The backlash surrounding Star Wars: Battlefront II’s use of loot boxes has caused EA’s stock value to continuously drop. The phrase “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” certainly doesn’t apply when it comes to the title. Once regarded as one of the most highly anticipated games on the year, the second iteration of DICE and Electronic Arts’ version of Battlefront has been marred in controversy since before release, thanks to the implementation of predatory in-game loot box practices.
Although some moves were made to try and curb the problem after the backlash began, this simply resulted in Battlefront II feeling like an expensive beta, and did little to win back favor with those concerned over the game’s business model. In the end, this led to an immediate hit for EA, as Battlefront II hurt EA’s stock prices.
As it turns out, this has carried on being a problem for the publisher. As reported by Forbes, the value of EA stock has continued to drop, with the share price falling by 8.5% month-to-date. This has resulted in $3.1 billion in shareholder value being wiped, and this drop is being attributed to the loot box controversy surrounding Star Wars: Battlefront II.
The issue with loot boxes has been a point of contention for some time, with video game fans stating that the practice is predatory, and in some cases even akin to gambling. Although EA is not the only publisher to introduce such mechanics into the AAA gaming scene, it is the one that has gained the most criticism, with Battlefront II‘s microtransactions even causing investigation from the State of Hawaii.
Battlefront II isn’t the only EA property that has been using a business model criticized as being exploitative, either. Need for Speed: Payback was released before Battlefront II and also caught flack for its loot box model, with EA riding the storm until Battlefront II‘s backlash caused the publisher to make amendments there, too. However, the company’s long-standing cash cow is FIFA‘s Ultimate Team, which is worth around $800 million annually and also utilizes a random element to its microtransactions.
Nonetheless, it is Battlefront II that has forced this discussion out into the open, and the ramifications have gone far beyond EA’s stock price. Battlefront II itself is a disappointment, with the framing of the game’s mechanics around this unpopular loot box model causing the rest of the game to suffer. Since this has also led to a failure to top sales charts, one wonders exactly how much damage the loot box controversy in Battlefront II will continue to cause.
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