Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens is rewriting the box office record book seemingly every day, but the film is hardly the only new piece of Star Wars branded entertainment that's been making the rounds. In the months leading up to the movie's release, video game publisher Electronic Arts was pushing their reboot of Star Wars Battlefront shooter series, teasing players with the ability to play through original trilogy battles and download additional content that tied in with The Force Awakens (Battle of Jakku).
Though reaction to the game has been mixed (see: the professional reviews and celebrity endorsement controversy), the allure of the Star Wars brand is stronger than any negative write-up could be. It shouldn't come as any surprise that Battlefront is doing great business since its release in November 2015, and sales have even surpassed EA's most optimistic expectations.
An article in Fortune states that Pacific Crest Securities Senior Research Analyst Evan Wilson estimates that 13 million copies of the game have been sold so far. That figure contrasts slightly from Wedbush Security Analyst Michael Pachter, who believes that around 6 million were sold in November 2015, with another 6 million in December 2015. Either way, EA has made a pretty penny from Battlefront, with approximately $660 million in revenue being generated. Prior to Battlefront's release, the company's goal was to reach 12-13 million copies by March, and they are already well on their way to surpassing that. It's no wonder EA is developing and planning on producing many more Star Wars games in the future, including sequels to Battlefront.
For gamers, especially veteran players of the Battlefield series the original Battlefront games, there is an element of concern due to Battlefront's high sale numbers. Arguably, EA and developer DICE under-delivered on content and gameplay depth with Star Wars Battlefront, and the expensive downloadable content (DLC) to gain full access ($50 season pass) did not sit well with fans. While some chose not to purchase the game due to EA's infamous business strategies, they're apparently a vocal minority that had little-to-no impact on its commercial performance. The great fear here is that EA will continue to try to get away with offering less (read: bare minimum) when their upcoming Star Wars games come out, since they've found great success with Battlefront that was missing a story campaign and features from earlier installments.
In an effort to combat the negative word-of-mouth over the lack of content and season pass issues Battlefront generated after its release, EA announced that there would be additional free DLC (similar to the Battle of Jakku extension) coming in the future, but there seems to be a bigger priority placed on the season pass. In order to get the most complete version of Battlefront possible, players are still going to have to pay extra, although none of this DLC will include content from Star Wars: Episode VII. You'll have to buy the next game (and its season pass) to get that.
Time will tell if future Star Wars Battlefront games will mark an improvement over the way Battlefront was launched in a rush, but given EA's history and the importance they and Disney put on release dates, that's probably more wishful thinking than a tangible hope. Ideally, the response to Battlefront will encourage EA to deliver a better game next time around, offering more of it at the $60 shelf price. It's all but a given DLC will be a part of the upcoming wave of Star Wars video games, but it would be nice if it doesn't become a necessity to reap all its rewards.
Star Wars Battlefront is now available for PS4, Xbox One, and PC