Star Wars: Battlefront 2 has failed to meet its sales targets, and a well-known culprit may be to blame. EA and video game fans alike were expecting a lot of Battlefront 2 prior to its release, with the publisher and developer DICE looking to right some of the wrongs that had plagued the previous game in the series. With love for the Battlefront franchise as a whole still strong, many were hoping that the game would deliver a fantastic Star Wars gaming experience.
Unfortunately, the final release of Battlefront 2 was a serious let-down. The game effectively personified the video game loot box problem, with Battlefront 2 effectively blending the game's microtransaction and progression systems together with an element of chance. Fans were unimpressed, resulting in a backlash so large that it caused the stock price of EA to drop.
Now, EA has announced that the loot box backlash also led to some disappointing sales figures for the game overall. As revealed by the Wall Street Journal, Star Wars: Battlefront 2 was expected to hit 10 million copies sold during the third quarter of the fiscal year. However, the game only managed to hit 9 million copies sold during this time, so 1 million copies short of the estimate. Even with 1 to 3 million more copies expected to sell before the end of the fiscal year, Battlefront 2 is still set to sell well under its predecessor.
EA CFO Blake Jorgensen was able to explain why the publisher felt that Battlefront 2 had failed to meet its sales expectations. According to EA, the controversy over the game's loot box model put players off picking up the game. Given the criticism that Battlefront 2 received at launch, and EA's backtracking on the microtransactions in the game, it's no doubt a factor in the title not reaching sales estimates.
2017 proved to be a bad year for EA from a critical perspective. Although plenty of fury was sent the way of Battlefront 2, some of the publisher's other major releases failed to hit the mark with critics and fans alike. Indeed, given the poor reception of some of the game launches last year, it's even been referred to as the year EA killed Need for Speed and Mass Effect.
The backlash against EA over its loot boxes may well give the industry as a whole pause for thought. Indeed, some analysts are suggesting that video game microtransactions could calm down this year, thanks to the rejection of such models from gamers themselves. Whether aggressive microtransactions become a permanent fixture in games, however, remains to be seen.
Source: Wall Street Journal