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EA's Shooter Looter Game Anthem Disappoints, Hurts Stock

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Electronic Arts’ (EA - Free Report) much-awaited shooter looter game Anthem has received lukewarm response from critics as well as players.

Before its official release date, the full game was available for some players from Feb 15. Per TechCrunch, the demo version was a botched up effort from the company. Notably, following the game’s early release on Feb 15, the stock has tumbled 10.3%.

Anthem enables players to play in a team of four and take the role of Freelancers. To boost user engagement, the players get to put on a suit called “javelin” and use their unique abilities to fight enemies. Further, players can loot new guns and gadgets and improve their javelin.

EA stated that the game will come out with new missions and rewards within the next 90 days of the release. Further, the inclusion of Cataclysm, a world-changing event holds promise for the game.

Major Flaws in the Early Release

The early release of Anthem was plagued with serious flaws, which resulted in the underperformance of the game. Notably, the PC version of Anthem had an average critic score of 61 out of 100 on Metacritic compared to Apex Legends score of 88.

The players had to witness a long load time while teleporting to their teammates or deploying new guns or finishing a particular mission. Frequent and long load times made players lose interest in the game.  

Moreover, the game also suffered from a complicated user interface (UI) and under-explained tutorials. The players were also disappointed with the technical bugs, which made it impossible for them to quit missions or join other people’s missions. Further, low quality loot and weapons failed to spike user interest in the game.

Competition Intensifies

EA is going through a rough time, which is evident from its disappointing third-quarter fiscal 2019 results. Underperformance of Battlefield V and Command & Conquer: Rivals impacted the top line in the last-reported quarter.

Sluggish performance of Anthem can take a toll on the company’s results in the near term. Additionally, EA faces intensifying competition from the likes of Activision (ATVI - Free Report) and Take Two Interactive (TTWO - Free Report) .

Notably, Take Two’s Sid Meier's Civilization VI: Gathering Storm and Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey are expected to give stiff competition to Anthem. Moreover, robust performance of Activision’s shooter looter Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 does not bode well for EA.

Zacks Rank & Stock to Consider

EA currently holds a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

A better-ranked stock in the broader consumer-discretionary sector is Crocs, Inc. (CROX - Free Report) , which currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

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