The hits just keep on coming as EA's stock price drops amid consumer backlash for Star Wars: Battlefront II. The second installment in DICE's rebooted Star Wars: Battlefront series has been making headlines this week, with consumers accusing EA of shady practices with regard to Battlefront II's microtransactions and progression system. EA's improper response to the issue at hand drew ire from thousands of fans around the world, so much that people began canceling their pre-orders and requesting refunds for purchasing the game.
Considering that thousands, if not millions, of people were criticizing the video game publisher for its predatory tactics, Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger reportedly stepped in to make sure EA got things back on track. A few hours after both company's heads spoke, EA backtracked their "pride and accomplishment" stance and temporarily rolled back Battlefront II's microtransactions, though they're leaving the door open to re-implement the feature later down the line when the heat dies down. As it turns out, in addition to making Disney happy (since they hold the Star Wars IP), EA has another reason for appeasing consumers.
CNBC reports that Wall Street investors have taken notice of Star Wars: Battlefront II's record-setting backlash, and EA's stock price is suffering because of it. EA dropped 2.5 percent in trading on Friday, November 17 - the same day Battlefront II hit store shelves, which is why this news is particularly interesting. Of course, EA's stock decline could be anything from a normal sell-off to the entire market declining, but there's no denying that the backlash has had some effect on the company and their practices.
The gaming industry has been incorporating more and more free-to-play mechanics into triple-A titles and it doesn't seem like publishers plan on scaling back their microtransaction plans anytime soon. Battlefront II may be the tipping point for consumers, but only time will tell if the rest of the industry will listen and adjust accordingly. After all, within the past two months, games such as Middle-Earth: Shadow of War and Need for Speed: Payback - two of the season's biggest titles - have released, with both titles containing some form of microtransactions that give players who make in-game purchases an edge over those that don't.
Star Wars: Battlefront II is out now, and the game may still sell well due to it being a Star Wars game - one that's releasing in-tandem with Rian Johnson's Star Wars: The Last Jedi - though continued negativity from consumers may prompt EA (and the rest of the industry) to make appropriate and permanent changes.
- Star Wars: Battlefront II (2017) release date: Nov 17, 2017