem has topped the UK’s physical sales chart since its ‘official’ launch on Friday last week. Ostensibly that’s good news, but the full picture is rather more complicated.
Anthem is BioWare’s first UK number one since Mass Effect: Andromeda, according to GfK Chart-Track. And industry analyst Daniel Ahmad says Andromeda sold “more than double” Anthem’s numbers, and further that Andromeda itself sold “nearly half” its predecessor, Mass Effect 3. More embarrassing still, Ahmad says Anthem “sold around 10%” of the numbers that Destiny managed to shift in its first week. Destiny 2, of course, is probably Anthem’s biggest competitor.
Another analyst adds that Anthem is so far “performing quite a bit below my expectations and far short of other ‘loot shooters’ in the genre. Substantially below titles like Destiny 1 / 2, and The Division.”
We must add the caveat that so far, this is all based on physical sales, which have been a sharply declining slice of overall sales in recent years and certainly since Destiny’s launch way back in 2014.
Indeed, at the start of the year, the Entertainment Retailers Association estimated that as much as 80% of UK gaming revenue is now digital. Add to this the fact that EA’s digital programmes have featured Anthem prominently, and it’s far too early to say that Anthem is a flop. Nevertheless, these initial figures are hardly encouraging for EA or BioWare.
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Anthem’s reviews have not given the best endorsement so far, and perhaps this has had something to do with the tepid sales. I gave it a six, and while I feel that’s reflective of where the game is right now, it has a solid foundation in its mechanics, awesome javelins, and gorgeous looks. It just needs more and more enjoyable things to do, so here’s hoping BioWare has something like that planned.