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Are Massive Xbox One 'Titanfall' Sales To Blame For Xbox 360 Game Delay?

The Xbox 360 version of Titanfall, the highly anticipated first-person shooter from Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: EA), has been delayed again.

The game was originally scheduled to ship alongside its Xbox One and PC counterparts on Tuesday, March 11. EA initially delayed the Xbox 360 edition until March 25 in North America and March 28 in Europe.

EA blames the latest delay on a common issue: the game needs a little more polish. But the release date has only been pushed back two weeks to April 8 in North America and April 11 in Europe. That's very little time to improve a game's quality (discs have to be manufactured, shipped to stores, etc.). Serious, game-altering delays must be made months ahead of release. Thus, there could be another reason for the delay.

Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia thinks that the delay was actually caused by better-than-expected sales performance on Xbox One and PC.

"I think the outperformance on Xbox One and PC version makes sense to me," Bhatia told Benzinga. "Whether that ultimately means that that is incremental to 360, time will tell. At the minimum, this announcement tells us everything that we've heard (in terms of what retailers are telling us) still checks out. We saw how this game was number-one in the UK, how it's driving more console sales, etc."

Related: Is Electronic Arts Serious About Virtual Reality?

Exclusivity Unlikely To Remain

The original Titanfall was developed exclusively for Microsoft's various platforms (Xbox One, Xbox 360 and Windows PC). It will never appear on a console developed by Sony or Nintendo.

Titanfall 2 may be a whole other story. EA has not yet committed to developing the game for one exclusive platform.

"It boils down to economics," said Bhatia. "It will be determined by the numbers guys, to a large extent, where they will figure out the loss on the PlayStation platform and whether or not Microsoft will be willing to make up for it."

Bhatia estimated that, over time, publishers will be less likely to release exclusive games on the newest consoles.

As of this writing, there are somewhere around 10 million new units (six million PS4s and roughly four million Xbox Ones) in the world. When that number escalates to 25 million and then 50 million units, Bhatia said that the opportunity cost for exclusive games will go up astronomically.

"If I were to guess right now, I'd say that it's unlikely to be an exclusive," Bhatia added. "But we don't know that for a fact -- that's my guess."

Disclosure: At the time of this writing, Louis Bedigian had no position in the equities mentioned in this report.

Latest Ratings for EA

DateFirmActionFromTo
Jul 2014BenchmarkDowngradesBuyHold
Jul 2014EVA DimensionsUpgradesUnderweightHold
Jul 2014S&P Capital IQUpgradesSell

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