This has even lead to EA making changes to their other recent title, Need For Speed: Payback. It contains a similar loot box and progression system, equally punishing to gamers unprepared to spend the extra cash. After all of this, however, it’s important to bear in mind. What impact has this had on EA as a company? At the time of writing, EA share prices have gone down by 10% and just prior to Battlefront II’s release, many investors threatened to pull out of deals. Disney CEO, Bob Iger even rang EA boss, Andrew Wilson to give him a rap on the knuckles about besmirching the good name of Star Wars. And so close to the release of The Last Jedi! But it hasn’t stopped him from buying Titanfall 2 devs, Respawn Entertainment for $315 million.
It’s fun to imagine Andrew Wilson sitting on the end of his bed in his dressing gown, pinching the bridge of his nose and letting out a long sigh. In walks his wife with the newspaper, slating EA for their treatment of Star Wars. She sits down next to him, rubbing him on the back and says “How long did you think it would take before they just said no?”. Fun theories aside, let’s take a comprehensive, easy to digest look at how Battlefront II has performed since release.
Battlefront II has sold a total of 60% less copies than the original 2009 release. This is of course because of a unified backlash against microtransactions in full priced games. That backlash appears to be most felt on Black Friday. EA are now in a sticky spot. As many of you are aware, EA removed microtransactions from the game on official release day. But it wasn’t enough to garner good will among gamers. Perhaps the best visual metaphor for this whole article can bee seen in the image below. Gamers on Reddit hail it as “a beautiful sight”.
This figure of 60% less applies to boxed releases. So, thinking about how Battlefront II is being marketed digitally, let’s take a look at the PlayStation Store. It’s easy to think pages like this will be met with nothing but disdain from gamers. That disdain is thanks entirely to just how high profile Battlefront II’s loot box economy became.
The Belgian Gambling Commision finally saw what many gamers had been complaining about for years now. EA’s undying greed now put on a pedestal for all to to see, they decided it was time to do a full investigation into Battlefront II. They weren’t the only ones either. Several authorities across Europe began similar investigations. America has also stuck its foot in the door as well. Chris Lee, a representative of Hawaii has discussed publicly how he thinks EA’s loot boxes are “predatory” and should be stopped. In most recent news surrounding this, Belgium’s Justice Minister has called for a loot box ban in Europe. It seems the whole world is against EA right now.
Except just one man from Wall Street. He believes gamers have been getting an easy ride so far. Evan Wingren, a market analyst for investment group Key Banc Capital Markets, says prices for games should go up. And that gamers are overreacting to the Battlefront II controversy. You can check out his hairbrained reasoning for that yourself. Just be prepared to read some really dumb stuff.
It’s safe to say Star Wars: Battlefront II is not having a good time right now. Although, in the UK it seems to be doing just fine. At the time of writing, it sits comfortable at number two on the game sales charts, topped only by Call of Duty: WWII. That means it's still selling more copies than Assassin's Creed: Origins and Super Mario Odysee. The latter sold around two million copies in just three days. According to Fortune.com, that means 463 copies per minute for those three days. Star Wars: Battlefront II is beating THAT. Just let that sink in for a moment.
As much as some of us may hate to face up to it – EA are not going to feel the hurt from Battlefront II’s underperforming sales figures. Normally, a bit more information can be gleaned on how it’s doing using trusty old SteamSpy or VGChartz. Unfortunately, the unified hatred for Battlefront II has been so effective, it looks like those sites aren’t even bothering to publish information on it.
As a fun little parting note, Steam Spy did show us 132,884 people have played the 2009 release of Battlefront II in the last two weeks. So, over to you! Would you rather play the original again? Or get stuck into the latest DICE has to offer? Stick around at KeenGamer for our review of Battlefront II which, I’m sure you can guess, will be no typical review.